A Reflection On 2020/New Year’s Goals

2020 has been a tough year for everyone. Politics, Corona Virus, supply shortfalls and hardships felt by everyone. While the challenges keep coming so does some good news.

Outboard motors are starting to show up again although in small numbers, new boats are coming (pre-order yours today), and a vaccine is in limited distribution!

In 2020 we saw some models go away such as the Zodiac Futura line and the Zodiac Classic line. The discontinuance of the small fiberglass ribs meant we had to scramble to get what was available before they were gone.

The Mini Open Series was announced via a small online press release and some computer model renderings. We put in our orders for them in the 310, 340, 420, and 480 sizes and are accepting pre-orders.

New Zodiac Mini Open Series

The indefatigable Zodiac Fastroller Series has also gone by way of the dodo to make room for the Chinese built Zodiac Aero Series in the lineup. Fortunately we laid in the remaining stock of the French built Zodiac Fastroller models available and still have some of the best inflatable airfloor models ever made in stock. Current inventory is in the 285 size and the 325 size so get them whilst you can!

The Zodiac Yachtline 360 models are severely backordered and can a year to get thru manufacturing at this time. We only have one left that was recently received and once it’s gone expect a goodly wait for another.

Corona Virus impacts continue to be felt in the boating world as boat shows are cancelled everywhere leaving prospective boat owners nonplussed with the lack of opportunity across the board. Fortunately the web exists and has help ease that burden slightly but nothing beats kicking the tires in person.

Our showroom has been cleaned and treated professionally to help with the virus concerns but we do ask that you wear masks while visiting IBC during these weird times we live in.

2020 has seen an uptick in MILPRO demand for military, police, and rescue personnel, as well as renewed interest in UXO missions. While the COVID raged thru cruise businesses that were shut down demand increased for other sectors requiring proven performers such as the Zodiac Grand Raid and ERB models. Departments looking for these models need to put their plans in action before the new season of 2021 is upon us.

All in all the future looks bright despite the tarnished condition 2020 has left us all feeling. Remember to be safe, boat sensibly, wear PFDs and order what you need sooner than later to avoid disappointment in 2021.

As always IBC is there to help you every step of the way.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Navigating COVID Supply Issues

Everyone has been affected by COVID in one way or another. The other night on the news reporters were unable to find basic appliances, lumber, nails etc. The same supply chain woes have affected boat manufacturing and outboard motor supply as well. To make matters worse many manufactures have dropped products from their line cards.

Yesterday I was told of a few boats that weren’t going to be in the catalog next year, rumors have been circulating for awhile on this. Early in the day we were told the Zodiac Futura and Classic models were being discontinued and the tried and true Commando line was going to be dropped. This news rang bells in my mind and I put into motion a plan to get what was still available in the Commando line as they are about as good an inflatable boat as a person can buy.

We also stepped up our Zodiac Military and Professional (MILPRO) boats to shore up our numbers moving into the dark and quiet months as increasing interest in the pro stock has made some hard to come by.

We plan for interruptions to supply chains when we book our orders and so far here at IBC we’ve managed to serve our customers very well in the recreational line as well as the MILPRO line. Definitely being staffed with some crusty veterans has helped us with much of the MILPRO base. We speak the lingo and know the missions conducted so generally it’s pretty easy as long as the supply chain remains intact. Getting hit with the Commando news made the day tense until we got a call that put us at ease.

The beloved Commando Series will continue to be produced but the Classic and Futura lines won’t. We still laid in some stock of the Classic models and have some more coming as we hate to see that disappear go but “c’est la vie” as the saying goes.

Zodiac Bombard Commandos will be in very short supply until sometime next year but we have some coming, and some left in stock. The good news out of all of this is despite the uncertainty of the COVID World we live in Zodiac will continue to provide the best of the bunch to people wanting something other than a cheap knockoff no name brand.

