best yacht tender dinghy

Your Guide to Choosing the Best Yacht Tender

Your Guide to Choosing the Best Yacht Tender

A yacht tender is your ticket to freedom on the water. Once you drop anchor, it’s your ride to the fun and adventure that inspired you to buy a boat in the first place. Just imagine watersports, exploring, scuba diving, snorkeling and, of course, just relaxing in the warm sun!

Here’s a quick secret — your yacht tender is the most fun boat you’ll ever own.

We think a dinghy should not only reflect the beauty and precision of a yacht but also have the power and functionality to push fun to the limit. Is there any better way to celebrate dropping anchor than a cold drink and a zoom on the dinghy? Please, let us know if you find something.

Having the right tender lets you enjoy your boating experience to the fullest. There are a few things to consider when picking the best yacht tender for you, so we made this guide to help you through the process. We’ll go over:

  • The benefits of rigid inflatable boats
  • Pricing of small yacht tenders
  • How to pick the right dinghy
  • A brief overview of our models

There are lots of yacht tender options out there, and it’s essential to find the best one for you. Whether you’re looking for the best small boat or superyacht tender, we’ll give you the information you need to find the perfect dinghy for your life on the water. Read on to learn how to pick the perfect yacht tender.

The Benefits of Rigid Inflatable Boats

Rigid inflatable tenders have become the go-to choice for boaters. Here’s the deal.

Safety is always the first priority when you’re on the water. With the ever-changing conditions of an ocean environment, you need a tender that’s prepared to handle it all. There’s a reason the United States Coast Guard, military and police use rigid inflatable boats — they’re extremely seaworthy. The United States Navy describes rigid inflatables as extremely fast and buoyant. It employs them for Navy SEAL extractions and in intense ocean conditions.

Virtually unsinkable and super tough, rigid inflatable boats are hands-down the best choice for those who desire small yacht tenders.

What Do You Mean by Rigid Inflatable Boat?

Commonly called a RIB, a rigid inflatable boat has a hard hull and inflatable tubes for sides. This construction gives rigid inflatables the best of two worlds — they have the indestructible v-hull and tracking of a hard boat and the shock absorption of an inflatable boat. They’re as hardy as they are versatile. For example, we offer Navy-tough tenders with beautiful European craftsmanship that you can’t find anywhere else.

Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat

In addition to their durability, RIBs offer many other advantages. Here are a few more reasons why RIBs represent a smart investment.

RIBs Provide Stability

In a rigid inflatable tender, there’s little risk of tipping over because the inflatable tube and hard hull combination provide excellent stability, which is great for loading and unloading your family and your toys.

Also, the inflatable tubes significantly increase a tender’s capacity rating, meaning you can safely fit more passengers and gear on a RIB than on a hard dinghy. Known as the “Safe Working Load,” or SWL, this capacity is detailed by the manufacturer. To calculate the maximum number of people who should be aboard a small vessel, multiply a vessel’s length by width and then divide the result by 15.

RIBs Demonstrate Impressive Efficiency

Inflatable dinghies are much lighter than hard tenders. Weighing less means they’re much more efficient, and you can pack in a lot more adventure with the same amount of gas. Skip the line at the fuel dock, and head straight into your day.

RIBs Have Exceptional Safety

A great benefit of having an inflatable tender is you don’t have to worry about damage to your luggage or your precious cargo. We all have all experienced that awkward misstep aboard boats. When everything and everyone is moving around in the ocean, you may have trouble not fumbling every once in a while. It’s much nicer to catch yourself on the cushioned tubes of an inflatable than on hard fiberglass — we’ve tested this one!

Inflatable Tender Benefits

When you’re going fast and having fun on the water, you don’t want to worry about safety. Knowing you’re in the safest dinghy lets you relax and focus on your adventure.

The United States Coast Guard has specific safety requirements for all recreational vessels. Adhering to these not only keeps your tender legal, but it also keeps you and your family safe. You can follow a simplified list of requirements.

It’s Easy to Use RIBs

For everyday boating operations, having an inflatable-sided dinghy is the best. You don’t have to deal with fenders or worry about all the bumps and nudges like on a hard tender.

Getting a spot at the dinghy dock often means playing bumper boats. If you have a dinghy with inflatable sides, you don’t damage other vessels, the dock, or your dinghy. Not to mention if you’re dropping someone off or tying up on your yacht, you can leave your dinghy unattended without worrying about damage to your boat.

Sometimes, it’s easier to tow your tender than it is to put it away — like if you’re changing to a nearby mooring or going to a secluded cove for the day. And unlike a hard tender, an inflatable can bounce off your yacht without damaging anything.

Anyone Can Maintain a RIB

Rigid inflatable boats need a lot less maintenance than hard tenders, partially because they’re less likely to get damaged in the first place. Inflatables don’t have fiberglass siding that can get cracks or holes, and their parts are easily replaceable. We offer replacement parts through our website and also have free online owners manuals for every model we carry.

RIBs are also much easier to keep clean than the scuff-prone fiberglass of hard tenders. The tubes are made of high-quality non-absorbent material that lets you easily wash off or wipe down your dinghy to keep it looking nice.

RIBs Are More Comfortable Than Hard Dinghies

Inflatable dinghies are bound to be more seaworthy than hard dinghies. The inflatable tubes absorb shock from wind waves and swell when you’re going fast, which gives you and your family a better ride.

Inflatable Boat Tubes

Did we mention inflatable dinghies are just more fun? The incredible stability of the inflatable sides makes climbing out of the water a lot easier. And when you’re ready to cool off, the tubing makes for the perfect diving platform. You and your family can literally bounce off the walls.

How to Pick the Right Dinghy for You

Basically, choosing the best yacht tender comes down to three things:

  • What tender your yacht can hold
  • How many people will be aboard your tender
  • How you’ll use your tender

Tender Sizing

Determining the right-sized tender for your yacht is an important decision. People sometimes go for the first inexpensive option they see, without realizing just how much time they’ll end up spending on their tender — but keep in mind, tenders are the unsung heroes of the boating world.

It depends on how you want to use your dinghy, of course, but a good rule of thumb is if you can go bigger, go bigger. You don’t want to overdo it, but people sometimes underestimate the size of the dinghy they’ll need and have to upgrade later. Leave yourself some extra leg room and you, your family and your guests, including loyal pets, will be happier in the long run.

Here’s what to consider when choosing the size of your tender.

What Size Dinghy Can Your Yacht Carry?

The size of your storage area is often a good indicator of how large your dinghy should be. If you’re not sure what size dinghy is best suited to your yacht, measure the tender storage area or contact your dealer — they will give you the specifications of your dinghy storage and a suitable range of tender sizes.

Dinghy Storage Area

Also, keep in mind what the type of storage area for a dinghy on your yacht. If you have a dedicated dinghy garage where it will be out of the way when not in use, you don’t have to worry about getting the maximum size. But if your dinghy storage is on a hydraulic swim step, keep in mind you’ll need enough room to function around the dinghy while it’s aboard.

How Many People Will Be Aboard Your Yacht Tender?

If your yacht has room for a lot of passengers, you’ll probably want a dinghy that can transport a lot of people, too. When you’re doing ship-to-shore transportation for you and your guests, you don’t want to make five trips to the dock and back. Choose a tender that can hold enough passengers and cargo.

Again, assuming you have enough room to store it, we recommend assessing your dinghy needs and then considering the next size up to leave room for any extra guests, luggage or toys you may want to bring along. Extra space not only helps you operate your dinghy more safely, but it also leaves room for comfort.

What’s the Purpose of Your Dinghy?

That’s easy — fun! Pick your pleasure.

Are you all about watersports and exploration? Water skiing and searching for secluded beaches to relax the day away or scuba diving on beautiful reefs? Or maybe you’re just looking for a stable and dry ride to shore to shop, dine and discover. Whatever it is you like to do, a proper tender gets you into the mix.

Once you decide how you want to use your dinghy, you’ll have a better idea of which one you’ll want. If you like watersports, maybe a model with a little more size and power will suit you. If you just want a comfortable, dry ride to shore, maybe you’d prefer a model that’s smaller and quiet.

By the way, kids love dinghies — it’s a fact. Inflatable dinghies are awesome for towing the kids around on inflatable water toys, and they’re also a great way to teach the young ones how to drive a boat. But be careful — you’ll be asking “permission to come aboard” before you know it.

A Step-by-Step Review of How to Pick Your Yacht Dinghy

Follow these five steps to ensure you pick your RIB correctly:

  • Determine the size of tender your boat can handle.
  • Estimate the number of passengers and how much gear you’ll carry.
  • Figure out how you want to use your tender.
  • Browse and pick your favorite model .
  • Hit the open seas.

Tender Pricing Vs. Quality

There are cheap dinghy options out there, but you often get what you pay for. A proper tender is not only a representation of your yacht but an integral part of your boating experience. The yacht may do the heavy lifting on a voyage, but the dinghy is your transportation once you’re on anchor or a mooring.

If you work hard to create a luxurious atmosphere on your yacht, you’ll want a dinghy that reflects the same attention to detail that you expect from a precision watercraft. Our tenders are all about functionality without sacrificing style. We know a quality dinghy is essential to your yacht — that’s why we don’t cut corners. We pride ourselves on using the latest technology with only the best materials and precision European craftsmanship.

What Dinghy Models Does BRIG USA Offer?

We manufacture all of our tenders in our 100,000-square-feet headquarters in Europe . A team of industry experts — including ex-military and aeronautical engineers — seasoned craftsmen and designers make sure that no detail is overlooked. We take pride in knowing we produce premium dinghies for amazing adventures around the world. We have a wide range of tenders to choose from to match your needs and preferences:

  • Our Falcon Tender series ranges from 9 feet 6 inches to 15 feet 10 inches and can carry four to nine people, or 500 to 2,645 pounds. This series is the smaller range of tenders that we offer, but make no mistake — they have the power to get the job done and look good doing it.
  • Our Navigator series is a step up in size from the Falcon series. They range from 15 feet 11 inches to 24 feet and can carry eight to 10 people, or 2,315 to 3,960 pounds. This line of tenders has increased size and range for bigger yachts and even more passengers, gear and good times.
  • The Eagle series is our flagship line. With unparalleled design and function, they range from 11 feet 2 inches all the way to 32 feet 6 inches and can carry from four to 20 people, or 1,320 to 6,173 pounds. On our larger models, you won’t feel like you’re on a dinghy — they have the capacity, range and comfort for a full day of fun with the whole gang. No joke — these tenders turn heads.

Who Makes the Best Rigid Inflatable Boats? Find Them at BRIG USA

Yes, we’re biased. But for good reason — our dealers have the largest inventory of inflatable boats in the United States and the best inflatable yacht tenders. No one matches our prices or quality.

We have several options for high-quality dinghies for your needs and your price point. We offer premium quality at competitive pricing.

No matter what you’re looking for, BRIG USA has the right tender for your yacht. Check out our models and get out on the water.

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Practical Boat Owner

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Best inflatable boat: 9 compact tenders put to the test

Robert Melotti

  • Robert Melotti
  • September 9, 2021

Rob Melotti and the PBO test team put some lightweight, portable inflatable dinghies through their paces in Lymington to find the best inflatable boat

Inflatables are everywhere: paddleboards , canoes, kayaks , tents, kites and wings – and inflatable boat technology has long been a practical option for tenders, RIBs, liferafts and lifejackets .

But what the ‘new wave’ of inflatable boats brings to the practical boating landscape is the air floor, which makes very stable, very lightweight tenders a very practical option for people with limited stowage ie owners of cruising boats under 30ft.

And the market has responded with a selection of offerings under 2.4m weighing under 20kg. So which is the best and what should you be looking for to get the most for your money?

We tested nine models sold by eight different brand names. The inflatable boats were superficially quite similar, but in the accumulation of small details it was possible to pick a few favourites.

We rowed and motored all of the inflatable boats solo, and most of them with two aboard. We weighed and measured them and found a lot to like.

What’s the best inflatable boat? 9 options tested

best-inflatable-boat-3d-twin-v-shape-230-air-deck-tender

3D Twin V Shape 230 Air Deck Tender was a good all-round performer – and best on test

3D Twin V Shape 230 Air deck tender

French manufacturer 3D Tender was one of the earliest producers of ultralight inflatable tenders. This model sports premium touches, such as davit rings and the most high-spec pump of all the inflatable boats on test.

In terms of convenience it is a rucksack carry bag with a large front pocket for the pump and accessories. The zips will need maintenance though.

best yacht tender dinghy

The V floor is a single chamber, keeping set-up time to a minimum and keeping the weight down. The lack of safety lines on the side makes carrying as a two-person team a little less convenient than some of the other inflatable boats, but the keel strip will help preserve this boat.

The rowlocks double as cleats and the rubbing strake will provide strength but little in the way of splashproofing for passengers.

Buy it now on oceanfirstmarine.co.uk

Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence.

best-inflatable-boat-force-4-02lite

Force 4 02Lite was the lightest on test

Force 4 02Lite

This model is very similar to the Seago Go Lite (also tested), including the rucksack, which was our favourite on test for carrying comfort, although you do have to beware of any loose objects inside the bag dropping out of the side enclosure flap.

best yacht tender dinghy

The Force 4 02Lite was the lightest package overall and packed down to just 90cm long.

The oars were the smallest on test, which affected the rowing performance, but it was the only inflatable boat with open rowlocks – so you can use your own oars.

The bench is adjustable, but I wasn’t able to position it far enough aft to brace my feet against the transom under oars.

There are three D-rings for making a towing bridle on the bow but no ergonomic carry handle.

The rubbing strake is minimal with no splash guard and there are no davit lifting eyes.

Buy it now on force4.co.uk

best yacht tender dinghy

Crewsaver Air Deck 230 is solidly built and joint cheapest, but is outclassed by 3D Tender’s lightweight V floor design

Crewsaver Air Deck 230

Best cheap inflatable boat

The pack we were sent for testing had the incorrect seat included, but we were able to substitute a seat from one of the other inflatable boats on test without difficulty.

The rucksack doesn’t have a front pocket, but there are no zips to corrode and the adjustable webbing buckles mean the top opening of the bag is quite forgiving for repacking.

The safety lines are robustly attached to the hull, which is a feature that will pay dividends long-term, but adds a bit of weight.

best yacht tender dinghy

The rubbing strake is also weighty, but the splash guards will keep water out of the boat.

The coned aft sponson caps are hard plastic, enabling vertical storage without damage and the rowlocks double as cleats.

There are davit rings in the bow and through the thick transom board, plus the bow handle is wide for ergonomic carrying.

Buy it now on crewsaver.com

best yacht tender dinghy

Excel Ventura SL200

From a Midlands-based company that specialises in inflatable boats, this came with a great double-action hand pump and was the only boat on test with an over-pressure valve – a useful feature for exposure to the hot sun.

The safety lines are sturdily attached and splash guards make up part of the rubbing strake protecting the sides and keeping water out of the boat.

The rowlocks double as cleats and the bow handle is wide enough for a proper grip.

best yacht tender dinghy

Excel Ventura SL200’s double action hand pump made short work of inflation

Davit fittings are supplied and the sponsons are shaped to add waterline length and buoyancy aft. The duffel carry bag was the sturdiest on test.

