How to Choose a Rubber Dinghy

Summer. Hot morning. And you are in the middle of the lake in a dinghy, enjoying the coolness of the water in anticipation of a big catch. Most of us only imagine such a picture in our dreams, believing that buying and maintaining a boat is too expensive for them. We hasten to inform you: the inflatable boat is what you were looking for!

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Stereotypes. They make our lives much more difficult. More precisely, we complicate it ourselves. A striking example is the desire to buy a boat in order to arrange an unforgettable weekend vacation in summer, spring and autumn. What is stopping us? Yes, a whole range of false concerns and fears, for example:

  • only solid frame dinghy can be reliable, and inflatable ones will be punctured at the first collision with a stone;
  • such a purchase is unlikely to be affordable to me;
  • a special dock is needed to store the boat, and a trailer is needed to move it.

How to Choose a Rubber Dinghy

And now - the whole truth about inflatable boats.

High strength and durability: in terms of reliability, inflatable boats are practically the same to solid ones. They are made from modern materials of the highest strength.

Ease of storage and transportation: you do not need to become the owner of a dock and trailer to transport the boat. Rubber boat 2.2 m long weighs only 7 kg! In the deflated state, you can easily place it in a hiking backpack and carry it to the location.

Convenient use: you can get into the boat immediately after launching it without getting your feet wet. This is its difference from a solid model, which must be pushed away from the shore while in the water.

Are you convinced now that a rubber boat is a profitable and practical purchase? Then we will consider in more detail the design, types, material, as well as the main characteristics of existing boat models.


Inflatable Boat Design

The main element is a long round chamber, curved in the shape of a horseshoe in high-speed boats with a motor, or the letter "O" - in single or double boats. For safety, this chamber is divided into several compartments inside, so that, in the event of damage to one, the boat can stay afloat at the expense of the rest.

Vessels intended for sailing with a motor must be equipped with a plywood transom. Usually, it is located between two onboard cameras – that’s where the engine is mounted.

The floor is an indispensable element that gives additional strength and rigidity to the inflatable structure in order to securely hold the motor and provide normal support to the propeller.

Deciding on the Material of the Inflatable Boat

It is this parameter that directly defines the durability. The fabric must be resistant not only to abrasion, but also to UV rays and various types of petroleum products. To date, dinghies are made from the following materials.

  • Hipalon is a unique fabric that is famous for its resistance to the negative effects of chemically active substances: gasoline, oil, petroleum products, etc., as well as to the destructive effects of sunlight. However, it cannot withstand abrasion in any way. It is better that only the outer layer be made of it.
  • Neoprene is a material that has the highest rate of airtightness. It also does not lend itself to the destructive effects of petroleum products. However, its strength is low, so the recommended scope is the same as that of Hypalon - as a top coat.
  • Nylon and polyester are excellent choices for the main boat material. Thanks to these fabrics, the inflatable boat will keep its shape and serve you for many years.
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is one of the leaders as the main material. Its main advantage is strength, low weight, as well as the possibility of vulcanization at the joints. As a disadvantage of PVC, one can single out the complexity of its repair outside the factory. In addition, the resistance to UV and chemically active substances in this material is not up to par compared to the already mentioned Hypalon. At the same time, the strength of such a boat directly depends on its weight: the higher it is, the more layers of fabric the boat is made of, the stronger it is. Today, PVC boats usually have 7 layers.

What Kind of Floor Can an Inflatable Boat Have

Hard floor is made of wood or aluminum. Of course, using a dinghy with such flooring is much more convenient - it will twist less; besides, you can get up without any problems while boating, without fear of falling into the water. The installation time of the hard floor in the boat is 30-40 minutes.

Lovers of water trips especially respect aluminum flooring due to its strength and wear resistance compared to wood. However, it is worth remembering that aluminum heats up very quickly under the sun, and when water gets in, its surface will be very slippery.

Inflatable floor is simpler and more convenient to use - it will take you only 10 minutes to inflate and install it. Despite the name, inflatable floors are also quite solid - they are inflated to a pressure of 1 atm, so you can also stand in such a boat. However, the elasticity of the material does not disappear anywhere, so during strong winds you will not be able to experience much stability under your feet.

The main advantages of the inflatable bottom are a large carrying capacity and an easier way to plan the boat. If you decide to stay on such a bottom, it is better to take care of its additional protection in advance: lay a PVC layer on top of the floor so that an accidentally dropped knife does not cause your ship to sink.

