Types of Inflatable Boats

About Inflatable Boats

Inflatable boats may have rubber floors that are either plain or inflatable. They may include steel or wood or aluminum sheets for rigidity. There is a valve to remove or add air in usually each of the tubes constructed in separate sections. This can reduce the effect of a puncture.

The tubes are made of sheets of Hypalon or PVC to provide lightweight and secure buoyancy. There is sometimes a "keel" that is inflated to form a groove along the hull improving the hull's wave cutting and turning performance. It is easy to cause an inflatable craft to hydroplane, as it is light. This makes it faster than the engine would allow when the hull is operating in displacement mode. White water rafting and kayaking as well as ocean, lake and river touring is a growing area for the use of inflatable craft.

Inflatable boats are commonly between 2 and 7 metres long and are propelled by outboard motors of 2.3 to 300 horsepower. Inflatable and rigid-hulled inflatable boats are used for short scuba trips. They are even used for life saving equipment when things go wrong on the water. If this is the case, then they should be SOLAS compliant.

People tend to use inflatable boats when exploring and manually haul them wherever they go. A good brand for this application should be 8 feet long and be rated for 3 people. It should also have a motor and be reasonable for people to carry for quite a distance. There should be no heavy parts, such as a wooden floor or other heavy parts.

Armed Forces

Inflatable craft is also used by the armed forces of several nations for such purposes, like to land on beaches. These are used by special operations units. These can be transported on midget submarines such as operated by the Advanced SEAL Delivery System.


Lifeguards can also use inflatable craft, too. They use jet skis as well in order to reach a swimmer in distress as soon as possible. These inflatables are used in conjunction with Y class lifeboat used with the Tamar and Severn class lifeboats.

Luxury Yacht Tender

A luxury yacht tender is a small rigid inflatable boat to provide support and entertainment to a private or charter luxury yacht. This also provides services to the yacht. There is a new yacht tender called a Hov Pod. This can drive onto beaches or up ramps to carry passengers onto land.

Dive Boats

A dive boat is used by scuba divers when they go away from land to do a dive. This is when they cannot reach a dive site from land. This can be a rigid hulled inflatable craft that is small and easily transportable. This one is suited for amateur use. These boats should carry a VHF radio and oxygen first aid.

Inflatable boats were invented in 1839 when the Duke of Wellington tested the first inflatable pontoons. In 1844 to 1845 British naval officer Lt. Peter Halkett developed two types of inflatable boats for use by Arctic explorers. This was made with rubber impregnated Mackintosh cloth.

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