Storing Your Inflatable Boat For The Winter

This time of year I get quite a few calls about storing inflatable boats for the winter season. “Should I leave it inflated, or deflated?”, is probably the most popular so lets start there.

Stowing Your Boat Deflated

If you are going to roll up and store your boat for the winter make sure you keep it off of the floor in your garage. It’s that one mouse you didn’t know you had that’s going to chew holes into it and make it a winter cache or nest. Do make sure your inflatable boat is clean and dry before you roll it up and stick it in it’s bag for several months. If it’s not clean and dry you will have a science experiment on your hands when you unroll it in the spring. The ocean, pond, river or lake included micro-organisms in it’s water that love a dark moist place, don’t make it easy for them. Don’t leave your inflatable boat outside rolled up against the house or you will likely get the science experiment, the mouse holes, and the spiders/ bugs all rolled into a giant spring roll of nightmares when you go to use it.

Don’t leave your boat out in the shed to die, or it likely will. Out of sight out of mind right? I get this call all the time, ” I bought a boat from you a year ago and when I unrolled it the attachments were coming off, is this under warranty?”. Short answer probably not. Typically when I look up the deal  the customer bought it ten years ago and left it to die in his/her shed until someone said “boat” and triggered a memory. A lot of the time they thought they were calling someone else and that short answer sounds like, “I don’t sell insert non-Zodiac brand   here.” Your tin shed can get hotter than Hades in the summer time and colder than the Moon in winter time. Put ten years of that abuse and neglect to any boat, inflatable or otherwise, and you will encounter problems. Keep your investment shipshape by storing it in a house closet or in the garage off the floor and be a happy camper in the spring.

Stowing Your Boat Inflated

This one is hard for some people to figure out for some reason? If you are going to leave your inflatable boat inflated for the winter you better be prepared to kick some air into it once in awhile with your foot pump. Keep it full and firm and problem free.

Listen, air leaks out of a SCUBA tank or welding tank, balloon, etc. It’s air, don’t you remember anything from 2nd grade about air, or at the very least that balloon you tried to save when you were a kid? If you leave your inflatable boat rigged with a motor on a trailer for months of unseen neglect don’t call me in a frantic state on the first nice day to complain that your transom ripped off. (are you reading this volunteer fire dept.s across the country?) Yes it will happen, as the air leaks out the strain on the after tubes becomes non-conducive to a glued joint and it’s longevity. “I left my boat half inflated leaning against the wall and now it has holes in it”. This one sentence says it all in two words, half inflated. If you are going to snag on something believe it’s because there’s not enough air in the boat to keep it rigid and smooth. The guys/gals who are storing their boats this way are asking for a mouse hole or messed up attachments. The inflatable boat gets it’s strength from the air inside of it’s tubes, when you let half of it out you strain the system. It’s like bleeding a warrior of half of his blood then sending him into battle. It just doesn’t work. By far this storage scenario is one of the worst for the dreaded mouse hole problems. When you lean it up against a wall you put it directly in the path of the mice you didn’t think you had, and letting half of the air out only makes it possible for them to chew on it. Hey don’t believe me and IBC’s 40+ years of doing these repairs every single spring, find out for yourself, but don’t complain to me when it’s opening day and we are backed up for weeks with Fire Dept. Rescue Boats. Instead of the half inflated scenario just clean it and roll it up like above paragraphs or keep it full and firm. No one likes a floppy dinghy!

Of you are trailering your boat check it frequently throughout the winter, cover it with a good cover like Carver or Sunbrella and kick air into it when it needs it. Done!

I write this story with snow dumping outside the shop door before I go kick some air into my Bombard C4 Commando. Yes I’m going out tonight and probably in the morning too! I currently use my inflatable boat year round but I’ve stored it for years and years without a problem because I just followed the advice above.



Save Big on Bombard!

The clock is ticking on our Bombard Anniversary Sale! Act now for extra savings on Bombard Inflatable Boats.

Bombard Commando C-4R Load Out
Bombard Commando C-4R Load Out

Models like the indefatigable Bombard Commando Series, or the Typhoon series including the Zodiac Fish N Hunt! Help us commemorate Dr Bombard’s unbelievable Atlantic Ocean crossing in a prototype boat dubbed ” The Heretic” built to his spec by Zodiac. Considered the father of modern inflatable boat design, survival at sea, and the inventor of the inflatable life raft. It was Dr Bombard that introduced Jacques-Yves Cousteau to the world of inflatable boats for his missions as an explorer, conservationist, and film maker.

Inflatable Boat Center is the West Coast Exclusive Dealer for the Bombard Commando Series.


To read Dr Bombard’s full story purchase his books in English

  • The Voyage of the Heretique, Simon and Schuster (1953)
  • The Bombard Story (1955)
  • Dr. Bombard Goes to Sea (1957)

I want a boat that will pack down into a plane but still carry over a ton of cargo.

