Consumer Product Reviews, Outdoor Recreation, Sports & Outdoors

Best Dinghy buying guide – Buying a Dinghy

Dinghies are the versatile helpers in all living conditions: to the pub in the harbor, to the baker for rolls. For shopping in the supermarket, or to the splendid beach in the bay: with a good dinghy you get almost everywhere, whether for fun or necessity. But there is an almost unmanageable number of different types, the question being: What is best for the individual purpose?


    • Purpose: Each boat is ideal for the purpose for which it was designed and built. This also applies to dinghies. If you are often traveling with a lot of luggage or a lot of people, you will pay more attention to space and stability than someone who is on the road alone to do some sports, explore bays and lagoons
    • Fuselage: you should decide before you buy, whether you want a boat with a fixed hull or a dinghy. Both have advantages and disadvantages, which must be weighed against one another.
    • Motor: to choose the perfect motor for your boat you can read how to choose the best trolling motor for the kayak.
    • Drive: There are many possibilities to move a dinghy through the water, where most boats are suitable for two types of the drive (e.g. rudders and engines)
    • Type of ground: Especially for inflatable outboard boats motor, there are different variants, all of which affect the stability, driving behavior and the space required for stowing the boat on board or in the winter storage
    • Driving license: the American lawmakers have been allowed to move boats with up to 15 hp of engine power without a driving license for several years. An argument that could be decisive for so many buyers.


Do not be tempted to sacrifice this important factor next to the storage space in favor of economy or compactness. Sure, you can also go back and forth more often, but one is gladly tried to take an additional passenger, even if the boat is already technically full. These are then these dangerously overloaded dinghies that can be seen in any harbor or bay on the water. 
In any case, less loaded dinghies are lighter and faster, often also drier and safer, no matter what propulsion you choose, engine or rudder. And if you’re worried about a problem with a little bigger dinghy, try not to let the air out, but to pump it out. This allows the boat to be folded and rolled very compact, which makes it easier to fit into the backrest.


With the dinghy, you are often exposed to the greatest risks. Statistically, the dinghy rides are more dangerous than blue water passages. Adequate stability and enough boost are therefore two very important criteria when choosing the tender. Hit and sink often go hand in hand. Inflatable boats are hard to beat in both respects, and sometimes also equipped with rigid inflatable dinghies. The boat dinghy from Walker Bay could also be retrofitted with an inflatable “collar,” which was attached to the trench and thus improved the stability. You should keep ready the safety equipment in your boat


Small boats with a repertoire of gliders are particularly appealing because you can travel longer distances between anchorage or muring and the port or beach in a short time. In most cases, petrol outboards of 2 to 10 hp are used, but more recently, more frequently, those which are operated electrically. The advantages are obvious: less maintenance, clean, quiet and light. Especially the last point is important because a light engine can be installed or dismantled more easily and thus also easier to protect against theft.

If you like to ride on a small vehicle, you might be flirting with the tiny Williams tenders, who have 25 knots and more with a jet engine. They fit on large sailing yachts even inflated into the rear garage, see, eg, Bavaria C57. However, the shadows should also be considered: larger engine, more fuel consumption and, of course, higher price for purchase and maintenance. Also, many smaller inflatable boats can only slip with low payloads, which makes the discussion almost again unnecessary.


You should not smile at that. A good pair of rudders can save you from some unpleasant situations, especially when the engine gives up the spirit and strong ebb current or blowing it offshore. A boat, which can also move well with muscle strength, deserves consideration. Especially boats with solid hull score points in this regard. But also a dinghy that is a number bigger than the absolute minimum you need can often be quite well rowed. Important: The shaft length of the supplied rudders is usually too short. It is necessary to have a rudder of at least 1.80 m, or even better, 2.40 m, to make the boat reasonable. Provided you have sufficient storage space.

In this case, inflatable boats should always be fully inflated, that is, to the maximum pressure recommended by the manufacturer, so that they do not waste a good portion of their muscular effort to distort the hoses, instead of rowing the boat forward. I can say that with my 2.9 m long Avon dinghy, I am about twice as fast as a 2.4 m long dinghy with the engine. If I am on my own, I am often faster. In the USA the following applies: Under 15 hp no driving license is required!


Inflatable boats are the popularity kings because versatile, stable and usually compact to jam when the air is out. But boats with fixed hulls are often easier to grow and more robust if you drive somewhere hard. Owners who have a tender on land and only need it to go out to the boat, which sits on a muring buoy, like to use robust and inexpensive rigid boats, because they have the baby. Do not have to take it on board and stow away. Bluewater softeners are often folded boats such as the Bananaboat because of their stability and the possibility to easily stow them on board or a so-called nesting dinghy, which is divided into two halves and thus also occupies little space on the deck.


This question has to be asked by inflatable boat buyers, since this decision has a direct effect on weight, pack size and water performance. Boats with rigid wooden or aluminum floor racks are stable, but also heavy and require more space during storage. Inflatable keels are a good compromise because they give the boat still a bit extra rigidity and take a lot less space when packing because there are no boards. A new eSpielart are the 3D keels, which are integrated into the side hoses and give the boat a little more V-shape, which makes it better and harder for Kinkel water. With more sprinting can be moved. The Rigid Bottom Inflatables, of course, are the best in this instead, that is, their hulls and submarine boats are made of GRP or aluminum. Such boats offer very good handling characteristics on waves and can be drawn without hesitation on sand or gravel beaches. However, they are much heavier and more elaborate because they can not be folded or rolled.


In the case of inflatable boats, there were essentially two hose materials: Hypalon and PVC. The first is a very resistant rubber, which is why the best material for inflatable boats, because robust and UV-resistant. It is also relatively uncomplicated to repair. Patch on it and good. These are the reasons why you can still see quite a few old Hypalon inflatable boats, which look impeccable and do their duty without mucking. The disadvantage: the material is relatively expensive, so it is used only with high-quality boats, but especially with large RIBs, which must be hard.

The slightly cheaper alternative is PVC, which is also quite resistant, especially if the seams are welded and not glued. However, PVC should be protected from the sun, which is not always practical or easy, especially in the Mediterranean and in the tropics, and it is much more complex to repair than Hypalon.


A small dinghy is, therefore, a valuable companion, with which short but important distances between country and boat are covered, no matter for which purpose. Unfortunately, these small companions, such as bicycles in a large city, are a coveted theft, which is why long-distance sails, which are particularly dependent on their dinghy, sometimes carry a second in a baking tray so that in case of fall no serious impairments of the sail operation and safety are to be accepted,


Let us admit it: many sailors, who are still so experienced, hardly care about the equipment of the dinghy, for example with suitable anchoring harness. But this is saved in the wrong place because when the outboard unhappily gives up its spirit and it blows offshore, or the tide is just running, an anchor is the last salvation before you are swept out of the bay or the harbor at sea. 

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