Veteran’s Day Salute

Zodiac landing

Here at IBC we hold a special place in our hearts for our U.S. Veterans. It’s not just the special forces we’re talking about, it’s anyone male or female who served our country whether in peacetime or war. The cook making the chow, the infantryman cleaning the barracks, the non-rated boot getting the business. It’s the less than 3% of the population who put on the uniform and signed on the dotted line to protect our country from enemies both foreign and domestic. All veterans are heroes in our book and as such we feel they have earned a discount when they decide to shop with us. The veteran discount applies year-round, not just on Veteran’s Day.

In my day in order to become a veteran you had to serve for at least two years of active duty and have an honorable discharge or other discharge under honorable conditions. I’m not sure how it’s tallied these days but if you served and have some form of id that says so when you walk into the store you will get a better deal, simple as that.

So, whether you were a pencil pusher, grunt, or an elite commando you’re in good company at IBC and we’re glad to have you as part of the family. We may poke fun at one another from branch to branch or specialty to rating or rank but in the end, we tend to stand up for one another and support each other. On a side note, we give active-duty personnel the same discount as our veterans. Our bond cannot be broken by politics, race, religion or gender, it’s one of the best things about serving the country. Learning this lesson comes easy to those of us who made it through boot camp, and training before striking out into the unknown world. You never know what’s going to happen, but you know the person next to you will be there at your side when something does happen.

Days like today make me miss the comradery we had together while doing even the most mundane of tasks. Days like this make me think of my friends who are still alive and the ones who aren’t. It’s a deep respect for one another, even the people we quarreled with over trivial matters that seemed relevant at the time. Putting other people before ourselves and helping people in need takes a lot from a person, sometimes it takes everything they have including their life. Here at IBC we recognize the sacrifice our service members make and while a discount isn’t much of a thanks it’s a start!

Maybe next time instead of generically thanking a service member or veteran for their service ( I personally don’t like that phase unless it’s coming from another service member or the V.A.) try engaging them in conversation or inviting them on a Zodiac ride. It’s pretty amazing what a Zodiac ride can do for your soul.

If you don’t have a Zodiac to take a veteran out in come and see us here at IBC and we’ll get you sorted out.

If you’re eating S.O.S. mixed with dirt and tears downrange, remember that we are thinking of you back home and are honored for your sacrifice serving this great country of ours.

Inflatable Boat Center

2041 SE Powell Blvd.

Portland Oregon 97202

Open Tuesday through Friday 0900-1700 (9 to 5 for the non-military types)

Saturday 0900-1500 (9 to 3)

Closed on Sunday and Monday

Call us! (503)235-2628

email me if you have questions or beefs and I’ll try to get you taken care of.

Heavy Rains Mean ERB Season Is Here

Driving in thru heavy rains and flooded streets this morning had me thinking about Zodiac MILPRO ERB models. It’s this time of year we start to get calls for flood water and swift water rescue boats. Being able to rapid inflate a Zodiac MILPRO ERB 400 in 3 minutes means something when water is moving into an area with homes and residents. The Zodiac ERB 400 HPP will roll and stow in most vehicles without issue when you need to move assets to an area without traditional boats or services. Austere locales, metropolitan centers, housing developments, all become accessible when flooded.

Police, fire, and emergency service workers and volunteers can easily carry a rolled up ERB to the water’s edge and get it deployed to enact a rescue. Due to is light and compact nature anyone one of moderate fitness level can easily pull a boat out of a vehicle and carry it to a scene one shoulder. If you have help it’s even easier, more hands make less work they say.



While carrying an inflated boat to a scene on a trailer or on top of a slick top rig is great and easy. it’s not always possible. If you can’t get a trailer close enough to a scene or the vehicle has antennas populating all the upper roof surfaces you need a roll up option that you can get to where it’s needed most. Saving time by not having to launch far away can mean the difference between a strainer rescue or a strainer recovery.

In the video above it’s easy to see that with a little training a small team can do incredible things. Training for the scenarios rescuers likely to encounter in their respective areas is necessary and shouldn’t be overlooked by leadership. Training doesn’t have to be laborious or mundane. Everyone on the team should become familiar with all of the operations so if a team member is absent, they can still conduct the mission. I used to dread training because of the monosyllabic monotonous classroom data you have to digest. Once you mix in some practical use training it becomes fun and engrossing. Training comes with costs when fielding a program so when setting aside money for a Zodiac ERB departments and local governments should be setting aside some funds so assets like the Zodiac MILPRO ERB don’t sit unused during an emergency event.

By conducting training often teams become cohesive and able to respond to dynamic situations successfully. Learning the incredible capabilities of the Zodiac MILPRO ERB inflatable boat platform assuages fears and forges strong operators able to do what needs to be done when the call is made. Don’t wait until the worst happens, take those meetings and make those budgets, extreme weather is now the norm. Some call it global warming, or climate change, others call it the 100 year weather cycle. Whatever you call it decide on a plan now and put steps in place to protect your citizens before it’s too late.