In the course of a day I’ll get about 10-15 calls from people who want a boat that packs down into bag, will take a 60hp to go lightning fast, and will carry 7-9 people. Sounds impossible right? WRONG! The Bombard Commando C-5 is the easy answer for me and most of the rest of the guys here at the store. We all run Commandos of one size or another and make no excuses either. This boat really does it all and then some more you didn’t think of. All of our expeditions have at least one Bombard Commando on them for the heavy lifting.

The Bombard Commando line features heavy duty aluminum floorboards that lock together with heavy duty stringers over a wooden keel matching extreme toughness with extreme performance. My fishery and marine biologist friends utilize this boat over all others for these reasons and more (like our jet strake mods), so what do they know that you don’t? This boat does it plain and simple, it doesn’t come in the latest shade of arctic white or grey, it doesn’t come with a free bow bag, it’s a boat and that’s what you get. Another thing you will get is satisfaction and the thrill of running a boat that will handle what you can’t.

My friend Janvier (fish biologist) sent me these pics from one of his missions in the Northern Territories this last month. He takes his 30 year old Bombard Commando on some of the most remote water ways on the planet and up some of the skinniest streams you can imagine to do his job. The lesson here is bring the right tool for the job and if your job involves the water it likely needs what the Bombard Commando series brings to bear.

Enjoy the images from the latest mission.

bombard commando c5 skeenia fisheries 2

bombard commando c5 skeenia fisheries


Going Commando On Salmon

No matter how many times I get asked about fishing from inflatable boats, I  never get tired of hearing the variable questions from people wondering if it’s possible.

If you live or fish from around where I operate I say no of course, because I don’t want to share my secret spots. The real answer is yes, yes you can, and yes you can catch a lot of fish too! Adam and I get into spots others fear to float and reap huge rewards for it. Sure you can fish all the spots the tin boats do, you’ll likely get some looks from folks thinking they are the business. I just wave and smile because I know when those boats go down it’ll be me or another inflatable boat that’s comes and rescues them.

Seaworthy just doesn’t describe the inflatable boat, why else are lifeboats manufactured using the same technology?

Back to the fishing topic, downriggers, rod holders, shrimp and crab trap pullers,etc. can all be readily mounted to an inflatable boat making the gear heads happy in their endeavor. When you’re done it all can roll up and fit into your car or truck along with your catch and fish stories. Many of the serious fishing fanatics keep their boats on trailers and hop from spot to spot making use of local knowledge and lore to haul out monster fish. This can be you too, all you need is the will to fish and an inflatable boat to do it in.

Here’s a couple of pics from My fishing trip last Sunday.

Mike wouldn't let us use any pics that showed his secret spot but he did share the catch pics.
Mike wouldn’t let us use any pics that showed his secret spot but he did share the catch pics.
Location = somewhere in the NW.
Location = somewhere in the NW.

I’ll never tell where I fish except to the state when I tag my limit on my tag. Go out and explore your world there are secrets out there waiting to be discovered.

My boat of choice is my old reliable Bombard C-4R get one today and start your own adventure.

Inflatable Boats Converge On Beacon Rock

IBC’s Adam and Mike went on a mission with a couple of friends to Washington’s Beacon Rock to enjoy one of our last sunny days here in the NW. Everyone met up in Oregon at Chinook Landing for the 20 mile up river run at 10:00 AM. Friends in attendance included Katie in Adam’s boat and Ty in his own Zodiac Futura MK2C. The morning was cool and overcast with a 5 knot West wind letting the boats settle in for what looked like a perfect day on the water. Fog and haze was cooking off quickly by the time the flotilla made it to Rooster Rock State Park in Oregon. Along the way Adam in his Zodiac MK1 Futura S,Mike in his Bombard Commando C4R, and Ty in his new Zodiac MK2C Futura played games and completed maneuvers in high speed handling and close quarters operations. A good time was had by all!

By the time we made it to Washington’s Beacon Rock State Park it was full speed ahead for the next adventure. We pulled into perfect weather and beautiful vistas in the marina with plenty of dock space for everyone including the Portland Yacht Club on their annual cruise. The group made their way from the marina over the well groomed trail to the rock’s main trail and ascended the 52 switchbacks to the summit. It couldn’t have been a better day.

The trip back down river was bumpy until we got past Oregon’s Rooster Rock State Park and then it was smooth sailing again all the way back to Chinook Landing’s boat ramp. All in all it was a grand adventure worth the price of admission.

If this sounds appealing to you go to and start your adventure today, or stop by our showroom on 2041 SE Powell Blvd. and talk to our friendly and knowledgeable sales staff to outfit your own personal  adventure.

You’ll be glad you did!