What Types of Inflatable Boats Exist

Sport inflatable boats - equipped with a very strong floor and a reliable transom, which is usually made of wood or fiberglass. The floor can be made of the same fiberglass, aluminum or plywood. Such boats will be an excellent option for multi-day trips.

Inflatable boats with a flexible floor - as the name implies, the flooring of such vessels is inflatable (removable or non-removable - depends on the specific model). The main advantage of this type of transport in comparison with similar products is its low weight and compact dimensions.

RIB-boats are special models equipped with a hard folding floor. It is a hybrid of an ordinary boat and an inflatable boat: its main chamber is inflatable and soft, and the keel is rigid, made of fiberglass, aluminum or polyethylene.


How to Choose an Inflatable Boat by the Main Parameters

The length of the boat - of course, this is exactly what one pays attention to first when making a purchase. If your goal is fishing, then you should know: boats up to 300 cm are considered single, despite their capacity of up to 4 people. The fact is that with a motor, fishing rods and other payloads, there really is only enough room for one fisherman. If the boats are from 330 to 400 cm long, then they are already suitable for two fishermen.

The number of passengers and carrying capacity – it must be indicated on the transom plate. For example, if the maximum permitted carrying capacity is 500 kg, then the capacity of such a boat is: 4 passengers + 100 kg of cargo. It is impossible to replace 100 kg of cargo with another passenger: the water inspectorate will obviously not appreciate this idea.

The maximum power of the outboard motor is calculated based on the following ratio: for a boat with a length of 230-270 cm this is about 5 hp, for a length of 290-300 cm - about 10 hp, for 310-360 cm – 15-20 l. Compliance with this ratio is simply necessary. If the power of the boat's electric motor exceeds the set maximum, you will not be able to register your boat.

The diameter of the chambers - you also take into account when choosing. Usually it is 40-45 cm, and for boats with a larger carrying capacity - 50 cm or more.

CE category - marked on the transom plate. We are going to mention two frequently encountered ones here. Category C - such boats are designed for sailing in the following waters: coastal waters, rivers, lakes, etc. The main condition is that the wind force should not be more than 6 points on the Beaufort scale, and the wave height should not be more than 2 m. Category D - for such bodies of water as closed rivers, ponds and any other similar type. At the same time, the permissible wind force is no more than 4 points, and the average wave height is no more than 0.3-0.5 m.

Useful Accessories for an Inflatable Boat

The consumables described below can be either included in the basic package of the vessel or purchased separately. In any case, it will be better if you take care of the convenience of your boating vacation in advance.

Drain valve - located at the bottom of the transom and serves to remove excess water that accidentally flooded into the boat. With it, you do not have to turn the dinghy over at all.

Rings for fixing the motor with a rope - usually the motor is bolted to the transom. However, during operation, the motor may fall into the water. The least it threatens is a little downtime, in the worst case, equipment repairs will cost you a pretty penny. To prevent the described situation, rings are needed for additional mounting of the motor.

Anchor eye - protects the hull of the boat from rubbing with an anchor rope. The fact is that when lowering the anchor, the rope with which it is fixed swipes the material of the boat. The eye eliminates these damages: it has a well-thought-out design with a special place for winding the anchor rope.

Fastenings for a fuel tank - necessary for boats equipped with powerful motors (more than 3.5 hp). Such engines are made remote and fixed on the cylinders of the boat: for this, four rings are first glued to the cylinders, with the help of which the tank is pressed against one side.

Seat pads - serve to soften the hard wooden seats of the boat. You have to agree, that it is quite difficult to sit on a hard surface for a long time, given that you are on vacation. In addition, some models of pads are equipped with bags, which is very convenient.

Tube covers are a necessary device, as they increase the wear resistance of lower part of the chambers. They are thick rubber pads made of PVC tape, which are glued to the bottom of the chambers. This will help prolong the life of the inflatable boat and avoid damage when it is pulled ashore or hit by rocks.

The bleed valve is also a useful device. With it, you can remove excess air pressure from the inflatable boat. If the ship stays under the open sun for a long time, the pressure in the cylinders increases. If it is not removed in time, then the boat can simply burst.

Splash guard are small pieces of PVC that are installed between the chambers and the transom of the boat. Needed to protect people in the boat from getting splashed while it is moving.

Now you must be convinced that a comfortable outdoor recreation does not require huge investments and everyone can afford it. Our online marketplace offers the widest selection of inflatable boats. You can pick up a boat for fishing alone or for traveling with a large group.

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