This inflatable boat comes with a good long set of oars, although we had to sit side-by-side to make any progress under oars with two adults on board.

Buy it now on excel-inflatables.co.uk

best yacht tender dinghy

Quicksilver was big – but also heavy

Quicksilver Tendy Airfloor 240

This boat has an inflatable keel as well as a removable inflatable floor. There was also a rigid slat athwartship between the floor and keel, which increases the weight overall.

best yacht tender dinghy

This is one of the priciest and heaviest inflatable boats on the test and one of the largest in packed dimensions.

It features a fuel tank strap, a decent keel strip to prevent damage on slipways, a decent bow carry handle and rowlock cleats.

The rubbing strake is quite meaty as well without being particularly splashproof.

The carry bag is very forgiving – opening flat like a groundsheet.

There were no carry handles on the sponsons and the safety rope fixings aren’t as solid as many of the other inflatable boats on test, although there are rowlock cleats and the seat is fully adjustable.

Buy it now on eBay

best yacht tender dinghy

Light weight makes for easy handling on land and in the water

Seago Go Lite 230

Seago is a distributor, supplying UK chandleries and there are similarities between this model and the 02Lite from Force 4.

This model is very light and compact – just 0.5kg heavier than Force 4, but packs down to the same 90cm length.

The oars are very short, but are fixed using a pin and thole system which some may prefer over the Force 4’s rowlocks.

The PVC material is described as 1100 Decitex (Force 4 is 800 Decitex) and the backpacks of the two were identical: comfortable to carry and forgiving to repack due to their large side aperture rather than a narrow top.

The rubbing strake is minimal and there is no ergonomic bow handle.

Buy it now on seagoyachting.co.uk

best yacht tender dinghy

YAM 200T is not rated for two adults

This 2m inflatable boat has a fixed seat and was unique on the test for having wooden slats to reinforce the floor. This means less pumping up, but slightly increased weight.

Like the 3D tender there is no safety rope so carrying between two crew involves spreading your arms wide from bow handle to stern handle placed on the sponsons. It is rated for one adult and one child – the smallest by rating on the test.

There is a hefty rubbing strake with raised levels to block spray and the rowlocks double as cleats. The oars are miniature and the bow has three D-rings for rigging a towing bridle but no ergonomic handle for carrying. With two adults aboard we would have been better rowing side by side – but it was no slouch under engine.

Buy it now on bhg-marine.co.uk

best yacht tender dinghy

The nicest boat on test to row

YAM 240 (STI) Air Floor Sport Tender

This is the most expensive model on test and features an inflatable keel as well as a floor section, plus two sponsons to inflate.

With that much to inflate a high quality pump would have been better, but there is a pressure gauge included in the package to get everything sufficiently firm.

The seat is fixed but the oars were nice and long, which made it the nicest boat to row. As with the YAM 200T there were no safety lines fitted and carry handles are spread far apart, which makes carrying more difficult.

But there is a good, ergonomic bow carry handle and the inflatable boat is rated to carry 400kg, the highest rating on test. The rowlocks double as cleats and the rounded aft end of the sponsons have protective, hard plastic caps.

best yacht tender dinghy

Smaller diameter sponsons means more space aboard – but less freeboard

Talamex Superlight SLA230

Talamex is a Dutch brand imported by EP Barrus. This inflatable boat had the narrowest diameter sponsons on test, which creates more internal space, but less freeboard.

It’s an extremely lightweight package, with a thin transom board, but nice long oars and a good carrying handle on the bow.

The pump supplied is a single-action hand pump and the bag folds out completely flat like a groundsheet, which is very forgiving for repacking.

best yacht tender dinghy

The bag has nice carrying handles on the narrow ends. The seat was massively adjustable and the rubbing strake is generous without offering very much splash guarding.

The safety rope attachments look a bit vulnerable and there are no other handles on the sponsons.

best yacht tender dinghy

Launching the Seago 320

Verdict: Which was the best inflatable boat on test?

This group of inflatable boats can be subdivided in a few different ways: by length, by price and by weight (note there is also a group of rucksack boats and a trio of air-keel boats).

I think the best on test goes to the 3D Tender, which manages to keep the weight down, comes complete with a very high-spec pump, a very user-friendly rucksack bag with a big front pocket and a ‘slight V form floor’ that inflates as a single chamber.

There are no safety lines or a bow handle, so carrying the boat when inflated is less natural than some of the others and it’s the second most expensive.

The best bargain buy is probably the lightest, smallest package: Force 4, for me, is preferable to the very similar Seago model because of its ‘open’ rowlocks. But if you prefer captive oars, the Seago is slightly cheaper.

The Crewsaver is the same low price and probably more robust and seaworthy than the Force 4 or the Seago while being easier to carry when inflated than the 3D Tender. But without the V floor I think it’s a less versatile performer.

I didn’t see the benefit of the two 200cm dinghies we tested: both were noticeably small in use without being smaller to pack and stow or lighter to carry.

The 240cm V Floor models can carry bigger loads at greater speed, but if you really need that level of performance you have to accept the extra set-up time, weight and stowage.

Best inflatable boats – key facts and figures

What makes the best inflatable boat for you?

best-inflatable-boat-bag

Rucksack bags were easiest to carry

The bag details matter when one of the main selling points of a product is its portability. We looked at handles, zips and overall design. Metal zips will corrode without a regular rinse in fresh water, but as long as the zipper track is plastic, then replacement zipper trucks can be fitted relatively cheaply.

Carry handles at the narrow ends are very useful and half of the inflatable boats tested can be carried as rucksacks. A few of the boats pack away in bags that deconstruct on all four sides like groundsheets, with webbing straps and adjustable buckles crossways and lengthways.

These are very forgiving and yet still pack up tightly and securely. We also looked at the quality of the bag material: is the bag likely to survive chafing, stretching, damp or UV exposure for as long as the dinghy itself?

best-inflatable-boat-weighing

We weighed each of the inflatable boats in their carry bags and found quite a variation in boat weights

Size, weight and price

Our facts table will quickly show you the lightest and smallest packs and there are four tenders priced under £500.

The two longest inflatable boats in the test (YAM 240 and Quicksilver 240) were in the biggest bags (110cm and 120cm respectively), and were the heaviest packs weighing over 20kg even without any accessories.

Only three of the nine tested boats weighed in at under 20kg straight out of the box. There was an 11kg difference between the lightest (Force 4 02Lite) and the heaviest (Quicksilver Tendy Airfloor 240).

The Force 4 comes in a rucksack bag that is 20cm shorter in length than the Quicksilver and over £100 cheaper.

But unless size, weight and price are your only criteria, then a simple numerical comparison could miss some important details.

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Pumps and pressure

Some of the air floors are rated for 1psi; others at 11psi. Most of the sponsons were rated at 3.6psi, which shouldn’t require too much brow mopping for foot- or hand-pump operators.

Five of the inflatable boats came with foot pumps, but the double-action hand pumps with the 3D and the Quicksilver were a joy to use.

best-inflatable-boat-launching

All the boats were easily carried by two when inflated

Manual handling

It’s an ironic linguistic quirk that a tender should be so regularly treated without much tenderness. Even a few hours’ use on a clean slipway incurred scuffs, dings, grubby marks and a few minor tears to the carry bags.

Grass is far kinder than concrete for inflating, but is in short supply at busy locations. We looked at keel strips, rubbing strakes, safety line attachment points, bow handles and more… including the relationship between price, weight and fit-out.

First published in the September 2021 issue of Practical Boat Owner.

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The Best Tenders for Yachts in 2024

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Tenders in a nutshell

A tender is a boat that services a larger vessel (referred to as the mothership ). It can take many forms and deliver a wide range of conveniences.

Historically called ‘ship’s boats, ‘ tenders have supported large vessels for centuries. They have been used for guest transfers, refuge boats, landing crafts, stowed on deck or towed astern—little has changed! 

Whilst the vast majority of tenders employed by smaller yachts are typically rigid inflatable boats, the modern-day superyacht considers a multitude of vessels indispensable.

Hull categories

We’ve been specialising in building boat tenders for over a decade, yet with such a degree of cross-over and with a seemingly endless request for custom configurations, categorising tenders remains a challenge.

Nonetheless, at the top-most level, we categorise all tenders under one of the following three hull types:

Fully Inflatable A lightweight vessel relying solely on inflation for buoyancy. 

Rigid Inflatable A vessel with a hull constructed from rigid materials such as aluminium or fibreglass, supported with an inflatable or foam collar for added buoyancy in high seas. 

Rigid   A fully rigid hull without a buoyancy collar of any type.

Tender sub-categories

In addition to hull type, we can identify most yacht tenders under the following sub-categories:

⌾ Open ⌾ Chase ⌾ Classic ⌾ Foil ⌾ Catamaran ⌾ Dive

Compass Tenders for Superyachts

What is an open tender?

An open tender is principally a single-deck boat with no enclosed cabin. Chiefly a guest transfer boat with ample seating both forward and aft, open tenders are day boats without accommodation above or below deck.

While we see many open tenders dedicated to guest transfers, by their very nature, they can also incorporate centre console boats, some dive boats, landing crafts, and even limousines.

An olive green chase boat carving through the ocean with a woman on the bow

What is a chase tender?

As the name suggests, a chase tender—which can also be an open tender—follows the mothership.

Chase boats can take on many guises since their main attribute is size. As a result, they are generally not stored on board but instead towed astern.

Often very angular in design, with excellent seaworthiness, chase boats need to be able to withstand the rigours of being towed by the mothership. Whilst a lot of large chase tenders can be operated entirely independently, towing very long distances (such as transatlantic) is not advised.

Riva Classiche

What is a classic tender?

Tenders with the hallmark of classic design are styled with an exquisite, continuous line from the head to the heel.

Echoing the lacquered freeboards of a Riva Ariston or the flawless veneers of a Hinckley picnic boat, a modern classic from the likes of J Craft or Wajer will feature a gracefully tapered form, avoiding right angles altogether.

A small boat hydrofoiling across the ocean

What is a foiling tender?

Combining thrust with lift (as an aeroplane does), high-speed tenders have the opportunity also to become airborne.

Less drag, higher speeds and lower energy consumption are the key advantages, although from a guest comfort perspective, being elevated above a big swell scores very highly.

Linx 30 Catamaran Tender

What is a catamaran tender?

Largely associated with utility boats, catamaran tenders (not to be confused with catamaran sailboats) present superyacht owners with a number of major advantages over their mono-hulled counterparts.

Favoured as a utility vessel, a twin-hulled catamaran can be built much wider than an equivalent-length vessel with a mono hull. It offers increased stability and, therefore, a more comfortable ride in bigger seas. Thanks to a smaller surface area, there’s also less drag, which results in faster speeds and higher efficiency.

ROAM Adventure RIBs

What is a dive tender?

We build tenders optimised specifically for scuba diving, however, given the range of crossover in the market, the likes of amphibious boats, beachlanders, some centre consoles, landing crafts, open tenders, RIBs and utility boats can also work perfectly well for diving.

Storage, floor space and, most importantly, the convenience of easy access to the water are key attributes of a versatile dive boat tender.

Hodgdon Beachlander Tender

The right tender for the job

So far we’ve categorised our tenders — now to define which tender is best suited to which scenario.

Amphibious Tender

✓ Rigid ✓ Rigid Inflatable ✓ Open ✓ Chase ✓ Tow or stow

Sharp stones, steep drop-offs, inclement weather, and changing tides needn’t worry your crew when you have the luxury of an amphibious tender. Visit almost any secluded cove or spit with virtually no risk of becoming stranded or beached.

Go where other boats simply wouldn’t dare, landing on shorelines in rough breaks and on rugged terrain. Be sure to do your homework, though, as most beaches and marinas will require permission to stroll out the sea on an amphibious tender.

A man is throwing a ball to a boat on the beach, while tending to the yacht.

Beachlander Tender

We are all about time spent on the water, but the sensation of stepping off a tender onto the warm sand is in itself a joy to behold. We don’t mean clambering over the side of a rib and bouncing awkwardly into the shallows. We mean stepping from a dry boat onto dry sand.

Whether you intend to spend the day in your swimmers or are off for an island excursion, getting wet feet before you begin should be a choice. 

We offer a beachlander option on all of our aluminium rigid inflatable boats .

Hodgdon Crossover Beachlander

Classic Daysailer

✓ Rigid ✓ Open ✓ Classic ✓ Stow

Strip back the layers of modernity that clothe large motor yachts and delve into a tactile sailing experience with a classic daysailer.   Built a short distance upriver from SYTT, the Spirit R30 is a daysailer that marries cinematic elegance with unparalleled craftsmanship.    Born from the same yard that graced the silver screen in iconic Bond films such as Casino Royale  and No Time To Die , this 9.2m yacht epitomises timelessness with its exquisite wooden construction.    Small sailing boats like the R30 can be de-rigged and stowed, nestled within a yacht’s garage or gracefully perched on deck.

A white boat with two motors, ideal as tenders for yachts, glides gracefully in the water.

Center Console

✓ Rigid ✓ Open ✓ Chase ✓ Tow or stow

Synonymous with the Florida Keys, the traditional centre console (or center console in the US), is typically a single-deck boat with the helm in the middle.

Geared towards recreational fishing, the centre console maximises the floor space while, crucially, allowing for full access around all sides of the boat. On smaller boats, seating is often sacrificed for floor space, while larger centre consoles fitted with cabins creep into the Sports Fisher sector.

Not intended to be an especially dry boat, both crew and guests are often exposed to the elements. The upshot is that centre consoles and, more so, sports fishers, tend to offer huge power, which is especially useful for long day trips from the mainland.

HCB Center Console Boat

High-performance

‘Go-fast’ boats, as the name suggests, are built exclusively for speed. More commonly known as ‘cigarette boats’ due to their shape, go-fast boats are not for the faint-hearted. 

A craze immortalised by the Cigarette Racing Team, modern-day cigar boats can achieve speeds of over 100 knots. Largely impractical as a conventional superyacht tender, the range of high-performance boats have thankfully branched more into Centre Consoles. In turn, this presents superyacht owners with a high-performance chase boat of an almost unimaginable spec.

Cigarette Boat Tirranna Hardtop

Landing Craft

✓ Rigid ✓ Rigid Inflatable ✓ Inflatable ✓ Open ✓ Chase ✓ Catamaran ✓ Dive ✓ Tow or stow

A vessel with a very military feel, a landing craft tender is designed to carry everything, including vehicles, from yacht to shore. 

With our ROAM Landing Craft, a button-operated super-strength bow ramp enables drive-on, drive-off capabilities, ideal for disembarking heavy items where lifting facilities are not available at shore.

Our landing crafts are built with a catamaran hull for enhanced stability. We also manufacture high-quality fold-up motorised boats.

Landing Craft Dark Blue Central Console

Limousine Tender

✓ Rigid ✓ Open ✓ Classic ✓ Foil ✓ Stow

Surely the ultimate statement of sophistication — the limousine tender is the pinnacle mode of guest transfer.

A range of 6-14m and accommodating up to eighteen guests in consummate luxury, a fully enclosed guest cabin will often mirror the furnishings of the mothership.