Shooting From A Moving Boat

While you may think I’m talking about “SpecOps” I’m actually talking about video and stills. Sure the special forces use inflatable boats in the execution of their missions and for good reason. The inflatable boat as a platform for shooting could be one of the most perfectly suited vessels on the water due to it’s inherent buoyancy and stability. G.I.s who’ve been deployed know this and use it to their advantage in the civilian world providing support for film, t.v. and commercial crews world wide. IBC’s operators have performed these exercises many times and in fact Adam is doing it right now as I type this for the IFC series “Portlandia“.

People always are amazed at the quality of the media we pull from the water and full time pros like the Frog Squad in Africa. What we know is the inflatable boat is “THEE” boat to use on location because it will take you where others fear to draft and carry substantially more film gear and crew. Those cameras and batteries add up quickly to several tons, now imagine getting all that gear on a remote beach surrounded by shallow water and navigation hazards.

Our own operators Mike and Adam take pages out of the Rescue & Salvage Book while accomplishing support for events like The Portland Rose Festival, The Big Float, et al., you should too. Mike regularly takes photographers and videographers out on a Bombard C-4 Commando to maneuver around rocks and hazards in a dynamic environment while keeping the cameras rolling and on target. Adam uses the Zodiac Futura for level turning at speed and easy beaching. Both Adam and Mike have extensive Hawaiian experience running the biggest surf on the planet over shallow reefs with exposed coral so they know what the deal is to be sure.

Mike & Adam have many craft at their disposal for mission support. Boats in the 14′ – 16″ range seem to be their numero uno go to size with a short list including the Zodiac MK2 Classic HD, The Zodiac MK2 Futura, and the Bombard Commando C-4. These craft all carry more than a ton and or up to 7 people plus are easy to get on and off the beach by yourself.

The portability of the inflatable boat makes location shooting easy since the boats can be rolled up and loaded into small bush planes or helicopters and dropped from low altitude, something the bush pilots in the artic do everyday. We have answers if you have questions call us at (503)235-2628 and see why an inflatable boat might be right for you. Want to hire IBC to support your mission? Call us with the details and we’ll see if we can help.

Remember if it swells ride it!

Bombard C5 Commando Goes All The Way Up!

I sell a lot of the Bombard Commando series of inflatable boat, heck I use one myself even. Every once in awhile I come across some unique applications I feel are worthy of mentioning. This C5 Commando user “Janvier” uses the C5 Commando on far away water systems that normal boats could never get to for their fishery work.

The frequently have to dismantle the boats to portage around beaver dams, drop them from aircraft or put the Commando’s immense carrying capacity to use on water only inches deep.

Take this image for example

Janvier's C5 Commando Sockeye Salmon Tranport Tank

While not exciting in it’s self, the Bombard Commando carries a metal tank full of hundreds of gallons of water and about 4000 Sockeye Salmon thru some of the stickiest brush and skinny water on the planet to deliver it’s payload safe and sound.

Janvier says this boat carries more than the 20′ aluminum boat and is infinitely more stable doing so.

I like this one showing the hydrophone and bathymetric gear (yeah I’m all science geeky too)

Janvier's C5 Commando with Science Package
Janvier’s C5 Commando with Science Package

Note the net spool for collecting juvenile Sockeye Salmon for further studies.

Of course any fly fisherman can appreciate the Bombard Commando’s ultimate shallow water operation as illustrated here.


Not bad for a 20 year old boat huh!

Get your next boat at IBC and GO COMMANDO on those hard to get to spots!

You’ll be glad you did….

Images courtesy of the Skeena Fisheries Commission

A First Nations organization studying salmon in the Skeena River Watershed

Dr. Bombard’s Journey

It’s October again and that always makes me think of Dr. Bombard’s journey accross the Atlantic Ocean alone in a prototype inflatable boat.

On October 19th 1952 Dr. Bombard proved a castaway could survive in a liferaft until rescue on what the ocean could provide. With no food or water on his boat Dr. Bombard drifted for 65 days to prove his point. Dubbed the Heretique his prototype MK3 inflatable boat built by Zodiac would catapult survival at sea ahead centuries and boat design and knowlege immeasureably.

Starting October 19th and continuing on until December 23rd IBC will offer all Bombard Inflatable Boats in stock at an even better discount.
Our way of paying respect to Dr. Bombard and helping to get another generation of explorers on the water and off to adventure. Supplies limited to what’s on hand in the showroom and ware house.

This is a great time to buy as all new stock will be priced higher to reflect cost incereases for next season. Don’t worry IBC has a long history with the Bombard line and will always have boats coming, but not always at the price offered during the sale.

If you are looking for a jet powered inflatable boat the Bombard Commando series is the go to design. This custom mod from IBC is used by professionals the world over for shallow water operations, fishery based platforms, rescue, and law enforcement. A boat that can be rolled up and put into a small plane, car, or boat allows for rapid deployment anywhere there is water and a need for ultimate performance.

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