How to choose an inflatable boat!

Published on Saturday, 17th November 2018 - 12:53PM11/17/2018

Why Purchase an Inflatable

Inflatables have been evolving since the 1960s. Jacque Cousteau made them famous to explore the unknowns below the sea. He found them useful to carry divers and equipment. They handle the seas of the reefs or currents of the estuaries. They were easy to transport.

Since then they have become more useful and advanced. Many military and rescue units use them for their speed to weight ratio and their ability to handle rough weather. Since they are lighter they do not need as much HP to go fast speed. The tubes act large shock absorbers so the rough seas are less painful on driver and crew.

Now they are the favorite of dinghies because they are lighter than hard boats. Can carry more people and gear. They are stable with the buoyancy on the outside. Do not need large HP to go fast. Are easy to transport.

These same characteristics make them ideal small boats. They are forgiving around other boats as they are a large fender. They are easy to beach or launch due to lower weight. Are fun to drive because they are stable.

What are the downsides to inflatables. First they are often more expensive. The tube is an additional cost for the manufacturer and will add to the boat price. Second the tubes take up deck space. Though inflatables have lots of capacity for weight often interior seating is limited by the amount of available deck space.

What is the correct inflatable for you? There are lots of choices out there. Here are a few questions to answer first.

  • Do you want to fold it up or leave it inflated most of the time? There are foldable inflatables which fold down for storage and rigid hull inflatables which are solid bottoms. We can go into the pros and cons of each.
  • Are you using the inflatable as a dinghy to another boat or as a primary boat? Or a little of both.
  • Who will be the primary user? And Where will they be using it?
  • Are you someone who likes quality things or would you prefer less expensive and more disposable? This will help determine a budget. 
Get our Inflatable Buyer's Guide