Compass Tender with Mothership

Picnic Boat

✓ Rigid ✓ Chase ✓ Classic ✓ Stow

If leisure cruising and lunching were your only pursuit, you’d surely have a picnic boat. The quintessential day cruiser, a picnic boat is unequivocally designed for rest and relaxation on the water.

Inspired by the lobster boats of Maine, where the sloping rails from bow to stern made it easier for lobstermen to haul in their traps, the symbolic Picnic Boat represents everything exciting and romantic about a day out on the water.

Hinckley Yachts Picnic Boat

Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB)

✓ Rigid Inflatable ✓ Open ✓ Dive ✓ Tow or stow

The workhorse tender of any yacht is the Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB). Robust, versatile, and highly manoeuvrable, RIBs typically offer speed, buoyancy, and good handling on high seas. 

A foam or inflatable collar provides extra buoyancy in the event of taking on water, while in the case of RIB boats —which have a high deadrise—also acts as a spray rail for keeping the deck dry. Popular with superyachts, RIBs can be towed or stowed and used for a wide range of purposes.

ROAM 8 Adenture RIB for sale

✓ Rigid ✓ Open ✓ Dive ✓ Stow

Nothing allows us to explore an affinity with water quite like the experience of wakeboarding, wake surfing and water skiing.

We specialise in wake boat customisation, supplying specifically to superyachts.

Woman wakeboarding on a Nautique S25

SOLAS Rescue Tender

✓ Rigid Inflatable ✓ Inflatable ✓ Stow

In accordance with the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), all ships over 500GT (typically 50m+) must carry at least one fully compliant SOLAS Rescue Vessel (and a complement of life rafts). The rescue vessel must be stowed onboard and cannot be towed astern or located on a support vessel.

SOLAS Rescue Vessels must be able to carry five seated persons and a person lying on a stretcher. They must also have an automatic self-righting capability and the engine must be restartable following a capsize. Stable in a seaway (and deployable when the mothership is doing 5 knots), rescue boats may be either rigid or inflated and need to be operable in water that is 1-30°C. They also need to be able to start in -30°C air temperature.

First adopted in 1914, the SOLAS Convention was initiated as a direct response to the Titanic disaster. The Convention in use today is often referred to as the “SOLAS, 1974, as amended”. 

For any help and advice relating to SOLAS requirements, contact our team who have a depth of knowledge on the subject.

SOLAS Lifeboats

✓ Rigid ✓ Stow Unlike a SOLAS Rescue Vessel that can be inflatable or rigid hull, a lifeboat must have the latter.

Painted bright orange—or Pantone 144—a lifeboat can have a LOA no less than 7.3m.

Pascoe SOLAS For Sale 01

Sports Fisher

✓ Rigid ✓ Tow

A close relative of both the Central Console and High-performance categories, a Sports Fisher is a dedicated recreational fishing boat. Despite the wide range of boats within this category, the Flybridge Sports Fisher is the most synonymous with the name. 

Large boats, often up to 25m, the archetypal fisher is perfectly suited to lengthy, deep-sea fishing trips. Typically built with berths, heads, a galley and a tower (perhaps even a live bait tank, too), a Sports Fsher is for serious big game fishing enthusiasts.

It’s quite a commitment for a superyacht when a large open or utility tender with rod holders would probably be just as effective if big game fishing was less of a priority.

HCB Sports Fisher

Utility Tender

✓ Rigid Inflatable ✓ Inflatable ✓ Open ✓ Chase ✓ Catamaran ✓ Dive ✓ Tow or stow

A utility tender is the most versatile boat on the list. Ticking almost every box, a utility boat is somewhat open to interpretation. As much an entire category as it is an individual tender, a utility boat could easily take the form of a landing craft or open RIB.

Both promote an open deck space and satisfy the needs of crew in all manner of tasks, including the general movement of equipment and vehicles, refuge and provision runs, and guest and crew transfers.

ROAM Landing Craft Deck

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The ultimate tender test

We review 10 inflatable dinghies on the market to see which one would make the ultimate tender

Dinghy design has moved on from the old, heavy lumps just about good enough to carry you a few yards ashore.

Modern inflatables roll up small enough for one person to lift aboard and stow in a locker, but they can just as easily leave the mother ship for a bit of extra-curricular harbour exploration.

And with the right size outboard, inflatable tenders can give you lots of planing fun.

For this feature, the Motor Boats Monthly team has tested 14 inflatables from 10 manufacturers to see how they performed.

All the tenders are approximately 9ft long and weigh between 30-45kg.

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We inflated them, carried them, rowed them and powered them with either a 4hp or – where their rated power allowed it – a 5hp outboard.

Read on for the full results of all 10 dinghies tested:

Sunsport AIB265

Sunsport AIB265 | The ultimate tender test | Motor Boats Monthly |

The AIB has an inflatable keel and a flat inflated floor, although when pumped up, it actually rose in a slight inverted vee.

It has three tube compartments, and two in the floor, which all have to be inflated in the right order and to the correct pressure.

Short grab ropes are fitted on each side, but there are none across the bow. The drain bung can only be reached from outside the boat as the floor gets in the way inside. There are no transom rings or davit lifting points.

This dinghy was simple to row as it sat lower in the water and the flatter floor made it easy to move around.

Under power the AIB planed with the 2.5hp and one light person aboard. With the 5hp the dinghy reached 13mph one up, and even faster at 15mph with two aboard, but the seat was sited too far forward.

Vital stats

At 31kg this tender is easy to carry but the packed dimensions were on the long side, with an average girth. Folding the tubes in tighter might improve this.

At £715 it is one of the most reasonable tenders on test, due to less material in the floor, and has a two-year warranty.

Contact: www.barrus.co.uk 01869 363636

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Lightweight Catamaran Yacht Tender - 4

True Kit Navigator - Lightweight Catamaran Yacht Tender

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We are boaties too, so we know that inflatable tenders are the workhorses of the boat world, and that knowledge was key to ensuring that the True Kit Navigator is purpose-designed to be the best lightweight dinghy tender on the market. 

Our Navigator has been designed to do the job across all modes. It effortlessly moves people and gear from ship to shore, carries a good load, and you can step in and out of the Navigator with confidence thanks to amazing stability. Lift it onto your swim platform or haul it up the beach and marvel at how light the Navigator is; you and a child can easily carry it beyond the high tide mark. Many of our customers are also pleasantly surprised at the rowing and towing capabilities of the Navigators - we aren’t - we designed them that way!  

* One of the lightest inflatable dinghies that are made

* More stable than anything you have tried before - so easy to board from the swim platform of your yacht

* Huge buoyancy and carrying capacity

* Super portable design, folds up into a bag

* Sits flat on the deck or the beach (perfect for beach landings)

* Just minutes to set up or pack-down

* Tunnel-hull catamaran design efficiency means only small outboard needed

* Original New Zealand design by True Kit

* The ultimate lightweight tender dinghy

* Perfect for caravans and camping

* Low wake, great for coaching and support of water sports

* Great for fishing and diving

* NZ Railblaza RibPorts for oars and rod holders

* Quality aluminium lock-in seats

* 2 Piece Aluminium Oars

* External d-rings for towing

* Internal d-rings for lifting and securing gear

* 4 Separate air chambers (3 tubes + 1 floor)

* Stow-away oar holders (these boats row well)

* All Navigators are Cool Grey colour

WHAT'S IN THE BOX?  - Boat, floor, Aluminium Seat(s), 2-piece Aluminium Oars, 2 Boat Bags, True Kit Hand Pump, Repair Kit

* Premium German-made Valmex® fabric

* Precision thermo-welded seams

* Ultra rigid AirDeck with Valmex® diamond non-slip surface

Imagine a tender that is so light even the kids can carry or wheel it up and down the beach... let us introduce our True Kit Navigator.  Through tireless design, testing and refinement our best-selling tender offers a great solution for those tired of the back-breaking effort most tenders involve.  The secret is not just in the weight either, the catamaran tunnel-hull design offers 2 unique advantages over everything else - stunning performance and stand-on-the-tube stability.  The oversized tubes and generous beam provides the Navigator with the stability and safety that is important when you head out on the water. 

What else makes the Navigator so popular?  They sit flat on the deck of your yacht (no paintwork damage) or the beach.  They produce minimal wake which makes them ideal as a coach/support vessel for water sports like rowing, kayaking, sailing and swimming.  With their huge carrying capacity you can really load the Navigators up with all your gear.  They row well and tow well too.  These folding inflatable boats pack away into a bag that will fit almost anywhere.

More About the Navigator

The Navigator handles all these tasks with ease, and the incredible stability that is immediately apparent the first time you step into the Navigator is central to this performance flexibility. With its catamaran, wide-beam design there is none of that tippy feeling you expect from a small dinghy. The Navigator sits steady on the water, so you can climb in and out with the reassuring confidence you have a secure platform under you. The catamaran design also means the boat will sit flat on your foredeck without the need to build a cradle.

Weight is a big issue when it comes to tender dinghies. Heavy boats are back-breaking work to move up the beach on an incoming tide, or to lift up onto the foredeck or swim platform. Our Navigators are firmly in the lightweight category and can be lifted by one to two people with ease. This lack of excess weight also aids great performance when you are zipping around the bay.

Our Navigators are so rigid when they are set up that many people forget that they can be packed away in minutes and stored in the smallest of spaces. This can be useful when you are heading offshore or wish to store the dinghy safely for the winter months. This also makes our Navigators a popular choice for those road-bound enthusiasts who choose to live their adventures from a caravan or RV. Don’t let the adventure end when you pull up to your favourite beach or lake, unpack your Navigator and keep exploring!

As with all True Kit boats, quality is not compromised. Premium-grade Valmex® fabric is combined with thermo-welded seams for lasting durability. The boats come with aluminium bench seats and clip-in/clip-out oars utilising top quality Raiblaza Ribport mounts. Plus, they are packed with features you will only really appreciate in use; details like the spray-shedding rubbing strip, anti-slip Valmex® floor grip, Shut-off scupper valve and lifting D-rings really come into their own when you’re out in the water.

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Customer reviews.

Very happy with the quality of both build and design. I’m looking forward to many years of fun and service from this tender. Highly recommend to of the pile product!!

We wanted a tender for our hybrid boat that would run well with an electric outboard. True Kit found me on social media and impressed with innovation and responsive sales support. Our new navigator arrived a week after ordering and was easy to set up and inflate the first time. Looking forward to her taking us ashore.

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The Best Tenders for Yachts 2024

If you’re looking for reviews of the best tenders for yachts, then you’ve come to the right place!  Unfortunately for us (and fortunately for you!), we’ve had our fair share of tenders for our sailboat, and after many requests, we’ve finally gotten around to comparing them for you! 

Dinghies are essential for cruising sailboats.  They’re your car: your ticket onto land when you live at anchor, your way to adventure in shallower waters, and they can even be used to help maneuver your sailboat in a pinch. 

the best tenders for yachts

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You will need a dinghy that can carry your shopping, heavier boat equipment, or suitcases, and yet you will still want it to be light enough to row in the (pretty likely!) event that your outboard fails on you.

The best tenders for yachts have to fulfill a whole range of criteria and will partly be dictated by your own personal needs.  We’ve done a lot of research into this topic after some bad experiences, so here’s everything we found out about the perfect tender for a yacht.

Jump To in the Best Tenders for Yachts

Features of the best tenders for yachts

Rugged and hard-wearing

Light and easy to stow.

  • Performance

Different types of yacht tender

How to pick the right tender

Getting the most out of your tender

Essential gear for your tender

Features Of The Best Tenders For Yachts

a tender for yachts sitting in crystal clear blue waters

The best tenders for yachts have certain features in common, regardless of your intended usage.  Considering these factors will help you make the best choice when it comes to choosing a tender for your sailboat.

a sailboat dinghy floating in the sea

No matter your intended cruising, you’re going to want a tender that is going to last.  There is nothing worse than spending a fortune on something that only lasts a year, leaving you with another expensive bill and the hassle and inconvenience of sourcing something new.

Choose wisely now, and you should be able to find a dinghy that will stand the test of time and requires little maintenance—always a bonus when you live on a boat!

Consider your choice of materials carefully, thinking about things like UV exposure, and whether you intend on using the tender for harbour runs only, or whether you’ll need a hull you can drag up stony beaches.

an inflatable tender for yachts being towed behind a sailboat

No matter how big your sailboat or how strong your crew, saving weight is always a priority.  If you are looking for a tender for a boat with davits then you might be able to opt for something slightly heavier, but if you’re after a dinghy for a smaller sailboat then you’ll want something easy to stow on deck or even down below.

Lighter tenders are easier to pull up the beach as well, so consider how you intend on using your dinghy before you splash out.

The performance of the best tenders for yachts

a man diving off a yacht tender into the sea

You might not need your tender to win any races but consider how well it will perform in rougher seas or going long distances.  You want a tender for your yacht that can withstand being caught out in bad weather.

You might also want to think about how well your tender can be rowed, as we all know how unreliable outboards can be!

The comfort factor of your sailboat tender

a man relaxing on his tender for yachts

Although you probably won’t be spending huge amounts of time in your tender, it’s still important to have something practical for your needs. 

If you plan to have small children in your tender, consider how comfortable and safe it will be in choppy seas.  

If you know you’ll be motoring for longer periods of time, do you want your tender to have sun protection?  Do you need a locker to stow essentials?  Do you need space for luggage and shopping?  Will you want proper seats in your tender?

Different Types of Tenders for Your Yacht

the best tenders for yachts lying on the beach

These days there is a huge choice of tenders out there, so you’ll have to take a while to consider which kind will best suit your needs.  Everyone has an opinion about the best kind of tender for a cruising sailboat.  Ultimately it comes down to what you intend to use your tender for and what kind of sailboat you have.

We’ve summarised the options for you below to help you make an informed decision!

Rigid Inflatable Boats

a RIB tender for a sailing yacht

Rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) are probably the type of tender for sailboats that you’ll see most commonly when you’re out on the water.  They are not to be confused with soft inflatable boats (detailed below).

The hard hull of a RIB makes it much more hard-wearing and durable.  You can drag them up the beach or hit the bottom without fear of deflating them, and they are much more stable in choppy seas.  They often have some inbuilt storage space and designated seating.

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The downside of RIB tenders is that they are much heavier than soft inflatable boats, making them harder to launch or pull ashore.  They are also considerably more expensive.

As you’d assume, there are tonnes of designs out there, from fancy in-built steering RIBs to those with different shaped hulls for different purposes, and RIBs made from different materials.  What you choose will be determined by purpose and price.

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Soft Inflatable Tenders for sailboats

a soft inflatable yacht tender

Soft inflatable boats (SIBs) are fully inflatable and therefore fully deflatable!  This makes them an attractive option for people with smaller sailboats with little room to stow away a tender, or sailors that want to minimise weight. 

SIBs are also a lot cheaper than any other tender option, so they are a great choice for anyone who doesn’t sail regularly or uses their tender for short trips.

Some downsides to having a SIB as your yacht tender is that they are much less durable than other options.  The soft flooring means you need to be more careful about grounding, and they are prone to flipping at high speeds.  They are less comfortable than RIBs as they sit much closer to the water.

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Solid dingies

two sailboat dinghies

Fully solid dinghies are far less common, but you do see them.  They come in a range of different materials such as fiberglass, plastic, and wood.

