Originally designed as a high-performance rough-water rescue craft, today, inflatable boats are a versatile way to get around in the water. They are used by anglers and hunters, emergency response services and rescuers, and just lovers of a relaxing holiday on the water. Inflatable boats are comfortable, reliable and economical; they have many advantages over traditional hard-hulls.
Choosing the right inflatable boat is an important step, which you can quickly go through with a detailed guide to the world of a great multitude of inflatable boats.
Prioritize Safety and Stability Features
Safety is the first and most important thing you should consider when choosing your inflatable boat. The safety of a boat depends on two factors: how it is made and used. When selecting a safe boat, you should pay attention to the following key characteristics:
• NMMA Certification
This certification indicates that the manufacturer complies with industry safety standards and federal regulations as defined by The National Marine Manufacturers Association.
• Choose the Type of Boat that Best Suits Your Needs
When buying an inflatable boat, you must understand how and for what to use it. It depends on the type of boat that suits your needs the most. Rigid Inflatable Boats are stable at high speeds and when the hull is flooded with water and is also safer in collisions. Inflatable Floor Boats combine compactness, flexibility and the necessary rigidity. But still, if you need maximum portability, you should consider Soft Inflatable Boats. The Hard Deck Floor Inflatable Boats are the most durable since the hard bottom and the keel provide maneuverability even in rough water.
• Multiple Air Chambers
Multiple Air Chambers is your insurance on the water in case of a puncture or damage, the primary safety measure when buying an inflatable boat. Navigator boats are equipped with Multiple Air Chambers for maximum safety on the water. Thanks to this function, your boat can stay afloat if one of the cameras is lost.
• Boat Build Quality – Attention To Details
Many essential details that can be missed when choosing a boat can be decisive in critical situations on the water. Navigator boats put safety above all else. Our boats have essential characteristics: the “heat welding” method in connecting parts and the minimum number of joining seams. These original cylinder designs provide increased tightness and hydrodynamic contours that improve ride quality.
• Cable Around the Perimeter of the Boat
No matter how experienced a sailor you consider yourself, the water is fraught with many surprises. In case of falling overboard, it will be much easier to return to the boat with perimeter lines around it.
• Safety Valves
The correct pressure is essential to the boat’s balance on the water. It is to relieve excess stress on boats that safety valves are placed that protect the boat from excessive inflation.
• Additional Security Features
When choosing a boat, pay attention to additional options. Innovations in boat building make boats not only faster and more comfortable but also safer. For example, Navigator boats have a variable diameter of U-shaped cylinders, which makes the boat’s bow more elevated and reduces the likelihood of getting stuck between stones or breaking on waves. Also, in the Navigator boats, the technology of welding the inter-tank partition into the tank corps was used, which reduced the number of external circumferential seams, reduced water resistance and increased structural strength.
Title and Registration of Your Inflatable Boat
When buying an inflatable boat, you should consider the need for its legalization in the country where you will operate it on the water. Each boat has a HULL ID defined by the manufacturer (you can read more about the HULL ID here); you can use it to find out basic information about the boat’s release and its manufacturer. Some boats require additional registration or license, depending on the power of the engine and the intended use of the boat. You can learn more about the nuances of legalizing your boat here.
Rigid or Soft – What to Choose?
The rigid inflatable boat (RIB) and the soft inflatable boat (SIB) are two types of inflatable boats that are equally popular among big water enthusiasts. Which one suits you best? Let’s take a look at the main differences.
The Rigid Inflatable Boat is a lighter boat that is stable at high speeds and in choppy waters. RIB is suitable for long trips and sailing in rough waters and will also provide more safety when passing over rocks. However, their design makes them less convenient to move and store and more expensive than soft inflatable boats.
A soft inflatable boat is an easy-to-transport, compact and cheaper boat with a smaller draft and, therefore, more preferable for shallow water. These boats are more affordable but limited in speed and maneuverability.
Read more about the pros and cons of each type of boat in our blog.
The boat’s hull is one of the essential parts to ensure the functionality and safety of the boat, as well as the most expensive part to replace if damaged. When choosing a boat, you should carefully consider the material from which its hull is made.
The first inflatable boats were made of rubber, a durable and lightweight material that was compact and could withstand freezing temperatures well. Both sides of the nylon mesh were covered with rubber. However, with the introduction of PVC on the market, boat manufacturing technology has changed dramatically. This material creates an elastic and airtight canvas, making the boat more resistant to external influences and waterproof. This material greatly improved boat safety, driving rubber boats out of the market. You can read more about the types of materials for inflatable boats here.
Navigator boats are made of five-layer PVC boat fabric with a density of 850 g/m2 – 1100 g/m2, as well as marine waterproof plywood. This provides more extended operation, resistance to dampness and temperature changes, and greater water safety.
Several types of inflatable boat engines differ in fuel, the number of cylinders, power, and much more. Navigator boats are equipped with electric motors, which are more environmentally friendly, create less noise, and make the boat lighter. However, a gasoline engine is more suitable for you in some cases. You can find out more by reading our blog.
If you opted for an electric motor, you should take care of buying a battery for it. An additional battery will allow you to stay on the water longer and cover greater distances. You can choose a battery in our store.
When buying an inflatable boat, you should understand that you will spend only part of the time with it on the water. Most of the time, it will be stored in a particular place – and you should take care of choosing this place in advance. Please read our review about how and where to store your boat most safely.
So, you have chosen your ideal boat and determined where you will go on your first trip and where you will store it. Another task is to determine the connection between these two places, that is, the method of transporting your boat. If you opted for SIB, the trunk of your car is quite suitable, but for RIB, you need to take things more seriously. For example, the STIRLING GALVANIZED STEEL BOAT TRAILER is ideal.
The most enjoyable part of buying a boat is acquiring numerous accessories that will make your boating and fishing trips even more comfortable. Pneumatic pumps for wheels, blades, rod holders, soft seats, bags, trailers and much more – the choice of our store will not leave you indifferent.
What is the life expectancy of an inflatable boat?
The service life of an inflatable boat can reach up to 20 years – it depends on the quality of the boat and the safety of its operation.
What is the advantage of an inflatable boat?
Inflatable boats are lighter, mobile, manoeuvrable, practical in shallow water, and safer thanks to the double air chamber.