How to choose the right dinghy?
January 12, 2024

How to choose the right dinghy?

Topsail News

When purchasing a new dinghy for your main vessel, there are several important factors to consider to ensure that the dinghy meets your specific needs and preferences. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Size and Capacity:
    • Consider the size of the tender in relation to your main vessel. Ensure that it’s large enough to comfortably transport passengers and gear.
    • Check the weight capacity to ensure it can safely carry the intended number of people and equipment.
  2. Material and Construction:
    • Tenders can be made from various materials, such as PVC, Hypalon, or aluminium. Each material has its pros and cons in terms of durability, weight, and maintenance. Choose a material that suits your usage and environment.
  3. Inflatable vs. Rigid:
    • Decide whether you want an inflatable tender or a rigid one (RIB). Inflatables are often lighter and more compact, while RIBs have a rigid hull that provides better stability and performance in rough waters.
  4. Storage and Transportation:
    • Consider the storage space available on your main vessel for stowing the tender. Inflatables are generally easier to store as they can be deflated, while RIBs may require more space.
  5. Ease of Inflation/Assembly:
    • If you opt for an inflatable tender, consider how easy it is to inflate and assemble. Some models come with features like quick-inflation valves for convenience.
  6. Stability and Performance:
    • Look for a tender with good stability, especially if you plan to use it for fishing, diving, or other activities. Consider the boat’s hull design for optimal performance in various conditions.
  7. Outboard Motor Compatibility:
    • Check the recommended horsepower for the tender and ensure it is compatible with the outboard motor you plan to use. The motor’s weight and size should also be suitable for the tender.
  8. Handling and Manoeuvrability:
    • Test the tender’s handling and manoeuvrability, especially if you plan to navigate in tight spaces or challenging conditions. RIBs generally offer better handling.
  9. Accessories and Features:
    • Consider additional features such as oars, oarlocks, lifting points, towing eyes, and storage compartments. Some tenders may also have built-in seats or other accessories.
  10. Budget:
    • Set a budget for your tender purchase. Prices can vary significantly based on size, material, and features. Consider the long-term value and durability of the tender in relation to the price.
  11. Brand and Reputation:
    • Research the reputation of the manufacturer. Choose a reputable brand known for producing high-quality tenders with good customer support. The following brands are market leaders:
    Zodiac: Zodiac is a renowned brand known for its inflatable boats, including tenders and RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats). They have a global presence and are widely used in various boating applications.
    AB Inflatables: AB Inflatables is recognized for producing high-quality inflatable boats, including tenders. They are known for their durability and performance.
    Walker Bay: Walker Bay is a manufacturer that focuses on designing innovative inflatable boats and dinghies. They are known for their stable and lightweight designs.
    Highfield Boats: Highfield specializes in aluminium-hulled RIBs and tenders. They are known for their durability, seaworthiness, and high-quality construction.
    Achilles Inflatables: Achilles is a well-established brand in the inflatable boat industry. They produce a range of tenders and inflatables, known for their reliability and performance.

Keep in mind that the popularity of brands can change over time, and new players may have entered the market since my last update. It’s advisable to check the most recent industry reports, customer reviews, and sales data for the latest information on the best-selling tender dinghy manufacturers.

Before making a final decision, it’s advisable to test the tender whenever possible and gather information from reviews, forums, and other boating enthusiasts who may have experience with the specific model you’re interested in. Get in touch with our team to discuss your dinghy insurance in more detail.

A large white boat is in the water.