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  • Boat selection
  • Why to choose the inflatable ?

    The main advantage of every inflatable boat is its inflatable buoyancy tube. This most important part of every inflatable gives some incredible features to them:
    - The boat becomes about 2 times wider, which sufficiently increases stability.
    - The combination of the inflatable buoyancy tube with medium-V or deep-V bottoms provides excellent seaworthiness.
    - The boat has a multi-chamber tube with an incredible buoyancy volume. It guarantees unbelievable safety, carry and passenger capacities. 

    The main body materials are light and flexible. It makes the boat light, portable, easy in storage and transportation. But all inflatables have a bit shorter lifetime and need more care and maintenance in use. The reason is: the main flexible material is more sensitive than the piece of metal. But with years this problem becomes less and less important: technical progress in chemical industry offers better and stronger materials. 

    Table 1.Conventional boat vs Inflatable boat 

  • How to choose the right boat size ?
    So, you have decided to buy an inflatable boat! Congratulations!!! Now we'd like to give you some guildance about selecting the right size boat.
    Please consider some things: 

     •   If you need a tender for your yacht or power boat - make sure that you exactly know the maximum dimensions of the tender, available for your yacht and the maximum loading capacity of your boat lifting system. If ytou expect to keep your new tender on swim platform - then the total length of the dinghy must be less than the beam of your main boat. If you expect to keep in on a deck - just make sure it will fit the space you have.
     •   The size of the boat is in direct connection with MAX engine power, MAX passengers & carrying capacity. 
     •   If you are going to use your boat for water skiing - the boat should be able to be equipped with a minimum of a 25 HP engine. 
     •   Passengers: the maximum passenger capacity set in Technical Specification for the boat, and a number or real seating places in the boat are different. First decide how many people you will need to carry, and then check how many seating places the boat has and choose the right one.

  • Foldable or rigid inflatable boat (RIB) ?
    Foldable boats are the classic examples of inflatables, which originate from the first inflatable rowing dinghies and army rubber boats. Of course modern foldables have been sufficiently improved: transoms for engines, solid floorboards, V-shaped bottoms and a lot of excellent features appeared. Everything is fine, except one thing- the bottom. It's soft! In some situations it can be good, but in some - not so much. Soft bottom gives you a chance to land on a wild coast line without worrying about hull damage - it's soft! All the foldables are collapsible and very portable when stowed. Super! But every foldable just dreams about the features of RIBs : RIGID INFLATABLE BOATS - INFLATABLE BOATS WITH A RIGID HULL. RIB is a combination of inflatable and conventional boats - something in the middle. The RIB is an attempt to combine all the advantages of inflatables and conventional boats and eliminate all their downfalls. And it seems like a successful and very promising attempt. 
    For example: 
     •   The resistance of a soft bottom moving in water is higher than any hard material like metal or plastic - so, a foldable is not the best racer. Top speed is for RIBs. 
     •   The soft material nature allows only quite simple forms of foldable boat bottoms. Even if the bottom is V-shaped, a number of great ideas of hydrodynamics theory are not available in foldables. But it can be easily found on RIBs. 
     •   Another point: comfort and feeling of rigidity. Foldables are excellent for sporty use, when there's nothing extra and everything is quite ascetic. But you can find a real comfort on RIBs - they have much more possibilities for riding comfort. 
     •   Next point: assembling! With a RIB you do not have to train you muscles every time you go boating - everything is ready, just inflate and go! 
    A RIB is not just another type of inflatable boat - it's another level of enjoyment. In practice most people become RIB fans after they have tried them once. Of course, a RIB is more expensive and heavy, takes more space and care, but it's a thing to think about. 

    Table 3. Rigid Inflatable Boat vs Foldable Boat 

  • PVC or HYPALON tube?
    First of all some words about the materials for inflatable boats in general. To reach maximum air tightness the main material for high-quality inflatable boats usually has a 5-layer design: 
     •   One central internal layer: reinforcement cord - cloth base, made of strong synthetic fabric, 
     •   Two internal layers: coating of cloth base with airtight flexible material, which makes the fabric airtight and has high adhesion to the cloth base. 
     •   Two external layers: coating with airtight flexible material, which opposes abrasion and increases UV resistance and air tightness. 

    The most popular material for reinforcement cord is POLYESTER cloth base with the density parameter 1100 DTEX for recreational boats and 1680 DTEX for professional ones. The coating materials can be different and it's the main subject of your choice. At the moment there is a lot of different names and trademarks of the materials for inflatable boats, but all of them can be combined into TWO main groups: ELASTOMERS and PLASTOMERS. 

    Elastomers are the thermo-reactive materials, which never become plastic when heating after they have been produced - mainly they are all sorts of rubber. And there are two materials, which are undoubtedly leading elastomers materials for inflatables in the world: HYPALON and NEOPREN. 

    HYPALON has an excellent chemical resistance and stability against UV-rays, but it's still the most expensive material. NEOPREN is not as stable as HYPALON, but its stability is high enough, which in combination with more than attractive prices for raw material, makes its use attractive. Usually these materials are used in combination: NEOPREN - inside the boat and the tube, HYPALON - outside. Such combination is the most popular for recreational boats. HYPALON-only coated fabrics (on both sides) are used for military or some commercial purposes, where the durability is more important than price. One of the most important characteristics of the both materials is their high maximum working temperature up to 140 deg. C.

    Plastomers are the thermoplastic materials (they can become liquid when heating). The main examples are PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and PU (polyurethane). PU has unbelievable abrasion resistance - an excellent material, but too expensive for common use. The leader is PVC. You can meet a number of different names of thermoplastic materials, but all of them are PVC with slightly different compositions. And the price is very competitive! So, when it comes to materials for inflatables the choice is either HYPALON or PVC. 

    Table 2. PVC vs Hypalon 

  • Floorboards, Air deck or Slatted deck?
    A foldable inflatable boat with a hard deck (wooden or aluminum floorboards) is a traditional inflatable. Usually it includes some floorboards (made of marine grade plywood or aluminum) joined by means of some cross and ateral aluminum profiles, which also work as a reinforcement.

    Slatted deck is the most simple version of boat flooring: wooden strips on flat bottom. It's very light, does not need much care, but has quite low performance as the bottom is flat.

    An air deck (or an inflatable floor) is an innovation, which has became very popular. The heart of an air deck is so called "double-wall " or "drop-stitch" fabric" - a brilliant technical idea, which allowed to realize this project on a high technical level.
    Two airtight layers of reinforced PVC (or HYPALON) coated fabric are fixed 40-50mm away by an innumerable quantity of threads (2-5 threads on every After the perimeter is closed airtight it becomes a very hard and strong plate, when inflated. To inflate it, you need a special high-pressure pump, because the nominal pressure for air decks is 4-5 times more than for the inflatable tube.
    Two best features of air decks are: 
     •   Low weight (7 kg - 15 lbs air deck for a boat of 3.5m(12') long against 24 kg - 53 lbs of a floorboards set). 
     •   You can forget the mechanical assembling of the boat at all - just inflate to make it ready!
    However, downsides include: 

     •   Air deck is a very delicate, being sensitive to intensive use and abrasion, which sufficiently decrease the lifetime. With an air deck the boat is not so solid as with floorboards. 
     •   And finally the air-deck boat is a bit more expensive than the boat with floorboards.

    Table 4.Florrboards , Air-Deck and Slatted Deck comparison