From Personal Belly Boats to High Performance Racers - An Overview of Inflatable Boats
Inflatable boats, also called rubber boats or dinghies, have been around in one form or another for thousands of years. They now come in many different sizes and models and include inflatable kayaks, sport boats, and inflatable catamarans. Their versatility and relatively low cost have contributed to their popularity, and more and more water enthusiasts are discovering the advantages of owing an inflatable boat.
Evolution of the Inflatable Boat
Historical records indicate that the first inflatable boats were animal skins filled with air. Over the years, many cultures have created various versions of inflatable watercraft, and in 1839, the Duke of Wellington tested the first inflatable pontoons. In the decades that followed, many new designs were introduced and some of them were utilized by European military forces.
The inflatable boats were used to transport torpedoes and other cargo. They also allowed troops to make discreet landings in shallow water, and their compact size and storability made them easy to bring with, even on overland marches where it would not have been possible to bring a traditional boat.
One of the models, the Zodiac, grew to be very popular with the military and contributed significantly to the rise of the civilian inflatable boat industry, both in Europe and in the United States. After World War II, surplus inflatable boats were sold to the public and the general population had a chance to experience how easy and enjoyable these boats can be.
Since then, inflatable kayaks, sailing inflatables, inflatable canoes, sport boats, and belly boats have been added to the mix. Some inflatable boats run 45 feet in length or more and may include inboard steering, luxury features, and even full cabins. Inflatable boats have evolved so much that today, the only thing inflatable on some boats is the collar around the perimeter gunwales of the deck.
Hull Designs & Types of Inflatable Boats
Inflatable boats come in rigid hull design and soft-bottom style. Soft-bottom boats have floors made of fabric and slats (usually wood) running across the beam. This design is generally found in smaller inflatables ranging from about 6 to 8 feet in length only.
Rigid hulls, or RIBs, were introduced in 1967 by Tony Lee-Elliott and advanced by Admiral Hoare and the Atlantic College in Wales. As opposed to soft-bottom boats, which have a fabric hull with inflatable or wood keels, RIBs have hard fiberglass or aluminum hulls and large, inflatable tubes. This allows for a combination of the best features from both types of boats.
Some RIBs incorporate the V-shaped bow similar to that of a traditional boat. This design consists of a separate inflation tube running the length of the boat beneath the floorboards. Once inflated, it pushes the floor materials down to form the V-shape that helps in steering. The flotation collars on many RIBs are removable, making them easier to store and to clean.
RIBs typically range from 10 to 30 feet in length and are propelled by either by an outboard motor or an inboard motor turning a water jet or z-drive. They were first used as lifeboats in 1970, and later as dinghies or tenders on larger pleasure yachts. Many of today's sport boats used for fishing and water skiing are made with RIB designs.
Inflatable Sport Boats
Inflatable sport boats generally describe recreational boats that are used for fishing, water skiing, and other activities where a motor is required. Depending on the size of the craft, an inflatable sport boat can be used with a motor that generates up to 40 units of horsepower They can be deflated and packed away for easy transport or used with a trailer to avoid having to inflate at each use. Inflatable sport boats typically cost much less than their traditional counterparts and, because they are lighter, use much less gas.
Several companies also make high performance inflatable boats that are used for racing, rescue, and other activities where speed is essential. These high performance boats generally have additional inflation tubes that lift the boat up off the water and create additional hydroplaning effects. They typically use larger motors, sometimes up to 400 horsepower. Because of their speed they are more difficult to navigate and require an experienced captain.
Inflatable Canoes, Kayaks, and Other Personal Watercraft
On the flip side are the inflatable canoes and kayaks that rely on human power and are used by one or two people at a time. These watercraft often look similar to their traditional counterparts, but have inflatable bodies, making them much lighter and easier to transport. They are often less expensive as well.
In more recent years, inflatable sailboats and inflatable catamarans also have been introduced. They usually range from 12 to 14 feet in length and, like inflatable canoes and kayaks, only accommodate one or two people.
Belly boats are yet another category of inflatable personal watercraft. These floats are sometimes called pontoon boats, but are not to be confused with the large, flat-bottomed craft often seen carrying large numbers of people on area lakes. Belly boats were specifically designed to be used for fishing and often look like floating donuts with a seat. Some may have two small pontoons with a seating area suspended between. Most are less than eight feet long and have room for just one person.
Falling in between inflatable kayaks and other personal watercraft and the larger sport and performance boats are the Yacht Tenders. These are typically inflatable boats that range in length from 6 feet to 20 feet and, as the name implies, they are often used as lifeboats and runabouts on larger vessels. Yacht tenders can also be used for fishing, general boating, river rafting, and other activities where a motor is not essential. Many tenders can be paired with a small electric motor if needed.