The advantages to having a hard tender are that most are easier to maintain yourself and therefore more durable, they tend to be easier to row, and many can be used with sails (see below).  As they tend to be less popular, you can often find good deals on second-hand solid dinghies.

However, they are less popular for a reason.  They tend to be less stable (depending on hull shape), and there’s a certain amount of skill involved in using them.  They are much harder to stow and are often heavier than alternative options.  You will also need to consider the fact that they can bash up against hulls and make sure they are fendered up accordingly.

Sailing tenders

a sailing tender for yachts being launched

These seem like a great idea, and we’ve often been tempted ourselves, but they do come with all the downsides listed above.  The great thing about being able to sail your tender is that you could save a lot on fuel, but as we tend to row a lot anyway the trade-off of having more things to maintain has never felt worth it.  They look like a lot of fun though!

Alternative options

a soft inflatable dinghy for a sailboat

Some cruisers rely purely on canoes or paddleboards to reach the shore, and while this certainly is cheaper, it isn’t always practical. 

We love having the option of using our kayak to reach shore on a calm day, but we would never trust it in big seas or high winds.  We could end up stuck on shore away from our sailboat, or even worse, get into trouble trying to get back.

Unless you are really experienced and know you can be safe out on the water in big seas and winds, then stick to something you can power up more effectively!

How to Pick the Right Tender for Your Yacht

a sailboat towing a dinghy

Here are some questions to consider before choosing the best tender for your yacht.  These factors are personal and will differ from person to person, so you might want to spend some time considering your own needs before splashing out on a potentially expensive bit of kit for your boat!

What will you use your tender for?

a yacht tender on a sandbank

The use of your tender will have a knock-on effect on the decisions you make about the right one for you.  Make sure you consider things like:

  • Where you plan on sailing (this will affect material choice)
  • How many passengers you’ll need to carry
  • The distances you’ll be travelling
  • How often you’ll use a tender (frequency of sails, time spent at anchor)
  • The types of trips you’ll make.  For example, heading off on a day-long diving trip will require a lot more ‘luggage’, and you might want to consider sun protection
  • How you will stow your tender while underway
  • Where you will dock your tender

What’s your budget?

a sailboat dinghy on an island in greece

Another big consideration when choosing the right tender for you is the cost.  You can buy super expensive tenders that come with all the bells and whistles, or you can find cheaper tenders that will serve a purpose for now.  Your budget will help determine what kind of tender to opt for.

The size of your yacht

If you don’t have room for a larger dinghy, then it doesn’t matter how many guests you want to take to shore.  You’re going to be constrained to a certain size and weight.  Inflatable tenders might be the best option for people looking to maximise storage space on their yacht.

Getting The Most From Your Sailboat Tender

a white tender for yachts attached to a cleat

We’ve put together some top tips for helping you to get the most from your new tender.

Tender painters for the best tenders for yachts

Here’s a top tip so you don’t end up in the same situation as us!  Equip your new tender with two painters.  One painter for your tender is not enough!

When towing your dinghy, or even just securing it to your boat in a windy anchorage, two painters will ensure you don’t lose your dinghy if a line snaps or a knot works loose.

All things davits

a sailboat tender on davits

We’ve heard so many stories of davit failures leading to lost dinghies in rough weather.  Make sure you have diagonal straps on your tender to stop it swinging side to side, and make sure those straps are strong!

You should also always leave the plug open on your tender when it’s up on davits.  That way, if waves splash into the tender, it will still drain and won’t put extra strain on the davits.

Oh outboards

three tenders for yachts moored up on a pontoon

Unfortunately, you’re also going to need a reliable way to power your dinghy, especially if you plan on using it for anything other than short trips to shore.  Outboards are notoriously unreliable, and our experience with them has been the same as most others we talk to—a complete pain in the bottom!

Sadly though, you’re almost certainly going to need one.  We’ll cover outboards in a separate article, but here is a brief summary of your options:

Consider how much power you really need.  Outboards with greater horsepower will give you the ability to go faster and farther but are also more expensive and heavier.  Water-cooled engines tend to be quieter than the air-cooled kind.

You can choose from four-stroke and two-stroke engines.  Four-stroke engines are kinder to the environment, and you can’t buy two-stroke engines anymore here in Europe, so if you’re after a two-stroke you will have to find one second-hand.

The other option is to go electric.  We are desperate for an electric outboard , so if we decide to splash out then we’ll let you know how we get on!  If anyone reading this has experience with an electric outboard we would love to hear your opinions—and recommendations!—below. 

The downside to electric outboards is the price.  There is also some debate about whether they are capable of going long distances yet, with some suggesting that the technology isn’t quite there yet.

Shop fuel driven outboards here

Shop electric outboards here

Dinghy chaps for the best tenders for yachts

one of the best tenders for yachts with dinghy chaps

Dinghy chaps are the fabric covers you see on the PVC tubes of a tender.  If you plan to use your yacht tender in tropical climates, then you’re going to want to protect it from the UV rays that will quickly cause PVC to degrade.

Dinghy chaps will also help to protect your tender from scrapes and cuts above the rub rail, as can so often happen when you’re climbing out against a rough town quay or harbour wall. You can make your own dinghy chaps if you’re handy with a sewing machine, or you can get them custom made.  Just make sure you use a durable fabric like Sunbrella to give them maximum protection!

Essential Gear for the Best Tenders for Yachts

oars on a sailboat tender

Oars: In our opinion, oars are an essential bit of kit for your dinghy.  We use our oars all the time for shorter trips to shore, or for squeezing into fishing bays where a mess of mooring lines present a risk of being caught in the outboard.  

We’ve also had to row on several occasions when the outboard has (predictably) stopped working.

Life jackets:  Just as when you’re out on the water sailing, life jackets are an important piece of gear for your yacht tender too.  It’s all too common for accidents to happen out on the water, and a life jacket is a vital bit of life-saving kit that you shouldn’t be without.

Anchor:   We’ve had several different types of anchor for our dinghy over the years and found we liked the oversized Delta style best, but that was for anchoring in sand where we could really dig it in.  

Crab claw anchors that fold away tend to be the most popular choice of dinghy anchors, as you can stow them away easily.  We haven’t had much luck with ours as we find it hard to set and a little unreliable!

one of the best tenders for yachts

Navigation lights: Every country has slightly different regulations when it comes to navigation lights for a tender.  Our advice would be to make sure you always check the country you’re using your tender in, and have at least an all-round white light everywhere you go as a matter of safety.  

We heard a horrible story about someone navigating just a short distance without one, so we make sure we always have an all-round white light visible even when we’re only required to use torchlight.

Water pump/bailer: This isn’t necessary but it’s so useful !  Seaspray or rainwater can quickly leave a nice puddle of water in the dinghy, so having something on hand to keep it dry is always a bonus!

Other useful tender gear: If you have a locker in your dinghy, you might also want to consider carrying a dry bag or two, a torch, a multitool, a spare kill cord key for the outboard, and a handheld VHF .

a red tender on the beach

Hopefully that’s given you some ideas about the best tenders for yachts.  If you’re still feeling ‘at sea’ when it comes to buying a yacht tender then feel free to reach out to us with your questions in the comments section below.  

If you found this article useful then join our mailing list and follow us on social media for more sailing and cruising tips and inspiration!  Thanks for reading!

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The Best Inflatable Tender Boats for Your Vessel

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It takes a lot of research to figure out the best inflatable tender boats that will get you from point A to B in a safe and quick manner.

Tender boats have been useful for water transport, especially when coming to and from shore. They often serve dual purposes for bigger yachts and ships. You can use them as a transport yacht tender or inflatable safety boats for search and rescue missions or other emergencies.

The new catamaran models are worth checking out. The current designs are stable and make for some of the best tender boats due to their versatility. Here are the best tender boats you can use for your next adventure.

6 Best Inflatable Tender Boats Reviewed

  • Takacat 300 LX Portable Tender
  • Zodiac Cadet Tender Boat
  • Newport Vessels 8 Ft. Dana
  • Bris Fish Hunter
  • Sports Boats Killer Whale Model 330 
  • Seamax Ocean 380

1. Takacat 300 LX Portable Tender

best yacht tender dinghy

Takacat is innovation, safety, versatility, durability, and convenience crafted into one revolutionary inflatable boat. It has an open bow seating and open transom design to optimize the boat’s comfort, convenience, and high-quality power.

Takacat 300LX, like their other models, maintains stability from stopped to top speed due to its premium Catamaran hull design, making it a top contender as the best tender boat.

The small size of the Takacat LX series makes it ideal and perfect for an excursion in secret water coves or shore and seaside destinations. One of the best and most admirable things about this portable tender is its easy roll-up design that allows quick setup and storage.

Despite its lightweight design, you and your buddies can board with your gear, as this sailing tender has a large load-carrying capacity. Rain and dripping divers have nothing on this boat as it has a raised deck space to allow the water to flow continuously. This helps the boat and the people stay dry.

The Takacat cruisers are confident that this is one of the, if not The best inflatable tender boats that provide resistance to damage by abrasion, UV radiation, puncture, and other factors due to its durable and high premium quality materials.

2. Zodiac Cadet Tender Boat

Zodiac Cadet boasts a compact design that allows easy storage and carrying options. It features a tube with progressive-diameter buoyancy for the improved stability of the inflatable boat. 

The float is welded and glued overlappingly for closure to guarantee cruisers’ safety and prolong the boat’s lifespan. You have the option to choose your preferred floor for your convenience. 

Aero models feature H2P inflatable floors, which makes them comfortable and lighter. All series feature an inflatable keel for rapid planing and improved maneuvering of the tender boat. It is easily transported as stowage is simple and lightweight, fitted into a carrying bag.

3. Newport Vessels 8 Ft. Dana

The Newport sailing dinghy has denier specialty coated PVC and marine wood deck flooring. Suitable as an inflatable tender. It uses quality materials and an extra layer of polyester for storage flexibility.

Newport Vessels Dana can also be used as an inflatable fishing boat or a small runabout dinghy boat, as they offer stability and maneuverability at high speeds. If speed and performance are the features you want, Dana’s motor setup can reach 15-20 mph speeds.

They are lightweight enough to be dragged up on shore, run into docks, and durable enough to keep up with boating wear and tear. 

4. Bris Fish Hunter

Another lightweight tender boat you can have is the Bris Fish Hunter. It ensures durability with its double-layered PVC fabric tubes and aluminum floorboard. Water activities can be fun with this tender boat as it is lightweight, easy to use, and super stable.

Fishing with 4-5 people can be done with Bris Fish Hunter, with its weight and seating capacity of 1675 lbs. It features heat-welded seams that guarantee durability in freshwater, saltwater, and extreme humidity. It has a heavy-duty sectional aluminum floor and a corrosion-proof swim platform perfect for boaters who love doing water sports activities. 

5. Sports Boats Killer Whale Model 330 

This model has a contoured sleek white design engineered for buoyancy and faster planning at takeoff. Sailors on this inflatable dinghy consider it to resemble a whale with the way it works on the water.

It makes boating a killer with its reinforced PVC material is resistant to UV, oil, and punctures. This inflatable boat has extended rear pontoons and transom area for more weight and a bigger motor while maintaining stability.

Convenience is a feature of this model as it is lighter and easier to clean with its easy-slide solid aluminum floor and seats. You can board this boat with two people or five as it has a weight capacity of 1268 lbs. 

6. Seamax Ocean 380

Another inflatable boat used as a tender boat for yachts and bigger ships is the Seamax Ocean 380. It features a marine-grade PVC-coated fabric for its construction. The boat has heavy-duty lifelines around the entire dinghy, backed by a secondary on one inside.

The heavy-duty design has a reinforced keel, transom, and pontoon bottom. It also features a non-skid floor system with side joiners, a fuel tank, and a battery box. This product ensures stability, convenience, and quality yacht tender, perfect for fishing, hunting, and commercial use. 

How to Set Up Inflatable Tenders

Setting up your inflatable tender is relatively easy. Especially with Takacat, it shouldn’t take longer than 15-20 minutes of your time to have this yacht tender up and running for your water adventure. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on setting up your inflatable tender for a convenient trip to and fro shore or exploring enclosed water spaces.

  • Unroll the tubes from side to side
  • Unfold the tubes from end to end
  • At the back of the craft, locate inflation valves
  • Inflate tubes to 3 PSI or 22.5 KPA (electric pump)
  • Insert the tube transom while using water to lubricate the tube
  • Attach black velcro straps around the tube transom 
  • Then, insert the top tube transom while still using water for lubrication
  • Slot a small motor mount board on the inside of the tube transom
  • Attach the backboard using bolt/ washers or eye nut
  • For the air deck floor, unfold it and position 
  • Slot D rings on-air deck floor through fabric floor layer (for LX series)
  • Connect the floor D rings using a webbing strap
  • Bow-located inflation valve, inflate air deck floor to 10 PSI or 65 KPA (electric pump)
  • Double-check if it is in the correct floor position
  • Then, inflate the float seat to 3 PSI or 22.5 KPA (electric pump)
  • Put the quick-release wheels in the up-and-down position to check 
  • Fix the oars into position
  • Enjoy a ride with your inflatable tender boat.

YouTube video

How to Clean Inflatable Tenders

Inflatables should withstand the harshness of the water. But like any other fishing essentials, they need to be well-taken care of to extend their lifespan. Always rinse and clean your tender free of dirt, sand, salt, sunscreen, and whatnot at the end of each use.

Use fresh water to rinse off the boat’s outside and inside. If there are any scrapes, it’s best to use a proper non-abrasive boat cleaning solution immediately.

To avoid mildew and mold formation from your tender boat, dry it properly after rinsing. To do this, let the water drain out from your boat by turning it over, then use a towel to wipe it dry.

Use another dry towel to soak the water between the floor and side tubes. You may use the sun’s heat to dry your boat, but don’t let it out in the sun too long. 

Insider Advice

It’s good to come prepared for emergencies when out to the water with your best yacht tenders. But nothing beats preventing them and learning how to be safe. The California-approved boating safety courses will help you stay safe on your yacht tender while having the good fun it brings.

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Yacht Cruising Lifestyle

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Choosing the Best Dinghy for Your Boat

January 7, 2021 by Travis Turgeon 5 Comments

inflatable dinghy anchoring sea

At anchor, a dinghy boat serves as your lifeline to everything from leisurely excursions to provisioning trips. Every captain or crew will use their dinghy differently, so it’s essential to consider what features and functions are important to you.

Do you plan to explore remote areas away from anchor? Do you plan to fish, snorkel, or dive from the dinghy? How many people will you need to carry at once? Every aspect should play into your decision.

Below, we cover the following to help you choose a dinghy that’s right for your boat:

  • Key Factors to Consider
  • Types of Dinghies
  • Outboard Motors

General Information and Tips

What should i consider before buying a dinghy for my boat.

dinghy sailboat storage

Make the following considerations before purchasing a dinghy for your boat: 

  • DInghy Storage 
  • Carrying Capacity
  • Use of the Vessel

Dinghy Storage

Storage should be a defining factor when purchasing a dinghy for your boat. There are several common ways to store a dinghy, but not all storage is suitable for every vessel. A rigid dinghy will need enough space to be tied on the deck or at the back of the boat, while you can stow an inflatable dinghy in lockers or lazarettes.