The outboard motor supply chain is still severely backlogged but as luck would have we have some of the popular models in stock. How long that stock will last is a question we can’t answer since even the manufacturers don’t know.

IBC has been there every step of the way, every major disaster, the whole way through the COVID crisis supplying the pros with the tools they needed to save lives. To shore up Police, Fire and Pro customers in the future we took on another person from the Emergency Services sector who speaks the lingo for those who work on the water.

IBC is available by phone Tuesday-Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-3pm. Give us a call to preorder your next boat or to get one of several models in stock today. (503)235-2628

Zodiac Cadet RIB Tenders Back In Stock

As of today 09-29-20 IBC has many Zodiac Cadet RIB Tenders in stock in popular sizes.

Models Include:

Zodiac Cadet RIB 340 PVC

Zodiac Cadet RIB 310 PVC

Zodiac Cadet RIB 290 PVC

Zodiac Cadet RIB 260 PVC

Zodiac Cadet RIB 270 ALU

Zodiac Cadet 300 Compact PVC

Zodiac Cadet 250 Compact PVC

Also in stock now the Zodiac Cadet Fastroller Acti-V Series in 325 and 285 sizes.

IBC Corona Virus Update 08/10/21

Portland’s new mask mandate begins Friday 08/13/21 which means in order to visit IBC you must be wearing a mask regardless of your immunization status. Please leave small children and elderly at home when visiting, no large groups will be allowed into the showroom and capacity of the showroom will be capped to no more than 6 individuals at any one time.

MILPRO and REC manufacturing/shipping are impacted/delayed due to the Corona Virus so please plan ahead to avoid a shortfall of services or products. Many of our online items show out of stock, this is due to the severe bottleneck of shipping and to a lesser degree manufacturing. ALL manufacturers are experiencing increased demand for products with shipping adding an additional 6 months to a year on special order items such as tubes.

We are getting calls from across the globe from customers looking for outboards, boats, and trailers with increasing numbers looking to IBC to fill the holes in their local supply chains. It’s unsustainable for IBC to correct all of the global manufacturer issues but we’ll do our best with what we can get. These are difficult times that can test your patience and resolve especially with more mask mandates and closures happening throughout key regions where shipping and manufacturing occur.

Most of our day to day is spent answering the phones trying to explain the shortfalls of the various industries that are very much out of our control. Remember the whole World is going thru this in just about every facet of the production pipeline, it’s not just Zodiac or Yamaha or insert various brands here . Boats, motors, shipping, and parts have all seen substantial increases in cost over the last year with demand far outstripping current supply. If you have placed a special order it will be fulfilled, albeit a bit slower than usual and this shouldn’t be coming as a surprise to anyone at this point in our COVID Climate.

All we can do is be well and keep up a positive attitude while we patiently wait for new shipments of goods to arrive.


Inflatable Boats For Adventure

The morning frost covered all it surveyed as the first rays of sunshine reached out from the horizon to take their place in the sky. The mission today was one of adventure and to accomplish that mission I had 3 boats in the quiver to choose from.

The Zodiac Milpro MK3 Grand Raid

The Bombard C4 Commando

The Zodiac MK2 Heritage

The MK3 Grand Raid was a nice pick but a bit bigger than I wanted and it was on a trailer with a 60hp hanging off the back. This mission required me to have a roll up, the hitch was being used for the off road trailer already.

The Bombard Commando C4 would have been perfect but it too was rigged and on a trailer with a big 40hp hanging on it. Rigging that boat by myself would have been too difficult and I only had a few days of boating to contend with.

I was feeling defeated as the warming glow started to eat the countryside. It was at the very moment of despair I remembered I had the Zodiac MK2 Heritage in a corner of the shop. Success!

I originally bought the Zodiac MK2 Heritage to have a nicer looking deluxe boat for running about with my partner and pulling some tubes or a skier once in awhile. While the boat had the dash and seats etc. without them it was about perfect for a tiller handle mission.

