Best Inflatable Dinghy
There are dozens of different brands, each brand has several models.. So how can you choose which Dinghy is right for you?
A Dinghy is a small boat used for recreation, which can be powered via oars, a sail, or in many cases an outboard motor. Dinghy's can also be utilized in case of an emergency; not every boat is equipped with a life raft, but many boaters will have a dinghy with them at all times.
Uses for a dinghy vary greatly. Mostly dinghy's are used for water sport activities (fishing, tubing, water skiing, wakeboarding, etc). Other very practical uses for a dinghy would be to get back and forth to shore should you anchor or moor offshore.
In our experience, dinghy's can make or break a boating experience. There's no feeling like being 'trapped' on board, a dinghy will allow you to break loose - to find the next anchorage - to explore that beautiful shoreline - or to simply let the dog off to pee. Dinghy's are a must if you plan on spending any time away from the dock. Keep in mind that the specified Weight for a dinghy usually includes the boat alone. Adding an outboard, fuel tank, and other gear will increase the weight, pay close attention to this as it will affect which davit system you will require.
Dinghy's can be broken down and into three main categories:
- Fully Inflatable
- RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat)
- Skiff / Solid Hulled
If choosing an Inflatable of any kind, you'll have to choose between PVC or Hypalon tubing. Ask your dinghy dealer about these option when buying a new boat. PVC is often less expensive but is more susceptible to UV degradation. If you're planning on spending time down South, than Hypalon is often worth the added expense. There are several chemical type products you can apply to both PVC and Hypalon to reduce the effects of UV on your Dinghy.
Fully Inflatable dinghy's are great from a cost perspective. If you only plan on using your dinghy a few times a year then why make a large investment into a dinghy?
These boats can be subdivided into boats with Inflatable Floors or boats with Segmented / Folding Floors.
Often these boats are priced WELL BELOW that of a RIB or Skiff and will open doors to endless adventures for you and the family. Explore that local river, new fishing hole, you name it!
Dinghy's with Inflatable floors are often more 'flexible' than inflatables with Segmented / Folding Floors. This means they aren't necessarily intended for long trips in rough seas, you'll feel every bump and wave.
Examples of a Fully Inflatable dinghy would be:
The West Marine RU-250 Roll Up Inflatable Dinghy - Length: 8ft, Beam: 48", Price: $599 (USD), 16" PVC Tubes, Weight: 52 lbs
The Aqua Marine GYC-230 Inflatable Dinghy - Length: 7'6", Beam: 58", Price: $730 (USD), 15" PVC Tubes, Weight: 72 lbs.
The Zodiac Cadet 200 Inflatable Dinghy - Length: 8'10", Beam 60", Price: $1100 (USD), 17" PVC Tubes, Weight: 64 lbs
All of the above dinghy's are perfect for our Model 1200 Rotating Davits. Inflatable dinghy's can easily be rolled up or folded and stored on deck when their not being used. Davits will prevent you from having to inflate / deflate the dinghy every time you want to use it. Glue on patches will likely be needed if you plan on lifting the dinghy on davits, these patches feature a D-Ring to connect the davit to.
RIB - Rigid Inflatable Boats (Dinghy's) are great from a longevity point of view. They feature inflatable tubes like a Fully Inflatable Dinghy, but the floor if these boats is made from Fiberglass OR Aluminum making them stronger and much more stable.
RIB's can be found in all sizes, qualities, brands, and colours. Quite often these boats are more expensive than fully inflatable boats, but they're much smoother to ride in and have a greater lifespan. Most RIB's are solid enough to seat several passengers, and hold a good size outboard motor - allowing you to explore further, more comfortably.
Examples of a Rigid Inflatable Dinghy would be:
- The BRIG Falcon 300E - Length: 9'6", Beam: 65", Price: $3469 (USD), 16" PVC Tubes, Fiberglass Hull, Weight: 143 lbs
- The Highfield Ultralite 240 - Length: 7'10", Beam: 59", Price $2605 (USD), 15" PVC, Aluminum Hull, Weight: 64 Lbs
- The AB Inflatables Navigo 8VS - Length: 8'6", Beam: 64", Price $4340, 16" PVS Tube, Fiberglass Hull, Weight: 125 Lbs
When used with a 6HP - 15 HP Outboard, all of the above dinghy's are perfect for our Model 1900 Rotating Davits, or Model 2000 Fixed Davits. Most of these dinghy's will come with Davit Pick up points already in the dinghy. RIB's are a perfect fit for davits.
Skiff's / Solid Hull Dinghy's are typically much heavier than their inflatable counterparts - but that's not always the case. Often referred to as Rowing Dinghy's, these boats are ideal in almost every situation. You can get a Skiff with or without an outboard motor, with or without oars, and with or without a sail.
Solid Hull Dinghy's are typically the most stable of all dinghy's, those made from fiberglass being the heaviest.
Examples of a Skiff or Solid Hull Dinghy would be:
- The Boston Whaler 110 Tender - Length: 11'4", Beam 66", Price: $10,000+, Solid Fiberglass Hull, Weight: 424 lbs
- The Portland Pudgy - Length 7'8", Beam: 52", Price: $2995, Polyethylene Hull, Weight 128 lbs
***Atkins & Hoyle has no affiliation to any of these brands, dinghy models selected at random to show array of choices and things to consider when purchasing your next dinghy***