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Inflatable tender advice

Discussion in 'General Sportfish Discussion' started by MSviking, Aug 29, 2012.

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  1. MSviking

    MSviking New Member

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    OB Alabama
    I own a 54 Viking Convertible. Two or three times a year I really want a small tender capable of holding 3-4 people to run short distances from shallow anchorages to the beach or dock. I don't want a davit or anything permanent on the bow. All my boating is in the northern Gulf of Mexico in mild temps.

    Majority of the time the tender would be stored off the boat in storage, except for the few trips each year to specific locations.

    I see so many options, roll up, wood floor, inflatable floor, Hypalon etc.. Anyone have any good advice on a stowable tender for such a situation.

    Thanks
    Robert
  2. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    We used to keep a Quicksilver AirDeck 310 aboard the 42' for the rare times it was needed. It had a decent V at the bow and the inflatable floor is easier rather than bits of plywood. Hyperlon is more expensive than PVC but better for wear resistance and UV, which is not really your concern here.

    The West Advisor: Inflatable Boats

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  3. aviator4512

    aviator4512 Member

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    Well seeing as you don't have a swim platform which rules that type of mount out, your only option is something light enough to lift over the bowrail. I'm not sure how many people you plan on having to help you out, but wrangling an inflatable by yourself can be a challenge sometimes (take it from someone who has dropped an outboard in the water while taking it off a dinghy at the dock).

    We have always used an inflatable and find the Achilles to be one of the better brands, although there are probably a few brands that would suit your needs. If you are to inflate the dinghy before leaving the dock, then something with a soft bottom that is lightweight (50+/- lbs) would be best so you can lift it over the bowrail for tie-down or vice versa. If you have a battery-powered air pump, and can store the inflatable somewhere, I would look for one that has a roll-up/sturdier "floor" for easier boarding/ride. That way you don't have the weight issue of having to lift the dink out of the water.
  4. MSviking

    MSviking New Member

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    thanks for the advice, I definitely don't see myself taking it over the bow rail. I have a pump onboard and would inflate/deflate onsite. Just can't seem to figure out what size or floor type is best?

    Thanks again
    Robert
  5. chesapeake46

    chesapeake46 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    We have a 9 foot inflatable with the inflatable floor similar to that which Fishtigua has posted.
    We use it the way you have described.
    Brigg is the brand I chose. It has an inflatable keel also.
    It weighs 80 Lbs which is pretty easy to lift for me.
    I keep in on the bow, tied down, bottom up.
    We use a 5 Hp Merc which is not very fast but very reliable.
    I chose the smaller motor for the ability to store it under my rear deck and also it's lighter weight. I do have a swim platform.
    This boat has two, removable seats that we use when we have more than my wife & I.
    It seats 4 adults pretty well, nothing scarey.
    If my wife & I go Spelunking we leave the seats out and lounge on the inflatable floor.
    I don't use it in congested ( lotsa boat traffic ) areas or rough water, only for short commutes and quiet exploring.

    Any boat THAT small makes you REALLY aware of bigger boats around you and they are ALL bigger.

    Also the electric pump is the cats meow over the foot pump
    Be sureit hascheck valves on the fill valves to make it easy to inflate and a drain hole in the stern.

    Finally as Fish said the hyperlon is better especially if you will beach it much.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  6. chesapeake46

    chesapeake46 Senior Member

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    oh yeah........bigger ain't always better

    As for size, get what you can physically manage and will inflate well on your rear deck.
  7. aviator4512

    aviator4512 Member

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    Check out the Achilles LSR models. They have a roll-up aluminum floor which is a nice feature. Like I mentioned before, it's nice to have the added stability when getting in and out - particularly after you've had a few drinks ;)
  8. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Location:
    Gold Coast Australia
    Here is an inflatable from NZ which might be worth a look.
    Being a cat design it seems to offer more stability, plus I like the idea of being able to get aboard easier after a dive etc.
    Check out the “Takacat Lite”.
    I can’t vouch or give a reference as I have never used one, but am in the process of looking for a lightweight tender myself so this is on my research list.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVL7s83XXBw&feature=player_embedded
    HOME - Takacat.com
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    You want the inflatable floor for what you're doing. The wood floor is a pain in the butt to take out and put in while you are sitting in it, if you have to swim platform.

    I took care of a 12' brigg and it was a well made tender and cheap......
  10. aviator4512

    aviator4512 Member

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    CaptJ,

    I agree with you on the wood floor, however, there are a couple of different manufacturers which make lightweight, sturdy flooring via other materials - ie. my post above which outlines the roll-up aluminum floor.
  11. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

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    It really is a matter of preference, set up on the larger boat, and intended use:

    I have done everything from tow a 13 whaler, to the wood floor, to the RIB, to roll up, to the air deck.

    I did tow the whaler up to 22kts behind the boat without much difficulty. I forget exactly at what speed it started to go nutz back there but If I remember correctly it tracked pretty decent 18-20kts.
    The whaler is a great tender and can do just about anything.
    The limitations (for me at the time) were it was too big and heavy to put on deck, the towing, and i had to tie the whaler tight to the bow when maneuvering into a slip.

    The wood deck was ok, but the wood required maintenance and was a total PIA to clean and take apart (beach sand and muck works it way beneath the floor and needs to be cleaned out).

    I also had (and still have) a RIB. That was and is ok, but its limitations are weight, requires a lift, and cant be easilly stored, or turned over on the bow.

    I also had (and still have) a small roll up. I found this to be just too small and the floor feels strange with the slats and fabric being the only floor. The main advantage is that it rolls up into a bag smaller than a hockey bag and can be stored just about anywhere. Another negative, is that it is extremely limited in just how much HP you can safely put on it.

    My current tender is a larger air deck. for me and my use this seems to work out the best. I can lift the boat myself (without a lift) and turn it over on deck, if necessary. also it is light enough to use as a tender with a small light weight two stroke or it can handle a 15 hp engine for tubeing or knee boarding. I can also deflate and store in the boat house or garage if a storm is coming.

    I have lots of friends that will only use theire full size RIBs with the 25-40hp 4 stroke engines. Those boats all weight at least 600 pounds. They do handle and drive like small boats, but they can be a PIA with weight, storage, and sometimes struggle with the lifts. sooner or later the lift will go down at the wrong time......They are almost like having a 13 whaler but with the added disadvantage of being an inflatable


    One more thing, this is just my suggestion....I recommend going with the grey fabric over the white. the white looks so much better when new but once it starts to fade and get stained it looks like you know what.....
  12. MSviking

    MSviking New Member

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    Thanks to all for the helpful information. Looking like a air floor would be best for my needs.

    Thanks
    Robert

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