Me grabbing a long shaft Yamaha F25 off the rack meant I was portable again and was able to use my existing launch wheels from the Commando. (bonus points) I was still going to use my little MK2 Heritage as a date boat with seats, stereo, and a steering wheel but today I was going to test it’s mettle.

“Why hadn’t someone thought of this setup before?” I wondered as I loaded the boat and motor into the off road camping trailer. You literally get the best of both worlds and for less money too.

Bouncing along the trail to the “secret spot” gave me some time to consider my choice and purchase. It was right about noon when I came upon one of my mates stuck in the mud with a tin boat in tow. After some judicious use of muscle and mechanics we were both on our way again to meet the third member of the party. He didn’t bring his boat because it was too big to maneuver thru the lodge pole pine, nor did he bring his trailer. He was going to be lonely, cold and beach bound in his tent as the other boat was really only good for one.

After we claimed our spots and a fire was built to make the day’s meal we set about getting our individual camp sites going. This is the point of the trip where you realize you forgot something. Much to our surprise we learned some new swear words as it was discovered our buddy forgot his tent. He was boat less and tent less and hopping mad to boot. Whiskey was poured and as my mates carried on a conversation of the morning activities and if there was room in the tent for two. I set about building my boat as they chattered like children.

I was kicking air in to the MK2 Heritage as the Sun drew down to a luminous red glow in the trees. Night falls quickly in this area between peaks and so does the temperature. Ten minutes later I joined my mates and informed the more homeless of the two I had room in my trailer for him. Cheers were had all around and stories of legend were told until the wee hours.

Upon sunrise I was greeted to a hot breakfast, coffee, and some scrutiny of my boat. Pushing off the water’s edge my mate commented on how stable the little MK2 heritage was, he is not a small man so this fact was not lost on him. The little Yamaha F25 was barely audible with only the sound of water coming out of the motor at idle. The hunt was on! I couldn’t just leave him to die on the jon boat so it was grudgingly decided that he come with me. Hunting and fishing was always a solo thing for me but he’s a good sort and handy on a boat so it worked out.

Suffice it to say we were all very successful in our outings with the last day being one of the Zodiac and the Zodiac only. It’s incredible stability proved a boon to all parties and our aged bodies plus the jon boat kept getting stuck in the shallows. It was immensely gratifying to see our pal in the mud and water trying to unstick his boat as we silently cruised by with the Yamaha whispering. He would just glare and mouth words not fit to print here.

It took only a few minutes for me to strike camp, the trip was over and it was time to leave unless I didn’t want a job anymore. I almost felt guilty as I left to see those two old coots struggling with that little jon boat and trailer in my mirror. Next year will be different, next year I’ll be bringing the Mrs. and Zodiac MK2 Heritage for round two and likely so will my friends. I only hope they are smart as I was lucky when they decide on which boat and motor combo to get.

Putting game and fish into the Zodiac MK2 Heritage was so easy it felt like an unfair advantage compared to my friend’s boat. Had I known the Zodiac MK2 Heritage crossed the boundary between hardcore and upper crust luxury earlier I might have a few less boats in the barn. Thanks again IBC for making the most of my time off, the stories will live forever as legend thanks to the Zodiac MK2 Heritage.

Zodiac Pro 5.5

Pulling the trigger on a new boat can be daunting with so many options online these days. Getting a good boat is even more difficult because of the online presence of so many bad brands that look good from far, but are far from good. Why should you buy a Zodiac when this other model is half as much money and even comes with a free tooth brush?

All kidding aside boaters getting duped into a lesser product that promises the moon and the stars with free bling and swag separates the wheat from the chafe. Features that you may overlook because of that price tag often leave a poorly informed customer with a bad taste in their mouth. When doing research the end user should be looking at more than the cheapest price. Research these days is just that, patting yourself on the back because you saved five bucks leads to issues and landfill in today’s buy it now economy.