Regardless of where you choose to keep your dinghy on the boat, it should be in a location that does not reduce drag, restrict access to important areas, or prevent easy access for storage and use.

The most common options are:

  • Dinghy Davits
  • On-Deck 
  • Locker 

Davits: Permanently installed at the stern of the boat, davits are used to store, deploy, and retrieve your dinghy from the water. Davit storage is standard for any dinghy that’s too heavy to manually lift in and out of the water. Although storage on dinghy davits is convenient, it poses a risk when sailing through heavy seas. Large waves and wind can cause the dinghy to flood while in transit, and the weight can damage the stern of the boat or the davits.

On-Deck: Some people choose to tie the dinghy upside-down at the bow, stern, or side of the boat. For this to be an option, you need sufficient unused space on the deck, and you need to be sure that the dinghy is not interfering with any important pathway or area on the boat. 

Swim-Step: Boats with an elevated swim-step can accommodate a dinghy at the boat’s stern as long as it’s elevated far enough out of the water. Keep the dinghy tied aerodynamically and tilted so that it doesn’t fill with water. 

Locker: Roll-up inflatable dinghies are easily deployed and retrieved from the water by hand, and they can be deflated and stored in a locker anywhere onboard. 

Towed: For nearshore journeys in calm conditions, you can easily pull the dinghy behind your boat. Be careful, though, as high speeds and choppy seas can cause a dinghy to flip in the water.

Dinghy Carrying Capacity

If you’re sailing with multiple crew or passengers, you will want a dinghy that can carry the same amount of people. Making numerous trips from ship to shore will not only cost you time, but it will also run up fuel costs. Further, you’ll want extra room for luggage, provisions, recreational gear, and anything else that may find its way onto your boat. 

The handling in your dinghy can become problematic when loaded beyond capacity, so use caution – especially in rough seas. Safety should always be a top priority, so the goal is to aim for the biggest dinghy you can get without sacrificing too much storage space.  

Dinghy Material

Rigid dinghies are most commonly made of fiberglass or aluminum, but you can opt for a more classic wooden design as well. The material will partially dictate where the dinghy can be stored and the need for equipment such as dinghy davits. While fiberglass hulls are cheaper than aluminum, they also come with the burden of a heavier weight. Alternatively, aluminum hulls will outlast their fiberglass counterparts, but for a higher price. Overall, rigid dinghies can withstand wear-and-tear better than inflatables, although routine maintenance is required.

Inflatable dinghies are kept afloat using tubes surrounding the boat’s hull, commonly made of either PVC or CSE. CSE, or “Hypalon,” is a synthetic rubber material that is highly resistant to chemicals, UV light, extreme temperatures, and abrasion. CSE is a lot like PVC, but it’s lighter and has more UV and water-resistant properties. It’s also more abrasion resistant, making it ideal for taking to shore. CSE offers a longer service life and a more extended warranty, although again at a higher cost. The most common complaint you’ll hear about CSE is the rate at which the air escapes from the tubes. On average, CSE tubes lose about 15% of their air within 24 hours, while PVC loses under 7%.

PVC is an excellent alternative to the more durable CSE, as the material still offers a reasonable service life at a lower cost. PVC is also much lighter, more convenient to fold, and easier to clean than CSE. The biggest potential problem with PVC is simple neglect and lack of maintenance. If cared for properly, modern PVC materials can last long enough to justify not paying the higher costs for CSE. 

For some excellent tips on maintaining your inflatable dinghy, check out Sail Magazine’s Tender Choices article , here.

How You’ll Use The Dinghy

The last factor to consider is how you intend to use the vessel. Will you be traveling long distances from anchor? Exploring remote locations? How many people do you need to transport? Do you need special features to accommodate scuba diving and fishing? You should do as much research as you can to ensure that you’re buying a tender that suits your needs while staying within your budget. Below, we discuss the difference between each type of dinghy – and who each is best suited for.

Types of Dinghies 

Choosing the right type of dinghy for you and your boat will require some careful thought. Your dinghy is your primary source of transportation between journeys, and you’ll want to make sure that your purchase is fitting for your immediate and future needs.

The three most common types of dinghies are:

Rigid Boats

Inflatable boats, rigid inflatable boats (rib).

hard body dinghy pier

Hard-body (rigid) dinghies are among the simplest styles of tender, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Rigid dinghies are sufficient for those who don’t need to travel long distances or through rough conditions. However, more and more people are moving to inflatables or semi-inflatables for their wide range of abilities when needed. 

When considering if a rigid dinghy is right for you, think hard about the material each is built with. For the hull specifically, the materials will affect the price, durability, and cosmetics of the vessel, as well as the weight and ability to transport. Most rigid dinghies are constructed with fiberglass, aluminum, or wood and have a lower carrying capacity than inflatables. They also have less stability when entering, exiting, and moving through the water. 

Advantages:

  • Easily Propelled
  • Puncture Resistant
  • Outboard Compatible
  • Low-Cost Option
  • UV Resistant

Disadvantages:

  • Easily Scratched and Blemished
  • Adequate Storage Space Required

inflatable fishing dinghy lake

More popular than rigid dinghies and less popular than RIB’s, inflatables offer a good middle ground for those looking to compromise between cost and functionality. The large PVC or Polyurethane tubes in the front and sides of the boat are more stable than rigid vessels and allow for a higher carrying capacity due to their buoyancy. Compare those benefits with the low costs of materials, and it’s easy to see why inflatables are so popular. 

There are numerous variations of Inflatable dinghies, with the most common being:

  • Soft Bottom Roll-Up
  • Rigid Floor with Soft Bottom
  • Soft Bottom with Rigid Transom

Dinghies with soft bottom have the widest variance in configuration. Some have rigid transoms where an outboard motor can be mounted. Some have rigid, removable floors, and some have an inflatable keel that increases the vessel’s stability and planing abilities. Other than the lower-end inflatables, though, almost all will have stable floors and a captain’s seat. Rowing is difficult in rough conditions, so inflatables are most commonly used with a 5-10 horsepower outboard.

Roll-up inflatables are easily stored, don’t take up much space, and are the lightest of all inflatable options. They also have the least to offer in functionality, and since most don’t have a rigid transom, they must be rowed by hand. Unless you only plan to use the vessel in calm conditions, you should consider dinghies with hard floors and transoms. 

Soft bottom dinghies with rigid floors and transoms are more ideal, as they can be used efficiently in a wider variety of situations. The ability to mount an outboard allows you to use the vessel in harsher conditions and travel greater distances. The rigid floors allow you to use the vessel for fishing, diving, provisioning, and more without sacrificing stability and comfort. 

  • Lightest Option
  • Easily Compacted and Stored
  • Easily Damaged and Punctured 
  • Consistent Maintenance Required
  • Low Efficiency

rigid inflatable dinghy powerful

The RIB design is a cross between a soft bottom and rigid hull and gives you the most bang for your buck in the water. The hard-bodied hull makes for a stable and damage-resistant body, while the inflatable tubes add optimal stability. The RIB design is so efficient that it’s even used by the US Military and Coast Guard. The tradeoff you make with a RIB is portability and storage, as the hull can not be taken apart or broken down. However, this can be overlooked by carefully choosing a RIB that’s right for your boat. If you’re looking to outfit your boat for scuba diving , a RIB should be pretty much your only consideration for a tender.

Rigid Inflatable Dinghies are the most popular type of dinghy for cruising sailors, and it’s easy to see why. RIBs used as dinghies are commonly between 10 and 15-feet long, with anything larger being reserved for massive yachts with dinghy garages or excess storage space. RIBs are typically stored on davits or lashed upside down somewhere on the deck of the boat. For shorter trips near shore and in calm conditions, you can tow the RIB behind the boat.

Typically, RIBs are available with either aluminum or fiberglass hulls. Aluminum is lighter and stronger than fiberglass, although you should expect to see a price tag that matches those benefits. 

  • Optimal Speed, Handling, and Stability Rugged 
  • Limited Storage Options

Outboard Dinghy Motors

dinghy outboard motor lake

After choosing the dinghy that’s right for you and your vessel, you’ll need to select an outboard to fit. You’ll want something powerful enough to make the dinghy plane at full capacity but also light enough to transfer to and from the dinghy‘s transom. Before making a decision, check with the manufacturer to determine the recommended power output for your intended use. 

Generally speaking, fully inflatable dinghies that measure around 10-feet in length support a 5-8 horsepower outboard, which is sufficient for the basics. For a more capable inflatable, look for a 10-25 horsepower outboard. Just be cautious, as too much power can flip a lightweight dinghy. 

Similarly, a 10-foot RIB will support a heavier engine, such as a 10-15 horsepower outboard that provides enough power for the boat to plane while carrying more than one passenger. For more capability, look for an outboard in the 20-50 horsepower range.

Either way, you’ll need to decide your dinghy’s primary purpose and buy an outboard to support it.

If it’s simply used for trips to shore in calm conditions, a lower-powered outboard will likely be sufficient. The more power you can apply, the more capable your dinghy will become. Further, the maximum power output of the engine should always exceed the recommendations for operating the dinghy at full capacity. If you have a powerful outboard, you won’t have to worry as much about overworking the engine when the boat is full. 

When determining which motor is right for you, keep in mind the storage and transportation options you have. If you need to lift the dinghy and outboard out of the water manually, it might be safe to say that the lighter the outboard’s weight, the better. If your back can handle the extra weight, though, the 4-stroke engines are far better suited for things like water sports and rough surface conditions.

sailing rope safety equipment

Dinghy Excursion Checklist

  • Check inflation levels and make sure there is no water inside the boat. If there is, look for leaks or damage.
  • Ensure the boat is free of all loose lines, flags, or anything that could get caught in the boat propeller.
  • Check to make sure the outboard is appropriately and securely mounted to the transom. 
  • Quickly test both the forward and reverse gears to make sure everything is working as it should. 
  • Test the lights on the dinghy, even if it’s still light out. 
  • Check for paddles, lifejackets, first-aid kits, and dinghy repair kits.

Operating the Dinghy

  • When operating the dinghy alone, clip the emergency motor stop to your clothing. If you fall overboard, your motor will stop. 
  • Be cautious when using a powerful outboard. Too much power can cause a lightweight inflatable to flip or overturn. 
  • Bring the dinghy upwind when returning to your boat for a more controlled approach. 
  • Always use both front and rear-facing lights when operating the dinghy after dark.
  • When towing the dinghy behind your boat, experiment with the length of the tow rope to find the smoothest pull.
  • If there is any surf present, do not attempt to beach your dinghy.
  • Use a dinghy anchor if there are large tide changes, waves, or swells present.
  • Keep a dinghy repair kit on board at all times in case of small punctures or tears.
  • Dinghy covers reduce UV light exposure and prolong the life of the dinghy by up to five years.
  • Cosmetically, CSE doesn’t wear down for about 10 years. PVC begins to look rough after only a few.
  • Consider where you intend to use your dinghy. Will it be in locations with high swells, rocky shores, and cold water? If so, consider a more rugged and damage-resistant material.
  • Before purchasing a dinghy, visit a few boat shows, and read user reviews. You want to be comfortable making a purchase, and having first-hand resources to chat with is the best way to feel confident about your decision. 
  • Keep your dinghy insured separately in case of incidents that happen away from your yacht.
  • Dinghies and their outboard motors are common targets of theft, so be sure to lock up both whenever possible.

When choosing a dinghy for your cruising lifestyle, it’s important to know exactly how to buy a new or used boat  and what considerations should be prioritized. 

Join the #BoatLife community and contribute to our new forum! Get a new conversation started, or use your experience to address existing posts.

If you found this article helpful, please leave a comment below, share it on social media, and subscribe to our email list.

For direct questions and comments, shoot me an email at [email protected]

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Reader Interactions

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July 3, 2021 at 10:26 am

I have one for my canoe, my dinghy, and my power boat So, the next time you see a 5 year old boat in Seabridge marina in Ventura California, that looks brand new, it’s my boat.

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July 30, 2021 at 8:17 am

It is a great article and quite intresting to read too thanks for sharing such good information with us.

best yacht tender dinghy

August 1, 2021 at 4:15 pm

Thanks for reading, Cassey. We’re always here to help – don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments!

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December 14, 2021 at 2:08 pm

Travis – My name is Mark and I am a member of the Great Lakes Cruising Club. We’ve been around since 1934, we have 2,500 US & Canadian members and we are a volunteer driven organization. For the last twelve years we have operated an on-line school, the GLCCSchool.com. Annually we present 35-40 webinars and have an attendance of around 900 people. We really liked your article on dinghies and are wondering if you would consider turning that into a presentation for our school. If you have the slightest interest please check us out and send me an email so we can explore this further. Thanks.

' src=

January 23, 2022 at 2:27 pm

Thank you for all of the applicable information. I appreciate how the differences of each type of boat were well defined. This article was extremely helpful.

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  • Digital Edition

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Is your tender up to it? We test the F-Rib foldable RIB

Yachting World

  • January 4, 2017

Does the F-RIB really offer the rugged performance of a RIB while folding down as small as an inflatable? Bruce Jacobs of Rubicon 3 Adventures put it through a season's testing and the verdict is in...

best yacht tender dinghy

Product Overview

Overall rating:.

  • Compact size when folded
  • Easy to set up
  • Performs as well as any other RIB

Ocean sailors have long battled the dilemma of the tender: out at sea, it has no use and takes up valuable space, yet once you arrive at your next destination, you need it to head ashore or explore the coast.

Bluewater Sailing Techniques Part 10: the care and use of the ship’s dinghy.

A small inflatable rubber tender is all well and good – it takes up very little space when properly deflated and stowed away – but its limitations will become obvious once you have any significant distance to cover, or if you set off in anything more than a flat calm. In ideal conditions, an inflatable will get a couple of you to shore and back – just – but that’s about it.

We’d all love a RIB for the extra seaworthiness, speed and stability, but stowage on deck takes a lot of space and it’s just plain dangerous to have a RIB hanging from davits out at sea.

https://youtu.be/uHbTjL6Z4iM

Which is where the foldable F-RIB fits in. Designed by the Russian special forces, this piece of kit genuinely does it all. It’s a RIB that folds up.

The design is simple – and brilliant. The solid fibreglass floor is divided into three sections, all bonded to the inflatable tubes. Unfold them, making sure the tongue fits into the groove on each piece, and inflate the tubes. The air pressure alone holds the floor in place, but a couple of bolts give added security.

Ours is folded and lashed to the deck just in front of the mast. It takes about five minutes to unpack and inflate, using a 240V pump run off the inverter, and then we are off and running.

f-rib-on-test

Heading off on expeditions to wild and remote areas such as Greenland and Iceland, we need a tender that can handle a sea state and the F-RIB performs superbly. A lot of kit we buy promises the world and delivers a lot less. The F-RIB is an exception. If anything, it under-promises, and for ocean cruisers, this should be on your ‘find a way to get this’ list. Our only concern is that the Russian special forces are designing equipment this good!

