Friday, October 5, 2007
Inflatable Boats: An Overview
Inflatable boats are made from flexible material, usually rubber, canvas, or neoprene, and hold air at high volume but low pressure. They need to be fitted with a frame to which an oarlock mount is firmly attached. Such frames are either made of metal or wood, or a combination of the two.
Inflatable boats with motors are high speed, maneuverable, stable and can be easily launched from a ship. For this reason, US Navy SEAL’s use the inflatable boat small (IBS) for their operations.
Twenty-three foot long Rigid Hull inflatable boats are best suited for retrieving people stranded on rocky pinnacles among the waves, and are used by the US Coast Guard during Search & Rescue operations.
There has been a lot of development in Inflatable boats. The large inflatable boats have rigid boards in them, and are called Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB’s). They can be driven by oars or outboard engines. The large ones are considered good enough to be used by the Lifeboat men.
The modern life raft is a well thought out, well-equipped, seaworthy fully inflated boat. However, if there isn’t enough air inside, inflatable boats are apt to fold in the middle. Thus, they need to be pumped up to the proper pressure using bellows.
Most Inflatable Boats are portable rafts. An inflatable yacht that is 8 feet (2.4 m) long is rated to carry three people when used with a motor. It weighs 35 pounds (15 kgs.) when dry, which makes it a reasonable load for one person to carry for a long distance if necessary. The next size is 9 feet long, which does not sound much more, but the difference is great, in fact. The 9 feet boat is heavier and has much larger air tubes.
People use inflatable boats for exploring, and manually haul them to remote places. There are many brands of high quality inflatable boats available in the market, but whatever brand is chosen should be roughly 8 feet long, rated for 3 people, have a motor, be a reasonable load for one person to carry, and does not have a wooden floor, or other heavy parts.
Inflatable Boat Sales are taking place online. Inflatable boats are available for sales – both as new ones, and as used boats. Prices range from $25 right up to $2,800. The range covers 8-foot yacht tenders, fishing boats, and 14-foot inflatable sail boats.