10 Inflatable Boat Myths: Debunked

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10 Inflatable Boat Myths: Debunked

You know there is an abundance of reasons to invest in an inflatable boat over the fiberglass, tin, or plastic alternatives. Portability, cost, versatility - where do we even begin? Choosing an inflatable watercraft is one of the best decisions you make. Whether you’re shopping for a new fishing boat or you just want something you can explore with, an inflatable boat is up to the task.

Nevertheless, you might still be on the fence. Maybe it’s because you’ve fallen victim to one of the common inflatable boat myths:

“I don’t want to waste my time and money on something that’ll pop as soon as it touches a rock.”

“I’m a serious boater/fisherman - I need a real boat.”

“Inflatable boats don’t have enough space for what I want to use it for.”

Wrong. All these myths about inflatable boats have been circulating long enough. We’ve decided to put an end to these misconceptions once and for all in this blog post. Today, we’re going to address the 10 most common inflatable boat myths we’ve seen or heard along our travels. By the end of this article, you’ll be left with no more objections - and you’ll be ready to get started shopping for your new watercraft! Let’s not waste any more time. 

The 10 Most Common Inflatable Boat Myths: Debunked

Once you’ve seen your new inflatable boat in action, you’ll look back and laugh at some of these myths you used to believe. Most of these inflatable boat misconceptions have to do with the strength, durability, and versatility of inflatable boats. Many people who haven’t had the chance to experience a quality inflatable boat assume they are fragile and offer low performance. However, the opposite is true. We’re going to address the 10 most common misconceptions we’ve seen people have about inflatable boats - starting with the most egregious: they aren’t good for fishing.

1. Inflatable boats aren’t good for fishing

This one is just plain false. See exhibit A below:

Fishing on a takacat boat

Traditional fishing boats have had a good run - but these days, inflatable boats are the premier choice among anglers. Why? There are a few reasons. They’re stable, easy to clean, portable, and resistant to punctures from fish spikes and hooks. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at this video below:

The fact of the matter is, you can reach new fishing spots in an inflatable boat that you’ve never had the chance to. This is possible for two reasons: 

1) You can put the boat in your car or check it as luggage on a flight and travel to bucket list destinations. Many of the best fishing spots in the US just became a whole lot more accessible.

2) You can row through incredibly shallow water with ease. Getting up narrow, shallow creeks and rivers is impossible on traditional hardshell fishing boats - but not with an inflatable.

And, you’ll have peace of mind knowing the boat is resistant to punctures (strength/durability is another myth we’ll cover later on.) It’s also resistant to fish spikes or fish hooks - so you can cast in confidence knowing a mishap isn’t the end of the world. And, you can stand up to cast - these boats are ultra-stable. It’s also really easy to optimize your boat for fishing by adding a captain's chair and rod holders.

All this considered, inflatable boats aren’t just good for fishing - they’re the #1 choice.

2. Inflatable boats can’t handle hitting a rock

Perhaps the most common myth about inflatable boats we see has to do with their strength and durability. 

So many people assume that the first time an inflatable boat hits a rock - it’s over. The material will rip and your boat will sink. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

kayaking on a grabner

In fact, there are high-quality inflatable boats built with stronger, more durable materials than typical hardshell boats! That’s because when the inflatable boat encounters a rock or other hard object, it gives a little to absorb the hit without taking on damage. When you think about the material these boats are constructed from think of strong, tire-grade rubber.

3. Don’t spend a lot, they are all junk

It’s true that inflatable boats are incredibly strong and durable. But, there is a caveat to this statement. You have to buy quality inflatable boats to ensure this degree of strength and protection. Not all inflatable boats are created equal. That’s why we encourage you to spend more to get higher quality.