The F-RIB comes in various sizes from 2.75m to 4.6m. Rubicon 3 uses the 3.6m with a 20hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard, a combination that has done very well.

f-rib-on-test-carrying-a-full-load

One of the best bits of kit we’ve bought. www.foldablerib.com

best yacht tender dinghy

  • Sports & Outdoors
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best yacht tender dinghy

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Newport 8ft 10in Dana Inflatable Sport Tender Dinghy Boat - 3 Person - 10 Horsepower - USCG Rated, White/Gray

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Newport 8ft 10in Dana Inflatable Sport Tender Dinghy Boat - 3 Person - 10 Horsepower - USCG Rated, White/Gray

8-Feet 10-Inch

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About this item.

  • WHY NEWPORT: The crisp white PVC fabric of a Newport dinghy will earn you regular compliments at the dock, and makes you easy to spot while flying across the water at 15-20mph (depending on model and horsepower). Inflatable tail tubes allow for great stability and quick take offs, while the inflatable keel allows for excellent planing and steering. Very portable and easy to assemble or disassemble in 10-15 minutes
  • FEATURES: Electric trolling motor compatible. 3-20hp Outboard Compatible (depending on model). Air Keel creates a shaped V hull for easy planing and improved steering. Sturdy carrying handles. 3x Stainless steel bow D-rings for towing. D-rings on bow/tail tubes for bimini and accessory attachments (not pictured). Self bailing transom drain valve. Easy grab rope plus splash guard around edge limits water spray inside boat
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: Hull made from high quality crisp white PVC fabric w/ UV treatment, .9mm/1100D. Floor made from aluminum framed marine grade coated plywood provides a solid and stable surface for standing, casting, and planing. Seams are HEAT WELDED using the latest technology
  • INCLUDED IN BOX: PVC Boat Hull, Aluminum framed marine wood floor, one aluminum bench seat, 2 aluminum oars, storage bag, foot pump, 2 repair patches plus valve wrench, 1 front carry D ring plus 2 rear exterior sturdy carrying handles, port and starboard front towing D-rings
  • USCG APPROVED. Manufacturer Certificate of Origin and Vessel Bill of Sale for boat registration can be requested upon delivery directly from Newport. 2 Year Manufacturer Limited Warranty. California based company, selling high quality boats since 2009
  • DIMENSIONS and CAPACITY: Model: Dana. Length: 8 ft 10 in. Tube diameter: 18 in. Inflated width: 60 in. Chambers: 3 plus 1 keel. Max Power: 10HP. Max Engine Weight: 90 lbs. Outboard Shaft: Short 15”-17”. Max Load: 1067 lbs, Max Persons: 3

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Newport 8ft 10in Dana Inflatable Sport Tender Dinghy Boat - 3 Person - 10 Horsepower - USCG Rated, White/Gray

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Product Description

The Newport Dana is one of the best performing inflatable sport boats on the market. Designed with 3 independent air tubes, plus an inflatable keel, made from the highest quality 1100D PVC fabric available, heat welded seams, and a marine wood floor; it’s no wonder the Dana is one of the highest rated and best selling tenders on the market. This 8’10” sport boat performs great with up to a 9.9hp outboard motor, and carries up to 3 people. It is capable of 20+ mph with performance handling unseen in other sport boats. When it’s time to head home, simply deflate and pack the boat back into it’s carrying bag, toss it in your trunk, and drive off. The Dana is an incredibly compact, portable and storable boat when deflated for storage. All of our products come with our 30-Day, Float Your Boat Guarantee, so you can buy with confidence! Our boats come with a 2 year manufacturer's warranty, and we stand behind our products 100%. For complimentary registration documents, contact Newport with your receipt after purchase to request the documents, mailed same day free of charge. Boat registration laws vary by state, check with your nearest DMV for local regulations.

Product details

  • Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 96 x 32 x 0.04 inches; 107 Pounds
  • Item model number ‏ : ‎ 20M1000017
  • Department ‏ : ‎ unisex-adult
  • Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ Newport Vessels
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B004BCSRIK
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ China
  • #50 in Inflatable Rafts

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Newport Vessels 20M1000017 8-Feet 10-Inch Dana Inflatable Sport Tender Dinghy Boat - USCG Rated (...

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best yacht tender dinghy

These Dinghy's are the best quality you can get!

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best yacht tender dinghy

Customer Review: It's a decent dinghy

best yacht tender dinghy

From the brand

newport, the way forward is electric, electric outboard motors, 55lb motor, trolling motor

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newport, kayak fishing, kayak motors, electric outboard

Trolling Motors

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inflatable boat, newport vessels, dana, 3 person, wood floor, 15 mph, 20mph

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Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them.

To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzed reviews to verify trustworthiness.

Customers say

Customers like the value, size and performance of the water flotation device. For example, they mention it's an excellent value, perfect for limited cargo space and that it performs well. They also like the ease of inflation, quality, and appearance. That said, some complain about the leakage and ease of assembly.

AI-generated from the text of customer reviews

Customers like the quality of the water flotation device. They say it's well built, holds up well, and is a solid seaworthy vessel. Customers are also impressed with the stability and performance of the boat. They mention that the transom and flooring are absolutely firm. Overall, most are happy with the quality and performance.

"...Really nice looking and it seems well made. The material seems quite sturdy and well assembled, time will tell if the materials hold up...." Read more

"...You must have a good electric pump though.The boat goes well under a 55lb Newport trolling motor (100Ah LiFePO4 battery is a must) -..." Read more

"...Overall this is a solid seaworthy vessel that has brought me hours of joy!" Read more

"...The Newport Catalina has proven to be a stable, trustworthy vessel . Solid construction. It feels and looks like a stout, well built boat...." Read more

Customers like the value of the water flotation device. They mention it's an excellent value, an adorable little boat for the money, and the best combination of the price and the quality.

"This is great for the money . Used in salt water for a week with no problems with 86 lb trolling motor. Fits 4 comfortably...." Read more

"The product performed as advertised and is worth the money " Read more

"...planes out nicely and is an all around great value especially if you can catch it on sale like I did." Read more

"...If you're looking for a durable and capable dingy at a fair price this is the one for you." Read more

Customers are satisfied with the appearance of the water flotation device. They mention that it looks good, is well designed, and has nice D rings on the outside for towing. Some say that it's a great dingy and well put together.

"...Finally got it out last weekend. It's a great boat. Really nice looking and it seems well made...." Read more

"Like other reviews. This is a good looking dinghy . The tubes are huge for the size boat. Nice d rings on the outside for towing...." Read more

"...Plus it's a great looking dingy we constantly get compliments about her daily...." Read more

"The good:Overall a well designed inflatable boat , nice stable floor, the inflatable keel makes it easier to drive, good value...." Read more

Customers are satisfied with the performance of the water flotation device. They mention that it works well in 6mph current, is functional, and reliable. The paddles work great, and the boat is very strong. The 55 lb trust trolling motor works great, the included foot pump works very efficiently, and it powers it just fine around the shallow waters. It looks good, drives well, and works great as a shore boat with small outboard.

"...- it goes on plane easily and rides well at about 15 mph ...." Read more

"...do not need a stand alone pump for inflation as the included foot pump works very efficiently ! The materials feel very durable and well made...." Read more

"...The 55 lb trust trolling motor works great although the little blue lights indicating the amps left in the battery stopped working...." Read more

"...Used in salt water for a week with no problems with 86 lb trolling motor . Fits 4 comfortably. Could get 6 in but would be crowded...." Read more

Customers like the size of the water flotation device. For example, they mention the tubes are huge for the size boat, it carries four of them comfortably, and it's perfect for limited cargo space. Some like the protective boat cover is large enough to recover deflated boat.

"...This boat has larger tubes and this raises the seating position to nearly a normal height...." Read more

"... Fits 4 comfortably . Could get 6 in but would be crowded...." Read more

"...The floor will not fit in when assembled the way that they instructed the floor seems a little longer that what the boat can take...." Read more

"...Very sturdy and room for 2 people and gear . We received numerous compliments on the boat...." Read more

Customers find the water flotation device easy to inflate and deflate. They mention that the foot pump rapidly inflatES the vessel and they didn't have any problems with air loss during inflation. They also say that the boat floats well and is stable.

"...I bought an electric pump for this boat but was really surprised how quickly it inflated , even with the foot pump...." Read more

"... Deflating the boat is also quick and included are 2 storage bags, one for the boat, one for the floors...." Read more

"...The foot pump rapidly inflates the vessel and I didn't have any problems with air loss during the season...." Read more

" Easy to inflate the assembly was a bit complicated even with 2 of us when it comes to the floor but once it's in it seems solid and sturdy I'll be..." Read more

Customers are mixed about the ease of assembly of the water flotation device. Some mention that the dingy floor was fairly easy to put together by themselves, it's pretty simple, and assembles really fast. However, others say that the first time assembly is a little harder than expected, especially the floors. The metal floor requires patience to install and it'll take a lot of room to do it with one person.

"...initially, but when you assemble/disassemble it a couple times - it is easy . You must have a good electric pump though...." Read more

"...The Sea Eagle took forever to inflate even with an electric pump. It didn't hold up very well either developing slows throughout the hull...." Read more

"...rule while assembling and installing the floor, the build process is actually a breeze ..." Read more

"...Assembly: very easy to assemble . Online instructions along with the printed instructions made this painless...." Read more

Customers are dissatisfied with the leakage of the water flotation device. They mention that the seams separated on the Starboard Pontoon, and the air valves make the boat very unsafe.

"...floor being fully installed, the chamber on the right also has a slow leak . In my case the boat took over 30 minutes to inflate." Read more

"...not happy with this design or defect. these air valves make the boat very unsafe should the air cap come off to the air chamber while on the water..." Read more

"...ready for a third trip in a couple of weeks and the boat developed a leak on the back seam on the rear cone. OH NOOOO...." Read more

"...During the first outing with the Intex the floor developed a very fast leak so I decided that I needed something better...." Read more

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best yacht tender dinghy

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best yacht tender dinghy

Call Us: (253) 851-2126 Mon-Fri 9-5 Pacific Time

Gig Harbor Boat Works logo showing a stylized classic rowboat

Yacht Tenders

Row. Sail. Motor. Our traditional-style dinghies are made for more than just ship-to-shore.

12' Point Defiance

Classic Beauty with Modern Versatility

Gig Harbor Boat Works is the builder of a unique line of premium small boats for rowing and sailing. Our yacht tender dinghies are modern fiberglass versions of traditional working boats, used by people who earned their living using only wind and oar.

Back in the days of working sail, a good ship-to-shore dinghy could make or break the tradesmen who ferried cargo and passengers from tall ships into port. A dinghy had to be tough, stable, and forgiving in a variety of weather conditions. 

We’ve updated these classic designs in lightweight yet durable fiberglass composites. The result is a convenient, low-maintenance tender that is easy and fun for modern boaters to use. While you can use our dinghies with an outboard motor for quick ship-to-shore runs, the fantastic rowing and sailing performance also makes for a boat you’ll enjoy in its own right.

best yacht tender dinghy

Our Best Yacht Tenders

Every dinghy in our model line has both rowing and sailing capabilities. All can be paired with a 2hp outboard motor. However, there are subtle differences that give each one a unique purpose, suiting a different type of boater.  Read the short descriptions below and see which one sounds most like you. We love talking with you about how you envision using your boat, so contact us if you’d like help selecting the best boat for you!

12' Point Defiance

12' Point Defiance

An incredibly versatile dinghy equally well-suited to rowing or sailing, beamy enough for comfort while fishing or crabbing. No sliding seat, but can be rowed solo or tandem on fixed seats. With a 4-person capacity, it’s popular for families with kids or as a tender for larger yachts.

10' Navigator

10' Navigator

Designed for optimal sailing and rowing performance, and can be used as a yacht tender for up to 3 people at a time. A convenient size for suspending from davits or sidemounting on your yacht’s transom, and excellent for towing. Weighs only 90 lbs in standard fiberglass, or 75 in our lightweight kevlar foam-core composite!

14' Whitehall

9.5' Captain's Gig

Our most stable small dinghy, particularly when paired with inflatable sponsons . Ideal for motor or trawler yachters who still want to get out rowing or sailing.  The broad transom makes the boat feel less “tippy” than other traditional dinghies, and also makes it great for outboard motoring.

8' Nisqually

8' Nisqually

The best-performing 8′ rowboat you’ll find anywhere, hands down. Can transport up to 3 people and weighs only 75 lbs in standard fiberglass, or 65 lbs in our lightweight kevlar foam-core composite. If you’re short on space and are limited to an 8′ tender, this is the one you’ve been looking for.

14' Whitehall

14' Whitehall

The classic ship-to-shore vessel originally designed to transport cargo and passengers on New York Harbor in the 1800s. Tracks exceptionally well for efficient rowing that makes the most of each pull on the oars. Our version includes a built-in sliding seat, ideal for rowing for pleasure or exercise.

Our tenders are made for more than just good looks… they’re built for folks who really want to get out there and enjoy everything that life on the water has to offer. For instance, our rugged designs, durable fiberglass construction, and low maintenance finishes are ideal for yacht owners who don’t want to fuss over their tender… yet want it to be ready for action when you are.

Our standard dinghies come with a durable vinyl trim  — but wood trim upgrades are available for those who prefer some showstopping brightwork to complement your mother ship.

best yacht tender dinghy

Ship to Shore . . . and More

Tender Features:

Rowing, sailing and motoring capabilities (rated for 2hp outboard), made from lightweight, durable, and repairable fiberglass, built-in flotation that meets or exceeds uscg standards, configure your tender dinghy to hang from davits, sidemount on a swimstep, store on deck, tuck into a tender garage, or tow behind, tailor your boat to your mother ship with custom colors and finishes, custom options.

We custom build each boat to order, so you can take home exactly the tender you want. Decide what model suits you best, then customize it to fit your unique needs. (We’re here to help when you need us.)

A few popular options:

Gelcoat Color

Our standard rowboat comes in classic white — but we can add gelcoat color to personalize your boat or coordinate it with your mother ship. See color options >>

Get the timeless look of a traditional wood boat by upgrading your boat’s vinyl rubrail to a laminated wood sheer. (Shown here on our 10′ Navigator.) See examples of our custom woodwork >>

Built-In Mounting Hardware

Protect the longevity of your tender by adding reinforcement for side/swimstep mounting, or 4-point lifting eyes for suspension from davits. We also offer consultations on unique mounting challenges you may have, and have even built two-piece “nesting” dinghies for those with limited deck space for tender storage!

best yacht tender dinghy

Made in the USA: Gig Harbor, WA

best yacht tender dinghy

Our Heritage

Gig Harbor Boat Works is a local homegrown company founded in 1986. We are small craft specialists, using our experience as boaters and craftsmen to create boats that combine traditional design with modern materials and conveniences.

Almost 40 years later, our boats are still proudly built here in Gig Harbor, WA and we are recognized for excellence in the small craft community worldwide.

Our History >>

Curbside Shipping Nationwide

Proudly made in Gig Harbor, WA, carefully packaged, and shipped to your door — from sea to shining sea.

best yacht tender dinghy

"A true multipurpose dinghy"

“The Nisqually is a scaled-down version of a utility boat commonly rented out for recreational purposes during the 1890s. The optional Kevlar-reinforced version…  is exceptionally light and strong; the heavier, solid-fiberglass version is still quite light thanks to its single-skin lapstrake construction. The low-maintenance Nisqually, a capable rower, sailer, and powerboat, is a true multipurpose dinghy.”