Workmanship and trade craft have left the building and been replaced by free shipping and lower prices for a similar product. Thank heaven there are still some scruples and skill when it comes to quality over quantity manufacturers like Zodiac and it’s new Pro 5.5.

Options like a professional grade hull and professional replaceable tubes are a hallmark to the series. Yamaha Four Stroke engines don’t come cheap but are synonymous with dependability and performance. Molded in features like a bow locker in a professional grade top deck and below deck fuel tank free up space for additional creature comforts like a hi precision T-Top and after folding bench.

When you own a quality boat why put a sub par trailer under your investment? Often times unscrupulous dealers will install a cheap trailer under their version of boat just to keep that normal internet researcher interested with unbelievable low pricing. That’s just bad form and leads to problems later when you travel at speed. More than once we’ve lost a sale to another brand or dealer only to have the customer come back to us to fix their boat because it was setup wrong and on the wrong trailer. Long story short the boat whips back and forth on the freeway due to improper loading of the tongue, and the tow vehicle, boat, trailer and customer end up in the ditch upside down.

Getting a good trailer like a proper EZ Loader Trailer will help keep you and your investment safe. This boat and trailer package are made to work together in perfect harmony which is in the end the primary goal.

If you want to see the new Zodiac Pro 5.5 in person, or another boat give us a call before pulling that boat trigger and see what a difference it can make to your overall happiness.

Finding Peace In Honduras

Sometimes all you need is a good inflatable boat and a desire to find peace in paradise. These pictures come to us from a customer in Honduras while on a peace mission. It’s the same mission many of the 9-5 crowd strive to undertake someday.

Find your own peace in paradise, get a Bombard C4 from IBC and start exploring your world.

Inflatable Boat Center-Portland Oregon-5032352628

Fall Into An Inflatable Boat For Family Fun

When the long hot days give way to the cold dark short days it means an end to many of the family activities outdoors.

Unfortunately the dark months can lead people to seek entertainment on electronic devices to fill the gap in excitement. On the other side of the of the spectrum are families who make the most out of a weekend to go fish, hunt, or crab. October gets pretty special in the NW with families catching salmon, hunting deer, crabbing, or just getting away to a spot you need a boat to get to.

One of our customers sent us his weekend with the family pics and we’d thought we’d share their experience.

A long weekend, a boat, and a little luck paid off for Steve and his family while on the Oregon Coast. Early morning temperature was right at that sweet spot where it’s too warm for ice but cold enough to where you don’t want to leave the tent or the cabin of your own volition. Only the sheer force of will to eat delicious crab and a fun day riding around in the Zodiac will muster the strength needed to get dressed.

The chore of baiting and setting pots is balanced by zipping effortlessly along in a Bombard Commando C4. When the situation allows forty ponies gallop along making the C4 earn another little bit of it’s legend. Steve has Seadek installed on the Bombard’s floorboards ensuring surefootedness even when covered with the Ocean’s bounty. Good thinking Steve!

While the crab traps are soaking clear weather allows for Zodiac rides for everyone including some random boaters who just wanted to try it out themselves. New friends are always made on these fall family outings.

Before they know it the intrepid family has to pull traps and sort the catch or no one gets their crab dinner. Around the fire is where legends and memories start. Friends and family laughing and telling the tales of the whopper that got away or that cool G-turn on the swell. Making these kind of memories is really what it’s all about.

We thank Steve for the pics and for bringing back memories of past adventures. If you want to make your own memories like Steve give IBC a call.

Inflatable Boat Center-Portland Oregon-5032352628

Cleaning Your Inflatable Boat

Everyone has their own way of cleaning their inflatable boat and their own favorite products. Today I’ll be talking about three of them.

Starbrite RIB & Inflatable Boat Cleaner & Protectant 32oz.

Marykate Silicone-Free Cleaner For Inflatable Boats Tubes & Towables 32oz.

