New to Boating - Need Advice on Inflatables - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-11-2013 Thread Starter
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New to Boating - Need Advice on Inflatables

My girlfriend and I just moved into an apartment that is a short distance from a public boat slip on the DE River. We really like the idea of getting a small boat to cruise around on, but don't have a vehicle with towing capability, which is why I've been looking a lot at inflatable dinghies.

Basically, I'm looking for a boat that is portable - something that we can deflate and fit into a small car. But of course, it would be a great bonus if the boat could really get moving. I was thinking that I would be purchasing an outboard motor, something between 4 and 10 hp.

Because of the need for portability, it seems like my choices are narrowed to an air floor or a slatted floor - I've been looking closely at the "Zodiac Wave Slat Rollup Floor", and also at the "Bombard by Zodiac Air Floor" (Something around 9 or 10').

I was wondering if anyone could tell me the pros and cons of each type of boat (slat vs air), or even if anyone had other types of suggestions that they think might suit us better. Thanks in advance for any help!
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-11-2013
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Re: New to Boating - Need Advice on Inflatables


we bought a mercury air floor model because it was a really good deal and it had a 1500 lb weight capacity. In time we have come to realize that the coolest thing about the air floor is how comfortable it is to sit on and lay on. you can put your legs up on one side and your back against the other and it's just like being in a lounge chair.

we have a 9.9 hp outboard and it will get up on plain with 3 people and even 4 if there not to heavy

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Re: New to Boating - Need Advice on Inflatables

You may want to consider Porta-Bote. Specifications & Colors | Porta Bote
Though you may need to get roof racks for your car to transport it.


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Re: New to Boating - Need Advice on Inflatables

Thanks a ton for the replies -

Dog8It - I've seen/heard of the porta-botes, but they seem a little bit sketchy. The fact that they won't give you prices unless you request them/fill out a lot of info seems sort of rotten. Do you have any more info on these? My hope is to buy a motor and boat combined and keep the cost around 2k or less (maybe around 1000 for the motor, 1000 for the boat), so I have no idea if this would fit into my budget or not.

Mitch - I really like the comfort aspect that you you've brought up. I could see an air-filled floor being nice for floating around on. The main reason I was also looking at slat floor is the concern of punctures - have you had any problems with this?
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Re: New to Boating - Need Advice on Inflatables

I have a 4hp yamaha and a 15hp Suzuki, the yamaha is good for short hauls, if you want to move at a decent speed you will need at least a 9.9hp
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-12-2013
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Re: New to Boating - Need Advice on Inflatables

Don't underestimate the weight of a 6 to 10hp outboard and what it will take to haul it back and forth every time you want to use the boat. For ease of portability, an 8 foot or so boat with a 4 hp motor might serve better. For maximum performance you can't beat at solid floor inflatable. Cheaper than an air deck at the expense of a bit more time to assemble it.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-12-2013
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Re: New to Boating - Need Advice on Inflatables

If you are puttering around then a slatted floor will do. The smallest motor eg 2hp Suzuki will drive you at hull speed too. I personally would avoid the 2 hp aircooled Honda as it is noisy.

If you want a planing dink then an inflateable floor that gives it a V profile is the way to go. Something like this CLICKY

You will need at least 8 hp and 9.9 or 15 hp if the boat is rated for it is better. Try to find a used 2 stroke Yamaha if you can. Tohatsu Evinrude and Johnsons are OK. I am not a Mercury fan. Check out the weight of the OB, sometimes the 15hp weighs less than the 8hp.

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post #8 of 8 Old 08-12-2013
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Re: New to Boating - Need Advice on Inflatables

A few things.

A small inflatable with 6+ go will definitely move. I had an 11' with a 9.9 as a kid (that was our family boat) and it flew.

Like others have said don't underestimate weight and time setting it up. My wooden floored 11' took a full 30-45 minutes to set up. The wood floor (3 or 4 panels) in particular took time and effort to pop into place.

I imagine an air floor or roll up floor would be easier.

Also I'm not sure if you've looked but don't under estimate cost either. Inflatables and outboards hold their value and are expensive even on craigslist.

Also ill use this as an opportunity to plug for the Ryobi 18V cordless inflator pump. I use it for my Avon Redcrest 8' inflatable and it's great. Even when I've got the car you usually can't keep the car at te bottom of the ramp long enough to use a lighter plug pump. The cordless pump is great.

Precision 18, Massachusetts
Former boat: Contessa 26
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air , inflatable , portable , slat , zodiac

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