Guide to Buying an Inflatable Boat
Inflatable boats go beyond their use for fun and sporting activities, in fact, inflatable boats were initially used in the military as rescue boats in the early 80’s. These days though, they have diverse uses, these include:
- Inflatable boats are used as lifeguards
- They are used for diving excursion
- They are used for sporting and recreational activities
- They are used in the military as military aircrafts on water.
- They are used for camping and fishing.
In this article, we will critically explain the different kinds of inflatable boats, why you should have one, the best types to buy and things to consider before buying one.
Reasons You should Have an Inflatable Boat
Compare to other traditional boats, inflatable boats have enormous advantages. Here, we will consider some of these advantages. They include:
Inflatable Boats Offer Flexibility: One of the most important advantages of inflatable boats over traditional boats is that inflatable boats offer flexibility. This simply implies that you can decide to inflate and deflate your boat whenever you like and keep it even in your car’s back seat or packing garage.
It is easily mobile; in fact, you can go with your inflatable boat to anywhere you go. Apart from the ease in transportation, inflatable boats can be conveniently packaged and stored after use. They are foldable and can b easily maintained.
Whenever you want your inflatable boat, you can easily walk to your car and take the boat straight from your car boot. Inflating a typical inflatable boat manually, with a foot pump, takes approximately thirty minutes and if you are using an automatic pump, an electric pump, you can inflate the boat in about fifteen minutes at the maximum.
Inflatable Boats are very strong and durable: Another huge advantage of inflatable boats is that they are strong and durable, making them very reliable. Inflatable boats guarantee many years of fun as they have been tested and trusted to last for many years. Another amazing thing about the durability of inflatable boats is that during the years of use, the maintenance is quite easy and affordable.
Having being built with quality materials, inflatable boats boasts of strength and durability with its coated transom acting as protective shield against the damaging effects of water seepage.
Inflatable Boats are Highly Economical: Inflatable boats are very easy to acquire. Apart from the fact that they are cheap and affordable, maintaining them comes t little or no cost too. Because inflatable boats are lightweight, they require less power to move the boats unlike traditional boats.
Less power implies less gas consumption, which is highly economical. Also, selling your boat after using it some couple of years can be easy, and can also fetch you money!
Inflatable boats have a large loading capacity: Inflatable boats can carry a large number of people at the same time. Due to their designs and their large buoyancy tubes, the loading of inflatable boats could be enormous. Inflatable boats have the capacity to upload a large loading of cargo or person with their balance still very stable.
Inflatable Boats are lightweight: Despite having the capacity to load lots of cargo or people at the same time, inflatable boats are still not heavy. In fact, they are as light as air. This property of the inflatable boats makes them easier to launch. It also reduces the stress of carrying the boats out of the water after use, deflating, folding and storing them.
Inflatable Boats can Perform All-in-one functions: Inflatable boats are one of the very few boats that can perform various functions. They can be used for camping, fishing; they can be used for sporting activities and racing. They are also used as lifeguards. Inflatable boats are preferable to other boats in that they can be used in cases of emergency, and they can be used to improvise in various situations that require urgent use of boats.
Types of Inflatable Boats
There are different types of inflatable boats, most of which are used for different purposes and by different people. It is highly important to know the different kinds of inflatable boats there is and knowing which is best for you.
Here, we will consider the various types of inflatable boats available and the conditions and people each is best for.
Generally, there are four different kinds of inflatable boats, they include;
1. Yacht Tenders: These kinds of inflatable boats are specifically made for people who have little or no experience in boating or people that are buying inflatable boats for the very first time. Basically, these kinds of boat offers high quality boating and is highly reliable, offering safety and stability. Among the different kinds of inflatable boat, yacht tenders are the most economical. Apart from the fact that they can be used for various outdoor activities including sporting activities, fishing and camping, they also have a high capacity to contain a large number of people. Generally, yacht tenders sizes between 6 feet to 20 feet.
The base of inflatable boats that fall in this group is built with layers of fabric and woods transverse through the beam.
2. V Hull: Instead of wood at the base, this kind of inflatable boat has wooden or inflatable keels. The keel enhances the power and general handling of inflatable boats in this category. Another huge advantage of V-hull is that it provides extra balance and buoyancy for the boat on the water. If you need an inflatable boat with a very great power and handling in a way that it can push through corners and maneuver very easily, then you should go for inflatable boats in this group.