Aurora Inflatable Boat Cleaner 20oz.

First let me just say there are no wrong answers here, we only sell what we use ourselves so any of the three are awesome and safe to use on your inflatable boat or RIB.

Of the three only the Aurora product states it’s bio-degradable on the label. All of the cleaners mention not getting it in your eyes or on your skin and all of them recommend rinsing with water after. Don’t spay cleaning products into the wind with your mouth and eyes wide open or it will be unpleasant for you.

In the rinse category the Marykate brings the most bubbles with second place going to Star brite and last with the least bubbles Aurora. These stats may be interpreted as backwards because using less water seems better to me. After the rinsing phase all of the products left a clean fabric surface with the Star brite being the slipperiest to the touch. No doubt due to it’s PTEF component in the formulation.

In overspray tests all left a residue on the fiberglass that when wiped dry left a visible film that remained until rinsing. In the showroom that’s not an option so a moist rag followed by a dry rag gets the job done with the Aurora product leading the way slightly over the others.

In the smell category none of them are pleasant to smell, especially if a field day cleaning session is in your showroom’s lists of “to dos” . No clear winner could be ascertained but outside where people clean boats it doesn’t matter.

In fine particulate testing in areas such as the foot wells and on the tops of tubes the Star brite takes the lead effortlessly lifting fine particulate into suspension allowing easy wiping clean with a rag. You’ll need to rinse or change your rag more frequently but Star brite seemed to do better than the rest in amount of effort needed vs amount of loose dirt removed.

Moving underneath to the bottom fabric and fiberglass hull where road grime and tars can accumulate the Aurora product did the most work with the least effort and the least amount of rags. The remaining two were a tie but the Star brite rags came out looking the dirtiest, with second dirtiest being Marykate and least dirty being Aurora. Over all cleanliness appeared to be the same for all three.

I don’t really recommend cleaning the windshield with any of the products mentioned because of the film left behind will leave streaks in the viewable area. The key to getting past the film is judicious use of rinsing water until all the suds are gone from the overflow followed by a soft non-abrasive cloth. I like an old rig spun cotton T-shirt or chamois cloth.

All of the products clean marine vinyl upholstery well but I seem to lean towards the Star brite, or the Marykate followed by a treatment of Polyguard or 303 Protectant. Actual fabric upholstery should be cleaned with a dedicated upholstery product of which there are several.

Cost wise the clear winner is the Marykate product, it works, comes in 32oz. size, and does everything you need it to do with just a bit more rinsing. Second place I’d have to go with Aurora’s product, it’s slightly more money and comes in a smaller 20 oz. size but takes less water and work. Third place is Star brite’s product, while being just barely the most expensive it falls in the middle of the rinse category but leads in the particulate category plus it has a protectant built in.

After you pull your inflatable boat or RIB out of the water it’s a good idea to figure out what you need to do to clean and protect your investment. Keeping a boat showroom clean is hard but with a little secret sauce it’s easy to keep it looking good for the time you own it. A few minutes is all it takes when you use any of the three cleaners we used, but those minutes may add years to your boat.

It all comes down to personal preference or what’s available and as long as you’re taking care of your boat it’ll take care of you. After cleaning you should always use a conditioner/protectant with no silicone. When the season ends you want to be sure you’re putting away your boat clean and dry whether it’s rolled up or inflated on a trailer. Anything you put off until next year will be tougher to clean and could possibly harm your tubes.

If I had to pick a winner it’d be you because you’ve taken the time to look at cleaners for your inflatable boat/RIB and landed here. We’ve used a lot of cleaners over the years but these three seem to be the best of the bunch There’s one for every budget so you won’t have an excuse to take good care of your boat. Not all boat cleaners are good for your inflatable boat so before you spend your hard earned cash for the wrong stuff take a minute to see if any of these three cleaners are in your local shop. You’ll be glad you did!