– Cruising World

best yacht tender dinghy

Speedy Solo Rowing

“I maintained a GPS-measured 4 knots at a relaxed pace, 4.7 knots at an aerobic-exercise effort, and hit 5 knots in a short sprint.”

– Small Boats Magazine, Apr 2023

best yacht tender dinghy

Impressive Handling

“I was impressed that the boat’s 125 lbs was so easy to handle. Two adults should be able to lift and walk with the boat if that’s required. . . .  a boat that can be launched from and reloaded on a trailer singlehandedly.”

– Small Boats Magazine, April 2023

See You at Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show, May 16-18!

See You at Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show, May 16-18!

For those of you who live north of Seattle, this is your opportunity to come see our boats in your area!

Mailbag: Using a 14′ Whitehall as a Yacht Tender

Mailbag: Using a 14′ Whitehall as a Yacht Tender

Mailbag , Whitehall

“It’s so nice to row to shore, I can’t believe how fast you get there.”

Lobster Boat Redesign — Update #2

Lobster Boat Redesign — Update #2

Lobster Boat

See our design renderings of the all new Lobster Boat!

A Beautiful Yacht Deserves A Beautiful Dinghy

We're always happy to chat with you about what you're envisioning. No haggling, no high-pressure sales pitch.

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Best Inflatable Dinghies of 2024 Reviewed

Newport Vessels Dana

Newport Vessels Dana

Sport Boats Killer Whale

Sport Boats Killer Whale

Intex Mariner 4

Intex Mariner 4

Chris Riley

A traditional boat is priceless to anglers and boaters, but it comes with the problem of finding suitable storage and trailer. This translates to increased costs that might not be too appealing for some intending boaters.

Thankfully, an inflatable dinghy offers all the functions of a traditional boat plus convenience, high performance, ease of use, and safety. You don’t need a trailer to lug most inflatables from place to place. And you definitely don’t need dock rentals or spend extra money on storage for these boats.

However, choosing the best inflatable dinghy is usually not a walk in the park, particularly if it is your first time doing so. For this reason, we’ve reviewed the top 5 options available on the market to ease your buying decision. We’ve also included a detailed guide to help select the best type that suits your purpose.

Let’s kick things off with a boat that combines near-perfect performance with portability. From Newport Vessels comes Dana, a special 8-feet inflatable sport tender dinghy boat with large tubes that resembles twin rockets. It seats up to three passengers and can take up to 1,067 lbs.

This boat might be just the right one for you if you’re looking for a dinghy with remarkable speed, superior stability, and durable construction material. With a hull made from 1100 Denier Korean PVC, this boat can survive rough water adventures.

A 30-day money-back guarantee backs your purchase. There’s also a 2-year manufacturer warranty, so you can be sure that your investment will not go to waste in case something goes wrong.

  • Weight: 107 lbs
  • Number of Chambers: 4
  • Passenger Capacity: 3 people
  • Load Capacity: 1,067 lbs
  • Engine Capacity: 10 HP
  • Fabric: UV coated PVC
  • Warranty: 2 years (30-day return policy)
  • Built-in Options: Self-bailing drain plug, grab rope, carrying handles, and three bow D-rings for towing.
  • Accessories: Carry bag, two aluminum oars, and foot pump.

$999.00 Amazon  →

• Considerably large tubes and marine wood floor increases stability • Easy to fold and carry • Increased speed

• Large tube size takes away from the cockpit room • Oarlocks might not fit aftermarket equipment due to small size

Not a lot of inflatables pack the power that comes with the Killer Whale from Sport Boats. Although it can take a load of more than 1,200 lbs or five adults, it can still glide through the water seamlessly, thanks to its extended rear pontoons.

Maneuvering this dinghy is easy-breezy due to its contoured design. The boat is constructed with a 9 mm reinforced PVC hull and has a slide-in aluminum floor. This is the perfect dinghy for fresh and saltwater activities.

You’re going to need some help transporting this one, though. At 10 feet 8-inches, the Killer Whale is not particularly a small boat.

  • Weight: 80 lbs
  • Number of Chambers: 3
  • Passenger Capacity: 5
  • Load Capacity: 1,268 lbs
  • Engine Capacity: 15 HP
  • Fabric: 1100 reinforced PVC material
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Built-in Options: Two oarlock-in holders, five carrying handles, and two towing rings.
  • Accessories: Carry bag, one aluminum bench, two aluminum oars, foot pump, and removable seat cushions.

$1,899.99 Amazon  →

• Suitable for a variety of application in saltwater and freshwater • Increased outboard support and planning due to extended rear pontoons • Comes with plenty of extras • Assembly takes roughly 10 minutes

• Heavy boat, making it difficult to transport than other models

Bris Fish Hunter Boat

Bris Fish Hunter Boat

Here’s something for those searching for the best inflatable dinghy that works for commercial and recreational purposes. The Bris Fish Hunter Boat may have the same appearance as the other options, but as they say, don’t judge a book by its cover.

This one is built to be rugged. With an outboard to support 25 horsepower and heavy-duty construction, the boat delivers exceptional performance than most models.

It is extremely stable, and the additional aluminum floor panels provide maximum support. Constructed with a thick 2000 Denier PVC material, the heavy-duty fabric can withstand tension, tears, and other hazards.

  • Weight: 150 lbs
  • Passenger Capacity: 6 adults
  • Load Capacity: 1,675 lbs
  • Engine Capacity: 25 HP
  • Fabric: PVC (with polyester support)
  • Warranty: 3 years (30-day money-back guarantee)
  • Built-in Options: Safety ropes, interior tie-downs, oarlock, D-rings, drain valves, handles, and splash guard.
  • Accessories: Carry bag, two aluminum bench, two oars, foot pump, aluminum floor panels, and repair kit.

$1,349.00 Amazon  →

• Superior maximum horsepower • Includes aluminum floor panels to support seats

• Heavy boat, making transportation difficult for a single-user

For those who are on the fence about inflatable dinghies, Intex Mariner 4 is an excellent way to test the waters. It is also the perfect boat for those on a budget.

Although this is an inexpensive option, it doesn’t take away from its high-quality, durability, and performance.  The Intex Mariner 4 is built to convey four people without straining under the weight.  The rigid plastic floor improves the boat’s overall stability and provides for a more stable standing platform for occupants.

The durable PVC construction protects the boat against abrasion, puncture, spilled fuel, and other hazards.

Carrying this boat around is quite easy due to its multiple handles. Don’t have a large space in your car’s trunk? No worries. The 10 feet 9 inches inflatable dinghy will roll up and fit into the trunk of any small passenger car once deflated.

  • Weight: 77 lbs
  • Passenger Capacity: 4 adults
  • Load Capacity: 1,100 lbs
  • Engine Capacity: 3 HP gas or 55 lb. thrust electric
  • Fabric: PVC (triple layer of super tough material)
  • Built-in Options: Four valves, two fishing rod holders, oar holders, grab handles, three inflatable seats, motor mount, and rotational oarlocks.
  • Accessories: Carry bag, high output pump, two 54-inch aluminum oars, and a repair patch kit.
  • Buy on Amazon   →
  • Buy on Walmart   →

• Ease of transportation and storage • Increased stability due to inflatable keel and hard plastic floor • Affordable

• Comparatively low maximum horsepower rating • Little room for gear • Carry bag might not be durable

Sea Eagle Stealth Stalker STS10

Sea Eagle Stealth Stalker STS10

If you’re in search of the best inflatable dinghy specifically designed for the ultimate fishing experience, look no further than the Stealth Stalker STS10 by Sea Eagle. It’s difficult to find inflatables that combine the basic dinghy performance with this boat’s incredibly useful fishing features.

Instead of the usual pontoons separated at the transom, this boat has a fully enclosed hull with a wide profile. It comes with a marine-grade plywood floor and side struts that increase its overall stability. So, whether you’re fishing in saltwater or freshwater, the Stealth Stalker STS10 will perform excellently even in extreme conditions.

The boat has a frameless design that makes folding. Plus, it weighs only 45 lbs when deflated, making transportation easy for a single user.

It comes complete with several features, including fish rulers, repair kit, and a carry bag to safely stow away the boat when not in use. Fishing boats simply don’t get any more convenient than the Stealth Stalker STS10!

  • Weight: 45 lbs (78 lbs with motor mount and floorboards)
  • Passenger Capacity: 2 adults
  • Load Capacity: 1,200 lbs
  • Engine Capacity: 4 HP gas or up to 74 lb. thrust electric
  • Fabric: PVC (quadruple overlapping seams)
  • Warranty: 3 years (180-day return policy)
  • Built-in Options: Raised oarlocks, motor mount, two 360 o inflatable swivel seats, and four built-in rod holders.
  • Accessories: Carry bag, stow bag, oar set, two 40-inch fish rulers, A41 foot pump, and repair kit.

• Offers extreme stability • Incredibly lightweight when deflated, making transport and storage easy • Folds smaller than most other models when deflated • Affordable

• Relatively low maximum horsepower rating when compared to other models • Can be heavy for one person to carry once it is set up • Not easy to maneuver in tight spaces • Not suitable for general boating since the design is specifically for fishing

At this point, most people would have made up their minds about which boat is the best inflatable dinghy. While it is okay to eye one or a couple of these options, we’ll suggest that you hold off choosing for a little while until you know what to look for when choosing an inflatable dinghy.

But first, let’s see some of the advantages of buying an inflatable dinghy instead of other traditional boats.

Why You Should Buy an Inflatable Dinghy

Several types of inflatable boats are used for different purposes. This ranges from motorized inflatable pontoon boats to inflatable sport boats to rigid inflatable boats, and others. These boats have become popular for several reasons, including:

Portability

Portability is perhaps the biggest reason to invest in an inflatable dinghy. Most types can be deflated and rolled up or folded easily. Storing them doesn’t require a lot of space. You can keep them safe in your garage (off the floor). That means zero winter storage fees and absolutely no need for slip rentals. And since you can transport them in the trunk of your car, there is no need for trailers.

Of course, larger types are heavier and difficult to lug from one place to another, but they don’t require a trailer to move them.

Wait, what?

How is a “balloon” on water durable?

Inflatable dinghies are not mere balloons or rubber floating on water. Modern constructions use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fabrics or Hypalon (a nylon neoprene-coated material) to build highly durable boats that can withstand harsh conditions and hazards, including abrasion, UV rays, and extreme temperatures.

You don’t have to worry about frequent leaks because the seams of modern inflatable dinghies are heat-welded. Purchasing an inflatable dinghy is a wise investment if you enjoy fishing or some other water activities because the boat is designed to last for several seasons.

Canoes, kayaks , and other boats in the same class do not provide the type of stability as inflatable dinghies. It is a lot safer to stand in inflatables and maneuver the boats even at high speeds, especially if you buy one with a V-shaped keel and a hard floor. If you buy a larger model, you can even use it in the ocean’s open waters.

Versatility

Many other boats are built to suit only one application. But inflatable dinghies are designed to be used under various conditions in a wide range of waterways and can be used in saltwater and freshwater.

Many inflatables also come with optional accessories, including seating, fishing rod holders, canopies, and storage.

Choosing the Best Inflatable Dinghy – Buying Guide

best yacht tender dinghy

Here’s a quick tip when it comes to buying an inflatable that will serve you for several years: always look beyond the brand name and price tag.

Yes! Selecting a good-quality inflatable dinghy is all about choosing one with the right features for your purpose. It doesn’t matter how expensive a boat is; if it doesn’t suit your purpose and where you live or where you’ll be using it, you shouldn’t buy it.

Before you purchase a boat, we suggest that you take some time and give serious thoughts to the following.

Inflatables come in different sizes, and size can significantly affect performance. Choosing a size depends a lot on how you intend to use the boat. What size of motor do you want to use? How many passengers do you expect onboard on average? You should also consider the amount of gear you usually bring along and the normal conditions you expect to encounter. All these factors can impact the performance of a boat.

Generally, inflatables over 10 feet long usually offer a greater level of control. They are less likely to rock during strong wind currents and are a lot easier to plane. Of course, if you do not need that much space, there’s no need to buy a 10-feet long boat or more. But whatever you do, keep in mind that overloading your dinghy will definitely reduce its performance, regardless of the size.

Think about the pros and cons of flooring available in the inflatable before you buy it. Why is this important? The floor of a boat can affect its stability, speed, weight, and even performance. As you go through this section, consider where you want to use the dinghy – on choppy waters, running river, or flat water?

The four types of floors available in inflatable dinghies include:

  • Slat Floors

Slat floors, also known as roll-up floors, are the most basic floors you will encounter in inflatable boats. Slat floors are made from materials such as plywood or aluminum and are easy to assemble. Storing them is as easy and rolling them up and stowing away.

If you want a simple boat that is perfect for short trips, consider one with roll-up floors such as a roll-up inflatable dinghy. They are easy to deflate, roll up, and store. They require only a small space for storage and are not expensive.

However, because the floors are not rigid, it can be difficult to stand on them. Another major downside of slat floors is that they can damage the boat’s fabric if they get broken. And since these types of dinghies don’t come with a keel, performance on the water is limited. They are most suited to small water bodies with flat water.

Consider getting another type of dinghy if you want to ride in choppy waters of the open ocean. But if you prefer a slat floor inflatable dinghy, make sure to purchase one with the slat floors close together as they are more stable than those with slats that are further apart.

  • Hard Floors

Inflatables with hard floors offer more stability and rigidity and slat floor types. The floors are also made from wood or aluminum and usually come with a V-shaped keel for added rigidity. This combination allows the boat to get on a plane easily. It also improves maneuverability and overall performance on choppy waters.

Hard floor inflatables are rather stable, making them versatile as they can be used as dive boats, yacht tenders, and fishing boats.

Expect to pay more hard floored boats such as the Rigid Hull Inflatable dinghies (RHIs). Setting them up will also take a long time compared to roll-up inflatable dinghies that take less time to inflate and deflate. These boats are quite heavy, so carrying them from land to water is a bit difficult. As you probably already figure out, storing these dinghies requires considerable space because they are not as portable as other options.

Consider getting an inflatable with a hard floor if you have ample space to store them, and you don’t mind spending some time assembling the boat when you need to use it. After all, that’s a small price to pay if you want a boat that will cut through choppy waters like a hot knife slices through butter!

Air floors, also known as air deck, are separate flat tubes that inflate like the rest of the dinghy. They are made from tough PVC materials and are rigid enough to stand or even jump on, but weigh less than hard floors.

Inflatable dinghies with air floors usually have keels, and this gives them superior maneuverability, and their lightweight improves their speed. The floors are comfortable for kneeling and sitting.

Air floor boats are portable and faster to assemble than hard floor boats. They also don’t require much storage space.

However, these boats don’t come cheap. Expect to spend top dollar for a good-quality air floor inflatable dinghy. But the major downside is not the price tag. Air floor boats are prone to punctures. This is probably not the best choice if you want to mount real seats or a fish finder on your boat.

Pro tip: One way to minimize piercing through the boat is to lay a piece of carpet or cut-to-shape vinyl on the floor. This is particularly helpful if you plan to carry things around in your boat or use it for fishing.

