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Just imagine you and your family or friends, sitting on a lake somewhere, sunny, nice day, fishing or just relaxing. Doesn’t it sound great? The truth is, not much can compare to the fun you are able to have on a boat. That is what inflatable boats can provide you with if you would rather not spend a lot of money on a real boat.
Benefits of an Inflatable Boat
Okay, so over the last few years, inflatable boats have become something everyone is talking about. The question for many devoted fans of a traditional boat is, “Why?” What do people love about them? We are going to try and explore why everyone may one day want to at least give it a try.
Floatability: Boats are designed to float. However, how often have we heard about a boat sinking? It happens. Inflatable boats have impressive float-ability. Even if they end up with a hole in one area, the boat can still often stay afloat thanks to several air chambers. This can get you safely back to shore, or at least to a piece of land where you can patch it before going home.
Impressive Weight Capacities: Most inflatables can hold a lot more weight than other boats, which may get weighed down. Have you ever seen four people in a johnboat when the sides are barely sitting above water? It won’t happen that way with an inflatable of comparable size.
Impressive Stability: These boats tend to move with the water. This eliminates a lot of the rocking and rolling that traditional boats may experience. It also makes it virtually impossible to flip over when in the water.
Easy to Transport/Store: For a traditional boat, you basically need a garage to hold it when you aren’t using it. Otherwise, it will rot. With an inflatable, if you don’t have a lot of room, you can store it by letting the air out.
Bumpers Included: When you edge up to a dock or another boat in a traditional boat, you must do it carefully. In a bumper boat, extra care is a lot less important.
Speedy and Fun: Many inflatable boats have motors and provide a lot of fun, the same as traditional boats. There are some that can even travel quickly.
What to Look for in an Inflatable Boat?
There are several types of flooring for inflatable boats. You will want to choose the one that meets your needs the best. They include:
Roll-Up Floor: These boat floors are soft and able to roll up for putting away. This is a floor type that is best suited for people who only use the boat occasionally. They are very affordable, depending on the features that you want.
Rigid Floors: If you like the stability of a harder floor, which could be helpful for fishing, rigid may be the option you like. It also goes faster because of a V-shaped keel. They are the type most often used with boat motors.
Inflatable Flooring: An inflatable floor is soft and flexible. The boats are lightweight, compact, and easy to store away if you don’t need them for a while. The downside is that they can get punctured, so may not be ideal for fishing with hooks.
Ribs: These boats have a more solid shell to keep the shape when high impacts are possible. They are the best combination of inflatable and fiberglass. These boats are heavier, less portable, and perfect for some people. You may even be able to have a console rib inflatable, with steering systems that control all functions from a single space, much the same as fiberglass or traditional-style boats.
Material Durability: Most inflatables are made with PVC or Hypalon. PVC is a more lightweight material, and it is also very strong. Typically, you can store them easily by folding or rolling them up. Hypalon is much heavier duty, resists impacts, UV rays, and intense heat or air pressure.
Weight Limits: You want a boat that is going to be able to carry the people and things you want to have on it. This is for your safety and the people you have with you.
Hull Design: Inflatable boats often have three hull types. One is a flat hull that can be unstable if you use it at high speeds. A V-hull is best for higher speeds and more stability. The deep V-hull is going to usually be made with hardwood or aluminum. This allows them to cut through waves better than the other two.
Power: Do you want paddles, or would you rather have an electric or gas-powered engine? You can choose the type you want.
Other common things you should look for include:
- Set-Up Ease
- Included Pump
- Storage Options
Inflatable Boat Comparison
A lot of inflatable boats have accessories that can make them more enjoyable, and usable for years to come. Some include patch kits, carrying bags, multiple air chambers, fins, etc. However, to best see what is available, you have only to look at some boat options.
The Intex Explorer is a boat that comes with an inflatable floor and two oars. The Intex Seahawk goes a step beyond by also including an air pump to make using it even easier.
The Seamax Recreational inflatable boat has room for four people, a 15HP motor, and a centerboard for you to take advantage of. Cup holders also make it enjoyable for those hot summer days on the water.
If a pontoon boat is something you like the idea of, the Classic Accessories Colorado XT will give you all that you could want and more. It has an anchor as well as a rod holder, cup holder, and much more.
In these boats, and similar ones, there are a lot of great accessories to consider. Why not take a look at all that is available to you?