Zodiac MK2 Heritage Assembly For Beginners

When I heard that Captain Ron was able to get his hands on some Zodiac MK2 Heritage Classics my little heart went pitter pat. I was very sad when the 2 units we were able to get in North America sold, so hearing this news got me excited. I might be able to get one for my very own this time around! The most difficult thing about the whole assembly process was unwrapping all the packaging.

As a first step I inflated the hull without the floorboards to airtest and put the boat into shape. The hulls are sucked down for packaging and as such they are hard to deal with until you let in some air. I learned and relearned this many times so do yourself a favor and do the same on any new sport or military boat. “The first one is the worst one.”, as the saying goes.

Airing up the hull to pressure and letting it sit overnight the first time out will save you headaches later on.
While the hull is under airtest I inventory the boxes.

Checking out the floors and the rest is a treat unto it’s self with the Zodiac MK2 Heritage it’s all design and engineering.

Zodiac’s MK2 Heritage is simply beautiful to look at from any angle or part
Zodiac’s smart use of stringers for a rigging tube mean install is clean, neat and beautiful

After all the parts are accounted for and we’re ready to assemble we let the air out of the hull and fit the floorboards.

I always start with the bow boards then the transom board then the rest

Once all the floorboards for the Zodiac MK2 Heritage are in place we make the tent then press them down to fit the stringers thereby locking them into place.

Making the tent or tepee then pressing them flat to lock the stringers
Note port side stringer contains fuel line and electrical hook ups to outboard

Once the floorboards are locked into place with the stringers it’s time to re-inflate the boat to begin adding all of the Zodiac exclusive MK2 Heritage parts.

Zodiac’s MK2 Heritage dash utilizes their proprietary bolt pads port, starboard and again on the bow for the batten.
A simple phillips screwdriver was all that was needed to place the dash assembly onto the boat.

I was a bit worried that I’d be spending hours figuring out the wiring for the stereo and engine but as it turns out I was worried for nothing. The Zodiac Mk2 Heritage came setup already. All I have to do is provide the tach for the engine I’m going to use and attach the leads that the Zodiac MK2 Heritage had in the kit.

All the components were pre installed into the dash making it easy as pie.

The steering wheel and steering hub were pre-selected by the designers in France and Italy to make it even easier on the eyes. Adding the helm kit to the pre-installed bracket was three simple allen screws and a nut for the steering wheel shaft. So far all I’ve needed was an allen wrench, phillips screwdriver, and a socket wrench. It doesn’t get much easier than this! Assembling some flat pack furniture is much tougher and no where near as nice as the Zodiac MK2 Heritage.

Three allen screws and you’re done
Time to add the steering wheel
Steering wheel in place awaiting the Zodiac logo wheel cap
Looking good!

Since the boat was meant to be on the showroom without an engine for the time being I simply put in the battery box and fuel tank in the pre-installed locations until such time as we decide to hang a motor on the Zodiac MK2 Heritage.

Fuel and battery locations are pre-installed and merely strap into place

Time for some fold down seating! The classic back to back seating allows for fun towing a skier or wakeboarder, tube or other. If you want to cruise in style the Zodiac Mk2 Heritage seats allow for comfort on the move and relaxation at rest. The seats even slide down flat to allow for rest and relaxation or catching some rays.

Wow! What a sexy beast!
Rear facing seats for towing or just cruising with another couple.
The Zodiac MK2 Heritage is simply stunning to look at and still has jaw dropping performance when you need it.

Now all I need to do is sell my current boat so I can put one of these in my garage for fun on the water. The Zodiac MK2 Heritage is a boat for inflatable boat enthusiasts or someone who wants a lot of awesome that will fit into anyone’s budget and garage. IBC is lucky that Captain Ron had his ears open for when these became available, we took them all!

To get your very own Zodiac MK2 Heritage shop our online store www.inflatableboats.com or stop by our showroom in Portland Oregon. Don’t wait too long or you will literally miss the boat.