Another disadvantage of air floor boats is their weight. These boats are particularly lightweight because the floor is filled with air. While that’s a good thing, it makes them unsuitable for rough waters. Lightweight is not an advantage when it comes to stability on the water. Consider getting a heavier boat if you want more stability, especially in rough waters.

  • Self-Bailing Floors

The floors in regular boats are made with sealed tubes. If water gets into the boat, it remains there until it is scooped out manually. That’s the disadvantage of non-bailing standard floors.

The solution? Self-bailing floors!

These types of floors have holes in the sides that let water out of the boat. If you are mostly using an inflatable in situations, such as white-water rafting, where lots of water can enter the cockpit, it can be extremely helpful to buy a boat with a self-bailing floor.

Boat Fabric

The type of fabric used to make a boat determines its durability and quality. The popular options when it comes to materials for inflatables are PVC and Hypalon. Both choices are durable, but with peculiarities.

PVC fabrics are synthetic plastic polymers. That means boats with these fabric types are lightweight, portable, and affordable (since the material is less expensive than the nylon-coated Hypalon). Repairing a boat made from PVC fabric is extremely easy – a tear can be glued or thermo-bonded.

However, PVC boats are not suitable for tropical locations. Excessive heat and humidity can easily damage the plastic material or harden the fabric if used under sunlight for too long. These boats have a short life circle because PVC fabrics cannot withstand abrasion for too long.

On the other hand, boats made from Hypalon can resist ultraviolet rays, extreme temperatures, abrasion, and mechanical wear and tear. This is because the material is a synthetic rubber. Repairing Hypalon fabric can be done easily by applying a patch. Overall, these boats will last longer because the material is more durable.

However, Hypalon is expensive, and as expected, the cost of an inflatable dinghy with Hypalon fabric won’t come cheap. The color can fade when left under the sun for too long.

If you live in the tropics or intend to use a boat that will not harden by being under sunlight for long hours, your best bet would be to purchase a boat made with Hypalon fabric. On the flip side, if you live in colder regions and don’t intend to be on the water for too long during sunny days, a PVC boat might suit you just fine.

When it comes to hull type, the best inflatable dinghy for you will depend on the activity you intend to use the boat for. Hull types include:

A boat with a flat hull doesn’t come with a keel, which means it won’t provide adequate stability. Directing and maneuvering this type of boat can be difficult. Generally, flat hull boats don’t reach high speeds and will not get on planes.

So, what are they good for? Consider getting a flat hull boat if all you do is going on short trips or you want a boat that will move slowly while you fish for a few hours.

A V hull boat usually comes with an inflatable keel. They are perfect for cutting through water as they can get on planes at high speeds. They offer great stability and maneuverability than flat hull types, and as you’ll expect, they are a bit more expensive, too. This boat might be just what you want if you are looking for the best inflatable dinghy that will serve as a tender during wildlife, fishing, or diving activities.

  • Deep-V Hull

Deep-V hulls are common features in rigid inflatable dinghies and are quite pricey. Boats with deep-v hulls have enhanced stability, increased speed, and give more control. But because they sail higher on water due to their hull design, they can rock in the wind and even tilt.

Availability of OEM Accessories

Although you can buy a new boat after a while, wouldn’t it be better if you can save costs by simply upgrading? Adding additional storage, a canopy, or even adding a few seats might be all you need instead of buying an entirely new boat.

But you can’t upgrade easily if your boat doesn’t have readily available OEM accessories or aftermarket parts. For this reason, take some time to look around for available accessories for the inflatable dinghy you intend to purchase.

Besides, it will be helpful if the boat you choose includes accessories such as waterproof carry bags , seat cushions, paddles, and other items.

Lastly, consider buying a boat from a manufacturer with a long-term warranty. Even if you choose the best inflatable dinghy made from durable materials, you cannot completely rule out accidental damages, so keep an eye out for a solid warranty.

Bottom Line: What is the Best Inflatable Dinghy?

As you would have deduced by now, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the best inflatable dinghy. What works for one person might not be suitable for another because these boats are versatile and can be used for more than one purpose.

A fisherman might not choose the same type of inflatable boat as someone who wants a sport boat. Waterways and conditions can also affect individual choice.

In a nutshell, the best inflatable dinghy is that which suits your purpose, location, and preferences. And we’re sure one or more of the options in this guide will meet your needs.

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About Chris

Outdoors, I’m in my element, especially in the water. I know the importance of being geared up for anything. I do the deep digital dive, researching gear, boats and knowhow and love keeping my readership at the helm of their passions.

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  • VENDEE GLOBE 2024
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  • Zodiac Nautic
  • Boat tenders

Tenders & Yacht Dinghies

In addition to your main yacht, sailboat or catamaran,, cadet roll up.

Inflatable dinghy with wooden slatted floor

Its floor, in a wooden slat design, can be rolled and stored in seconds.

Inflatable dinghy with inflatable floor

Very simple and above all really compact! Completely flexible, including the floor, it can be folded and stored in less than 2 minutes in a suitable bag!

CADET RIB ALU

RIB dinghy with aluminium hull

A truly solid-hull dinghy (aluminium), which provides the best in stability and safety on board!

Inflatable dinghy with aluminium floor

An aluminium floor, which can be put in place in no time for maximum stability.

Nomad RIB Alu

New tenders with a double floor, waterproof storage, and top-quality tubes!

CADET RIB ALU DL

Its biggest asset is its locker: Your backpack or today’s picnic will fit in just fine…

The smallest Open

Ideal for a first boat with room for 4 people on board, it is easy to manoeuvre and tow. Ideal for small budgets.

The ideal electric dinghy

Whether used as a dinghy or a funky little boat, this 3.4 is more environmentally friendly than ever and requires no maintenance.

Ideal dinghy or small robust boat

The 3.4 is sure to please: Easy to steer, 3 large storage lockers! A true little racing kart that will delight you and your guests.

YACHTLINE 360

The smallest Yachtline

An ideal size to accommodate 4 people on board, with a maximum power of 40 HP, it can carry its passengers at high speed.

YACHTLINE 400

Well equipped

The Yachtline 400 can carry 5 passengers with its 3 seats and 50 HP.

The smallest Pro

A traditional model, it has always been part of the Zodiac range.

Unbeatable value for money

Ideal model for fishing and cruising with family or friends with its 4 large seats that can accommodate 6 people on board and its large lockers.

YACHTLINE 440

The right compromise

The ideal complement to transport 6 people, with its numerous storage lockers and its 60 HP.

The biggest of the compact Open

A generous power output of up to 80 CV is a big asset, and it is ergonomic and spacious for comfortable and active days out.

YACHTLINE 490

The biggest

At 4.90m and 90 HP, it can be used as a main boat for up to 9 people. It can also tow water-skiers or wakeboarders.

OUR NAVIGATION PROGRAMS

Are you looking for a tender or dinghy model for your yacht, sailboat or catamaran? The choice of boat will depend on your intended use, frequency of trips, sailing areas and your expectations. Choose a comfortable, innovative and powerful boat that you can accessorise according to your taste and needs. You will already have basic equipment: lifting and towing rings, bench, paddles or oars, many handles … for the comfort of the pilot and the passengers. The design of your dinghy will perfectly match your yacht thanks to its elegant aesthetics. Your RIB dinghy guarantees you excellent performance, great sailing comfort and spaciousness for regular use. Its sturdiness ensures greater safety at sea where the weather is particularly unpredictable.

Versatility

Yacht dinghies serve you both as lifeboats or support boats to get the pilot, crew and guests to land or shore, but also as leisure crafts due to their versatility. The size and engine of the tender mean it can be used as a pleasure boat for sea trips with friends or family; from 4 metres upwards for the larger models. So go and explore some beautiful places. The finish and quality of the accessories ensure the longevity of your boat.

Power and agility

In our range, you will find 100% electric tenders like the eOpen, but also ones with hydrojet propulsion, such as the eJet. This modern technology, which uses a turbine to draw in water and propel it quickly to move the boat forward, offers a more fun and agile way to steer. Compared to an outboard boat with a propeller engine, waterjet propulsion offers greater safety, the ability to sail in shallow water and faster acceleration.

Tender models with rigid hulls such as the CADET RIB ALU, the small OPEN, the eOPEN, or the Yachtline provide you with more stability at sea, even in difficult weather conditions. This gives you more space on board for passengers and storage.

ALL CAPABILITIES

  • Boats for 4 people and above
  • Boats for 6 people and above
  • Boats for 10 people and above
  • Boats for 14 people and above
  • Boats for 20 people and above
  • Tenders from 2 to 3 meters
  • Boats from 4 to 6 meters
  • Boats from 6 to 8 meters
  • Boats from 8 meters boats and above

IMAGES

  1. 460 Sportjet yacht tender by Williams Performance Tenders

    best yacht tender dinghy

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    best yacht tender dinghy

  3. Wave

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  4. OEM/ODM Best yacht tender dinghy and Zodiac aluminum rib review

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VIDEO

  1. New Finn-Dinghy LIFTING RUDDER

  2. Launching a DINGHY from the BEACH with WHEELS

  3. Best Sailboat Tender Dinghy 2

  4. Best Sailboat Tender Dinghy

  5. New Sail Boat Dingy Test Run.. While We Wait For Mackerel

  6. The Innovative Tender / Dinghy Storage Garage found on the Jeanneau 64 Sailing Yacht By: Ian VanTuyl

COMMENTS

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    Learn why rigid inflatable boats are the best choice for yacht tenders and how to pick the right size, capacity and features for your needs. Compare BRIG models and find your perfect dinghy for fun and adventure on the water.

  2. Best inflatable boat: 9 compact tenders put to the test

    Inflatables are everywhere: paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, tents, kites and wings - and inflatable boat technology has long been a practical option for tenders, RIBs, liferafts and lifejackets. But what the 'new wave' of inflatable boats brings to the practical boating landscape is the air floor, which makes very stable, very lightweight tenders a very practical option for people with ...

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  4. Top 15 Tenders and RIBS

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  5. Best sailing tender: get a buzz from your boat or boot

    The boats weighs 68kg for the 3.3m or 74kg for the 3.5m, while the sailing components add just 15kg. Both are also available in carbon versions (a NZ$4,000 upgrade). The slight catch may be the ...

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  7. 6 Best Inflatable Yacht Tenders for 2023

    Scout 365. 1. Takacat 260 LX Innovative Tender. Takacat 260 LX is a custom-made PVC designed innovative tender. The inflatable boat features an air deck floor for a high tensile rigid hull core. It has an aerodynamic bow design that will get you over the rough and choppy waters to your yacht in no time.

  8. A Guide to the Best Tenders for Yachts in 2024

    Classic Daysailer. Rigid Open Classic Stow. Strip back the layers of modernity that clothe large motor yachts and delve into a tactile sailing experience with a classic daysailer. Built a short distance upriver from SYTT, the Spirit R30 is a daysailer that marries cinematic elegance with unparalleled craftsmanship.

  9. The ultimate tender test

    At £715 it is one of the most reasonable tenders on test, due to less material in the floor, and has a two-year warranty. Contact: www.barrus.co.uk 01869 363636. Rating 4/5. Motor Boats Monthly put 14 inflatables from 10 manufacturers to the test. Find out which tender got the blue badge of honour.We review 14 inflatable dinghies on the market ...

  10. The Navigator: Inflatable Yacht Tender Boat

    The lightweight catamaran yacht tender effortlessly moves people and gear from ship to shore, carries a good load, and you can step in and out of the Navigator with confidence thanks to amazing stability. ... and that knowledge was key to ensuring that the True Kit Navigator is purpose-designed to be the best lightweight dinghy tender on the ...

  11. How to pick the perfect inflatable tender

    It is around 30 per cent lighter than an inflatable, as well as faster, softer riding and more efficient in its use of power. The downside is that it costs more than twice the price of the average inflatable, but if you enjoy the idea and don't balk at the expense, F-Rib is well worth a look. If a RIB appeals, see our guide to the best RIBs.

  12. The Best Tenders for Yachts 2024

    Dinghy chaps for the best tenders for yachts. The best tenders for yachts will have dinghy chaps. Dinghy chaps are the fabric covers you see on the PVC tubes of a tender. If you plan to use your yacht tender in tropical climates, then you're going to want to protect it from the UV rays that will quickly cause PVC to degrade.

  13. 10 best tenders

    MasterCraft XT20. If you want your tender to do more than just ferry people and provisions ashore, it makes sense to invest in a multi-purpose, saltwater tow boat - and MasterCraft's XT20 is the ideal candidate. It comes with a spacious lounge, plus a classic 'pickle-fork' bow to expand the forward space. It also features a rather ...

  14. Best inflatable boats: 6 affordable options for getting on the water

    Inflatable Sport Boats Killer Whale. Buy it now. $1,949.99. Best inflatable boat for use as a tender. 5. West Marine RIB-350. Buy it now. $3,899.99. Best premium inflatable boat.

  15. The Best Inflatable Tender Boats for Your Vessel

    Bris Fish Hunter. Sports Boats Killer Whale Model 330. Seamax Ocean 380. 1. Takacat 300 LX Portable Tender. Takacat 300 LX serves best as a boat tender to aid your diving convenience. Source: Takacat. Takacat is innovation, safety, versatility, durability, and convenience crafted into one revolutionary inflatable boat.

  16. Choosing the Best Dinghy for Your Boat

    Generally speaking, fully inflatable dinghies that measure around 10-feet in length support a 5-8 horsepower outboard, which is sufficient for the basics. For a more capable inflatable, look for a 10-25 horsepower outboard. Just be cautious, as too much power can flip a lightweight dinghy.

  17. Is your tender up to it? We test the F-Rib foldable RIB

    Bluewater Sailing Techniques Part 10: the care and use of the ship's dinghy. A small inflatable rubber tender is all well and good - it takes up very little space when properly deflated and ...

  18. Home

    The Ultimate Tender. UP BOATS is the leading manufacturer of full carbon fiber dinghies, tenders & chase boats. Our innovative rigid tenders combine low weight, high performance and incredible durability. The clever features are tested & proven by seasoned offshore cruising boaters. The Ultimate Tender for offshore cruising boats & yachts 100% made in USA.

  19. Newport 8ft 10in Dana Inflatable Sport Tender Dinghy Boat

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  20. Traditional Yacht Tenders

    10' Navigator. Designed for optimal sailing and rowing performance, and can be used as a yacht tender for up to 3 people at a time. A convenient size for suspending from davits or sidemounting on your yacht's transom, and excellent for towing. Weighs only 90 lbs in standard fiberglass, or 75 in our lightweight kevlar foam-core composite!

  21. Best Inflatable Dinghies of 2024 Reviewed

    Newport Vessels Dana. Let's kick things off with a boat that combines near-perfect performance with portability. From Newport Vessels comes Dana, a special 8-feet inflatable sport tender dinghy boat with large tubes that resembles twin rockets. It seats up to three passengers and can take up to 1,067 lbs.

  22. Tender boat & Yacht dinghy

    A yacht dinghy is highly recommended as it provides a comfortable mooring for disembarkation and a real guarantee of assistance in case of need. Reliability and lightweight are the key words that characterise the tender and dinghy models available. Demand the best for your days at sea!