3. High Performance Hull: This kind of inflatable boat is basically designed for people that have considerable experience in boating, for experts. This kind of boat has better handling and travels faster than the previous two types of inflatable boats. This kind of boast should be used carefully though because it has a higher tendency for boating accident compared o the first two. This is basically because it ravels far faster than yacht tender and v-hulls. Some of this type of inflatable boats have extra speed tube attached to their base. Inflatable boats in this category are basically used for racing and other related sporting activities.
4. Rigid-Hulled Inflated Boats (RIBs): This kind of boas is designed for the extremely trained experts in boating. Like the name implies, RIBs has a fiberglass and rigid hull, this hull ensures buoyancy, thereby making boats in this category more balanced, speedier and more stable on the water. Inflatable boats in this category have greater power and handing, making it more comfortable for the boat to pass through sharp corners. It is considered as the fastest type of inflatable boats available. Boats in this group are extremely light and have very durable. This kind of inflatable boats are used by lifeguards and the police because of its speed and capacity to contain a whole lot of people at the same time.
Choosing the Perfect Inflatable Boat
Now that you know there are different types of inflatable boats available, it should be easier to know which kind to go for. There are still diverse types of these inflatable boats and it will be very wise to consider some factors before deciding to buy a particular brand or type of the boat.
We will now explain some factors you should consider before you decide to buy an inflatable boat. Here we go;
Consider why you are buying the Inflatable Boat: There are different kinds of boat for different kinds of purpose. It will be unwise to buy a kind of boat basically used by the police when you only need a boat for your family camping. Apart from the expenses, it is highly dangerous, considering the speed of those kinds of inflatable boats. If you need a small inflatable boat, you should consider Dinghys, it is one of the smallest boats available and easy to handle.
Consider the loading capacity: Inflatable boats have different loading capacities. While some of them have a very large loading capacity and therefore can be used to transport large amount of cargos and people at the same time, some have quite limited loading capacities. Considering the loading capacity goes a long way in determining what it will be used for. If you plan on getting an inflatable boat just for family camping or fishing, you don’t need a boat with a very large loading capacity as a boat with a considerable loading capacity will do the job just fine.
Consider the material the inflatable boat is made from: Generally, inflatable boats are made from one of these two materials; PVC or Hypalon. There are considerable differences between these two materials.
PVC is more popular of these two; this is basically because it is lighter, cheaper, and considering new advancements, more durable. They have stronger thread, making them more resilient on the water. PVC though, can be quite vulnerable to increased exposure to the sun, to heat and relative humidity.
Hypalons, whereas, have more weight, the are more expensive, and have strong fabrics. Hypalons are mostly used to build rugged and heavy duty inflatable boats. You buying an inflatable boat based on the kind of material should depend on both your budget and the rate at which you will be exposing the boat to the sun and other external factors.
If you want a very lasting permanent inflatable boat for rugged use and strong fabric, hypalon is your best bet. Otherwise, for regular routine use, PVCs could be the answer.
Consider the ease in assembling and dissembling the boat: Assembling and dissembling inflatable boats can prove an important factor to consider sometimes when buying the boat. While some inflatable boats are extremely easy to assemble, dissemble, fold and store, some others are quite a handful to assemble and fold. Depending on how often you want to be using your boat, it is necessary to consider the ease in assembling and dissembling the inflatable boat.
Consider the warrantee of the boat you are buying: Although most inflatable boats are very strong and durable, they have tendencies to develop technical issues, thereby making warrantee of the product a very important factor to consider when buying an inflatable boat. While some boats have warrantees of within 1 to 2 years, some other have longer warrantee.
Also, while some inflatable boats have warrantees that cover only certain parts of the boats, others have warrantees that cover both spear parts of the boats and also the whole boats. It is very necessary to consider the warrantees of inflatable boats.
About the author: Chris loves the outdoors and has developed a love of gadgets and inflatable toys, from kayaking and paddle boarding to relaxing in his hot tub at home. The founder of WhichInflatable and has been the editor for 7 years.