Looking back through Zodiac’s history the Bombard name comes up again and again. His many contributions to boating and survival at sea could fill a small library. One of his achievements that stands out to me was his Commando line up. As a young man in the Navy I had on occasion come across his models whilst attached to Deep Sea Diving commands. (Hooyah Deep Sea!) We used them for just about everything a person working in remote locales needed. Personnel transport, diving operations, rigging, setting beach gear etc. it was all done by some of the saltiest and grittiest salvors in a “days work”. I didn’t think on it too much in those days, the head shed put me on so many different ships, boats, and submarines that it was just my job, my rice bowl as it were, and I looked forward to the next set of challenges a new day would bring.
Fairway Rock circa 1992
Icey Bay early 90’s ARS50 Uss Safeguard
Fast forward to the time where everyone has a computer in their pocket that makes calls and I’m still running the Bombard Commandos for work.
The end of 2019 saw many changes in the Zodiac lineup and beloved models were being phased out. Once great boats like the Zodiac Classic, Futura, Commando, and Fastroller were headed to the proverbial chopping block. We couldn’t afford to save them all, but we could keep the stalwart Commando from fading away. We just had to order a goodly amount and wait thru COVID to keep the real French Thermo-bonded boat of yore in production.
I’m happy to say that Zodiac did not disappoint in the Bombard Commando. Real Duo-tex fabric, real Thermo-bonding, actual real Commandos! My only regret was not being able to make a larger production run.
The fabled Bombard Commando models move pretty well in a market dominated by Chinese built knockoffs. Boats trying to compete for the market segment can be found on Amazon, Ailbaba, Costco, et al. About the only category they lead is in being low quality garbage. We often find their cheap examples littering our beaches and landfills.
Ironically Bombard Commandos are used to clean up beaches and waterways!
The Rozalia Project hard at work with their Bombard Commando C3
Thankfully IBC still has the good stuff for the recreational and semi-pro user without breaking the bank. Most of our Bombard Commando users become lifelong Commando users. They rarely move into another model with the exception of maybe moving up or down a size.
While I make no claims to being the leading expert in the field, I have been doing this for a job since 1985. Captain Ron, our fearless leader, has been doing it since 1972 and still has his 1982 Bombard Commando C3 going strong.
If you’re a discerning boater, someone new to it all, or a salty shell backed salvor you’ll find everything you need and nothing you don’t in the Zodiac Bombard Commando range. To start your own adventure, give Inflatable Boat Center a call (503)235-2628 or shop online www.inflatableboats.com today. These models won’t be in stock for long and there has never been a better time to “Go Commando” than now!
INFLATABLE BOAT CENTER INC (inflatableboats.com) Bombard Commando C3
INFLATABLE BOAT CENTER INC (inflatableboats.com) Bombard Commando C4 Black
INFLATABLE BOAT CENTER INC (inflatableboats.com) Bombard Commando C4 Red
INFLATABLE BOAT CENTER INC (inflatableboats.com) Bombard Commando C5
Inflatable Boat Center 2041 SE Powell Blvd Portland Oregon 97202