If your department needs to get a Zodiac MILPRO ERB or two give Inflatable Boat Center a call and get the ball rolling.

The Inflatable Boat Center is open Tuesday-Friday 0900-1700 and Saturday 0900-1500.

Inflatable Boat Center

2041 SE Powell Blvd.

Portland Oregon 97202


Military and professional RFQs can be emailed to

Air and Opportunity

Air and opportunity, it’s a phase that has multiple meanings to me. I think the first time I heard it was in 1985, I was 17 and underway on a ship in the Navy. Basically, I wanted to do a thing that would possibly change my path in the military. There wasn’t any guarantee I would be selected and just about every chance I’d fail but if I didn’t try, I’d never know. The older enlisted guy advising me said at the time “What’s stopping you? Air and opportunity?”. (he also added some colorful words I won’t share here) It felt hurtful to my young ears, but it motivated me to try really hard things, to see them thru to their end, good or bad. The lesson was hard earned but invaluable. When I had different thoughts than my peers and no support for my goals, I relied on the lesson it taught me, to earn it.

Flash forward to 2023, and it still rings true in that regard, but it has another meaning now too. Now sometimes when I’m thinking of “air and opportunity” I’m thinking of the opportunity my Zodiac brings me. I quite literally air up my opportunity (Commando C4) and set out on adventure. Regardless of the adventure being mundane, exciting, or laborious, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow none the less.

Adventure gives experience as a reward and that can be heady perfume to someone seeking their own path. Looking out from the water towards adventure on an unexplored island delights the senses. From my quiet vantage on the Zodiac inflatable boat, I ponder what flora and fauna I’ll encounter as I make landfall. Will the beach be sloppy with deep mud or will it be sturdy enough to walk on. (I’m thinking of you Palmyra Atol) In this case, air in my inflatable boat, has led to opportunity to grow in my life experience. My contemporary peers, most I’d consider to be seasoned, call my Zodiac “a little rubber boat” and leave it at that. It’s not until we meet up on an adventure that they see what a little air and opportunity can do for the mission at hand. Many of my “little rubber boat” friends now own one or two and use them in ways I didn’t even consider.

When I was sailing out of Oahu with my now late friend Lester, I had no idea of the impact the Zodiac inflatable boat would ultimately have on the shape and direction of my life. Those surf spots no one ever heard of before became a very real thing to me, I just had to try to reach them.

Me on the left Lester on the right circa 1991 Oahu Hawaii

Lester got me into to sailing and yacht racing and it was fun and all, but for me my adventure started with a little air and opportunity in the Zodiac. We would take the little rubber boat out to the sea cliffs and pick opihi, snorkel down for lobster, catch ulua and ahi and feast after a long surf session all made possible with a little air and opportunity. It was one thing to cross the ocean and an altogether different thing to strike out into the unknown on a Zodiac once you got there.

In the military I never really understood the capabilities of a little rubber boat filled with air. It was just another day on yet another boat. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get just a little excited to play Zodiac Man. Even while in the Arctic, air and opportunity entered the chat. Operations were made possible because of a little rubber boat and men willing to go into the dark cold ocean beneath it.

I’ve learned so much from those halcyon days, Sun in the sky times that the lessons learned when it wasn’t so great almost seem to be forgotten memories. When the seas gave us conditions that prevented the launching of one of our workboats the rubber boats came out and took up the slack. Air and opportunity saved the day more than once and it was no wonder why the command had a good supply of “Z Boats” on the ready at all times.

Maxie in Zodiac CZ7 Glacier Bay

Our Queen Maxie in Zodiac CZ7 Glacier Bay

When I started working here at The Inflatable Boat Center, I was just looking for steady work, but air and opportunity came along for the ride. I never professed to be an expert, I’d been on a boat before is about the long and short of it. I learned some stuff from Captain Ron and his vast experiences, as well as another ex-sales guy named Adam who was also from Hawaii like me. They had some basics I lacked and some experiences I hadn’t chalked up yet to draw from. The more I learned about little rubber boats the more opportunity I saw in their use. Digging up old memories gave some insights, books gave more, and many of the inflatable boat users I talk to daily give the most.

So much air, so much opportunity, so much to see, do and learn. Air and opportunity should never be in the way of trying new things, and in this case air and opportunity can come from a Zodiac inflatable boat or Zodiac RIB as your ticket to adventure and learning.

You’re never too young or too old to start your inflatable boat adventure.

Breaking it all down and coming full circle to the phrase I was once told by the older Navy guy “What’s stopping you?”, “Air and opportunity?”. Basically, the only thing that was standing in my way was doubting myself. Kick some air into an opportunity in the form of a Zodiac inflatable boat or Zodiac RIB and see where it takes you. If you don’t have a little rubber boat stop by The Inflatable Boat Center and get yourself one. The only thing stopping you is air and opportunity!