These categories of inflatable boats provide a general overview of the choices available. There are many variations and unique designs within these categories. In addition, some larger models of inflatable boats have inboard steering stations, cabin areas, and other features similar to traditional yachts.
As the inflatable boat industry continues to advance and grow in popularity, we are likely to see many new and innovative designs in the future, providing even more opportunities to find the inflatable boat that fits perfectly with your budget and boating needs.
About the Author:
Copyright 2005 Inflatable-Boats-N-Kayaks.com
Permission is granted to publish this article on your site only if the author's byline is included and all links are hyperlinked.
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Coast Guard responds to diesel spill after fishing boat catches fire - The Northwest Florida Daily News
Trout Species - Cutthroat Trout and Golden Trout
Cutthroat Trout: Cutthroat Trout are generally found only in high alpine lakes or in some selected areas of the Pacific Northwest.The Cutthroat Trout is the original trout of the Rocky Mountains.
The Low Down On Worms
We all know that plastic worms are one of the most productive lures there are, but did you know certain worms have special uses? I have a whole tackle box with nothing but plastic worms in it, hundreds of them!Here is what I use a certain worm for:Floating Worm..
Fishing on Your Pontoon Boat
Fishing on your pontoon boat can be both a relaxing and fun experience. Fishing from a pontoon boat can much more enjoyable than fishing on other smaller vessels.
Take a Kid Fishing
Take a kid fishing and they will learn to be successful in life. As an avid fisherman for over 30 years I have to look back on my life and consider it a success.
Get Ready For Bed....Bedding Bass That Is!
It's getting near the time bass will be on their beds. Not just any bass, but trophy size bass in Ohio.
Its Raining... Time to Go Fishing!
Ah, fishing in the rain. You may not like the rain, but the fish sure love it!You may not believe it, but you may catch more fish while it is raining.
Bass Fishing - Recreation or Obsession?
First of all, we need to look at the word ..
10 Fishing Gems
Fishing Gem #1 - When Is Best?If you are in a boat and plan to anchor and bottom fish, get out there before the sun goes down and set up .Over many years, it has been noticed that a good bite usually starts 2 hours before sunrise.
The Joys of Trout Fishing
The thrill of trout fishing! It is the best, isn't it? No matter where you plan to go trout fishing, you know you are more than likely going to enjoy your trip. The sport is a sport of its own, set aside from other types of fishing.
A Big Fish Story
Ketchikan, located in southeast Alaska, is a good place to fish for halibut. Sally and John Balch live in Ketchikan and have a favorite spot nearby to halibut fish.
Communications Equipment in the Wilderness
For Hunting, fishing, hiking, boating or cycling in all kinds of weatherCommunication in the wilderness is a matter of survival, as well as convenience. Before even leaving home, communications must begin.
Bass Fishing? Watch Out For the Gators!
Lakes in certain parts of the country contain more than something you want in your livewell. Alligators.
Hawaii Sport Fishing
If you're coming to experience Hawaii sport fishing, you have one heck of an adventure awaiting you! Anglers from all over the world journey to these deep blues waters teeming with trophy fish. This is where you come to get the big ones.
Chumming and Plankton Fish Catching Tips
In night fishing 95% of success is determined before your line is wet. It is recommended to start an evening feeding frenzy along the food chain with your big game fish as the final predator.
Fishing Team Gear Helps Teams Market To Sponsors
Competition between offshore and inshore anglers has skyrocketed within the last few years. As the competition increases, so does the need for fishing teams to differentiate themselves and stand out from other teams.
Stream Trout Fishing
Many people enjoy a nice, long fishing trip. Others enjoy fishing trips that take them to new places and new types of fishing.
Find and Catch More Fish, Quickly and Easily, with the FISHIN BUDDY 2255
"Wherever you like to fish-lakes, reservoirs, rivers or streams, you'll never have a fishing buddy who can spot fish as easy and as fast as a Bottom Line Fishing Buddy?."If you are fishing primarily in lakes I recommend the Bottom Line Fishing Buddy 2255 highly - it's a reasonably priced, good quality fish finder.
Erie Steelhead Flies
As we stated in our article on Pacific Steelhead flies, the steelhead fisheries of the Great Lakes region has developed differently. First off the Erie steelhead has only been around a little over a hundred years.
Dry Fly Techniques
Dry fly angling is at the top of any fly fisherman's list of fun fishing. The visual dry fly catch continues to excite many anglers as the best way to angle the fly.
Choosing Steelhead Gear
Steelhead GearLike many things in fly fishing you can ask 10 different fly anglers a single question and you'll get 10 different answers. Asking what steelhead rod one should use for fly fishing is no different.
|home | site map | Ocean Photography|