Inflatable power boats range in size from small, commercial utility boats and lifeboats to larger RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) which are light-weight, high performance power boats. Often what makes inflatable boats a popular choice is their ability to be used as versatile, portable pleasure boats that are easily transported. They are also ideal boats for use as a dinghy or tender to larger yachts. Their buoyancy and soft, stable rides make them perfect for use as rescue vessels, coastal exploration boats and diving or snorkeling boats.
How Are Inflatable Boats Built?
Fully inflatable crafts are constructed of high-quality materials like neoprene and Hypalon, which are resistant to UV rays and difficult to puncture. Semi-inflatable boats, known as RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) are made from a combination of fiberglass, composite or aluminium hulls and inflatable rubber/vinyl “collars”. These hulls are sometimes designed of foldable fiberglass hulls, depending on the exact style or subclass chosen. Inflatable boats can range in size from under 10 feet to up to 50 feet in high performance RIB style boats.
What Types of Engines Power Inflatable Yachts?
Some inflatable boats are powered by oars but many models utilize a solid, integrated transom for mounting outboard engines on the stern. Engines mounted can range from small trolling motors for use in shallow waters or getting out to larger vessels (when used as a tender) up to high-performance, faster outboards. There are even inflatable boats designed for racing, such as the multi-hulled Aquarius Inflatable power boats.
What Optional Equipment is Available for Inflatables?
Inflatable boats and RIBs can be outfitted with a variety of safety systems, storage capacities, fuel systems, navigation systems, and premium accessories. High-end RIBs may even include covered pilothouses with protected seating areas such as the Zodiac Pro Open 850 Pilothouse or the Ribcraft Express 32. These boats also can include optional generators, premium radar for fishing and other equipment. These typically basic boats are now growing in popularity as a pleasure craft, thus the market for accessories and optional equipment is only going to continue to grow.