Inflatable boats

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What is an inflatable boat?


Main features of an inflatable boat



Inflatable boats are small motorboats that are fully inflatable, unlike boats with rigid hulls. The idea of taking to the water in a vessel filled with air originates from Chile and Patagonia. Both countries used small catamarans made from sealskins sewn together to form two long float pods. The paddler had to blow regularly into a sleeve to keep the boat watertight.



There are currently a number of inflatable boats available in the nautical world:


  • Inflatable lifeboats are static, soft-bottomed life rafts. They are designed to stay around the wreck area. They are not to be used for sailing.
  • Dynamic inflatable boats can be used as tenders.
  • Non-rigid inflatable boats are intended for recreational use and occasionally for military professionals. They are small boats with U-shaped tubes, a canvas bottom and a transom.





The most widespread inflatable boats on the market remain models intended for pleasure boating. They offer an easy introduction to sailing for novices. They are cheap to buy and easy to use, making them accessible to all types of pleasure boater. These small motorboats are stable, lightweight and can be loaded without fear. Another advantage, and certainly not the least pertinent, is that when deflated, these small boats can be stored anywhere and take up very little space (they can even be stowed in a car boot).


Uses of inflatable boats


Inflatable boats are very versatile in terms of their uses. These little pleasure boats offer lots of possibilities:


  • You can explore the coast and go from one cove to another. Small and offering excellent manoeuvrability, even the most inaccessible places can be explored with these boats, so why miss out?
  • You can go fishing alone or with friends. Loaded with the right equipment, inflatable boats are ideal for small fishing trips.
  • They can be used as tenders to reach your main vessel



Looking after your inflatable boat


While small in size, inflatable boats require regular inspections. They are very susceptible to punctures, and the canvas can quickly become warped under pressure applied by waves, especially if the motor attached is too powerful. Inflatable boats usually come with a small repair kit containing a tube of special glue and several patches. Invest in a pair of paddles and an air pump to sail safely in an inflatable boat.


Before buying an inflatable boat, make sure you have determined the size and weight of the boat, diameter of the tubing, and maximum boat load you require. Once you have defined your search criteria, take a look at our inflatable boats for sale and choose your future vessel!