Buying A Used Inflatable Boat
A Smart Choice - Or A Dumb Mistake

Our first boat was a used inflatable boat.

It was what got me started learning about inflatables and enjoying inflatables.

It looked in amazingly good condition.

But it had some issues that the unknowledgable buyer (me) did not know about, and in all honesty the seller had no idea either!

I quickly learned that the age factor of my used inflatable boat(the boat was over 30 years old) created an unknown risk - glue failure.


We had three little boys under 6 years old at the time and there was no way I wanted to risk that!

With a 30 year old, hand glued, Hypalon boat you need to accept that the whole thing could come unglued any day.... and.... you would be smart to stay close to shore!

There are a number of things to examine and find out when looking at a used boat:

  1. the age of the boat
    • the life span of an inflatable boat is rarely more than 10-15 years, often much less!
  2. the history of the boat
    • how was this used boat stored?
    • where was it used?

  3. the tubes on the boat
    • is the material damaged by sun?
    • are there multiple patches or pin hole leaks?
    • has the boat been painted?
  4. the transom on the boat
    • look carefully where the transom is attached to the tubes.
  5. the floor in the boat
    • does the floor function properly?
    • Are there signs of excessive wear?
  6. rigid hull
    • examine the rigid hull as you would a traditional boat
  7. motor
    • motors should be checked by a reliable mechanic.

There are a number of brands of inflatable boats that you will find on the used market that are no longer being manufactured:

  • Air Concept
  • Beaufort
  • BoatUS - manufactured by Ris Sportnautik
  • Calypso
  • Dunlop
  • Dynous - manufactured by Toyo tire company
  • Eclipse
  • Flatacraft - British RIB manufacturer
  • Gladding Float-Pac
  • Mad Dog
  • Metzeler - German brand with many original designs
  • Momentum
  • Naiad - Australian
  • Norlantic
  • Orca - Nanaimo, BC - looks like they received one shipment of boats from Weihai Star Marine Production co. ltd. Another short lived company!
  • Pro Advantage
  • Radhial
  • Rendova
  • RFD
  • Riken
  • Sea Nomad - Australian company
  • Seaworthy - manufactured by Ris Sportnautik
  • Semperit
  • Shark
  • Tinker - formerly made by Henshaw in UK
  • Tohatsu - manufactured on contract for UK market
  • Wild Thing

I would hesitate before buying a used white label product, especially the brands that only existed for a short time as internet based companies like Shark.

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