Inflatable Sport Boats - Inflatable Boat Reviews Have A Hard Time Differentiating These Boats
How can inflatable boat reviews differentiate the more durable recreational inflatable boats (sport boats) from light duty inflatable boats (dinghies)?
Inflatable sport boats are challenging to separate out from the huge number of inflatable boats on the market.
Because it is so difficult, I will attempt to give some guidelines so you know what to look for.
What makes a sport boat more durable than a dinghy?..... look for the following:
- Sport boats may be made of PVC or Hypalon. (there is lots of debate over which fabric is tougher so this point may not help you)
- The fabric weigh - often expressed in denier or decitex - the bigger the number the tougher the fabric
- If the boat is PVC it should have welded tube seams. This is an important point for longevity! If a dealer claims their glued seams last just a long as welded seams, ask to see a 10 year old PVC boat with glued seams to prove it:-).
- Floor boards in sport boats are sectional floors. The floors can be made of wood but aluminum is even better for strength and durability. (inflatable floors are starting to appear in larger boats, but inflatable boat reviews reveal inflatable floors are not as durable, their performance is not as good as sectional floors, and motor ratings will be lower compared to the same boat with a wood or aluminum floor)
- Transoms are glued in with fabric by hand. No plastic transom mounts here! (this is another important point for me - boats with fabric mounted transoms generally have higher engine hp ratings for a reason)
- Inflatable boats that I would put in the sport boat class are in the size range 11'6"/3.5m to 16'/4.9m (so if you are buying the largest model of a line of boats that starts at 6'/1.8m, you are buying a light duty dinghy)
- These boats are heavier than a comparable size light duty boat, the weight of a sport boat 14ft/4m will be 200lb/90kg or more.
Some white label and OEM manufactured boat brands offer boats they claim to be "heavy duty". Even though you will be able to find inflatable boat reviews that support this claim, I fail to see what makes them "heavy duty".
On closer examination you will see the construction is much the same as their other boats classed as light duty dinghies.
Hmmmmm..... something smells fishy here!
While I know these OEM and white label boats are not true heavy duty boats, it is possible that they could fit in with the more durable "sport boat" group rather than the light duty "dinghy" group.
I still don't like the plastic transom mounts they are just not as durable, and the engine hp ratings will be lower, but..... it may still be a great boat.
Continue reading about the true heavy duty boats
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