Think about it like this - inflatable boats are made by hand. So, by sticking with a higher-end brand and model, you can rest assured boat was built by an expert craftsman with the best quality materials. We recommend sticking with EPDM rubber - as this is the strongest material you’ll find in an inflatable boat. And, stick with a trusted, reputable brand when shopping for your boat. This ensures you’ll have a warranty to fall back on in the unlikely event that something goes wrong. For example, Takacat inflatable boats come with a 3-year warranty on materials. This grants you peace of mind so you can enjoy the water as it was intended - without worry.

4. Inflatables are easy to pop/puncture

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - inflatables are not easy to pop or puncture. On the contrary. Many inflatable boats are actually more resistant to pops and punctures than their hard-shelled counterparts. The degree of resistance from popping or puncturing the boat depends on the material used:

  • PVC - while this is the most affordable inflatable boat material, it’s also the weakest - and doesn’t respond well to extreme temperatures or prolonged exposure to light. Boats with this material have a shorter lifespan.
  • Hypalon - this material offers excellent resistance to abrasion and other abuse. Hypalon is also unaffected by extreme temperature and prolonged exposure to light, and it will stand the test of time.
  • EPDM Rubber - as we said in the last section, this is the strongest material used on the market today. Think of tire-like rubber. No chance you’re popping that just by bumping into a rock or scraping up on the beach!
  • Furthermore, high-end inflatable boats feature a woven substrate to prevent runs and tears. All of this contributes to a strong, durable boat you can depend on - even in rough, uncertain conditions.

    5. Inflatable boats don’t have a lot of space/carry capacity

    Whether you’re fishing or just taking the family out for some fun on the water, you want a boat that has ample space.

    group kayaking on grabner kayak


    And, this is another misconception about inflatable boats - they’re small, compact, and lack ample space or carrying capacity. Again - this is false! Whether you’re looking for inflatable canoes or an inflatable sailboat, you’ll find small and large options alike. Just as if you were shopping for a rigid hardshell boat. At Red Beard Sailing, you’ll find inflatable boats that can accommodate as many as 11 people or more! Because air is super buoyant, the inflatable aspect of these boats makes it easy to carry a bunch of people and all the stuff you need to bring with you.

    6. Inflatables just sink when punctured

    Another common inflatable boat misconception? People who haven’t fully immersed themselves in the world of inflatable boats assume a puncture means the boat is going to sink. That’s not the case, though - because most inflatable boats have multiple chambers of air! That means in the very unlikely event you do experience a puncture, you’ll be able to safely get to shore to assess the damage and patch it up.

    7. Inflatables are hard to inflate

    Maybe you haven’t pulled the trigger on a new inflatable boat because you don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting it up and inflating it. But hear us out - it’s 2022. You don’t have to blow up your boat manually! There are automatic inflators available that will have your boat seaworthy in as little as a few minutes. Most boat components require just 3-10 psi for full inflation.

    8. Inflatable boats are bad performers

    It’s true - many inflatable boats are bad performers.

    sailing a minicat 420

    But, the misconception lies in the belief that all inflatable boats are bad performers. This is not true. There are tricks to finding good designs that perform well. You can find an inflatable boat designed specifically for the intended use you have in mind, and it will outperform other boat styles with ease. For example, MiniCats are a great choice for solo sailing, day sailing, racing - really, any type of sailing. Meanwhile, there are inflatable rowing boats that have revolutionized rowing - changing everything traditionalists thought they knew about what makes a good rowing boat. The point is that there are specific design features you can look for that will ensure your boat performs well. Drop stitching is one of them. We also recommend getting a boat with a good hull shape - steer clear of flat bottoms. And, if it’s a matter of speed, consider shopping for inflatable boats with motors - or adding one yourself after the fact to save some money!

    9. Inflatables swap or fill with water easily

    People who claim that inflatables swap or fill with water easily couldn’t be further from the truth. Take the best inflatable canoes, for example (Grabner). These are self-bailing so you don’t have to get soaked while paddling - even in the roughest whitewater! Just add a spray skirt. Takacat inflatable boats have an open transom, while many inflatable sailboats have open decks. All this said, inflatables do a remarkable job of keeping water out. 

    10. Inflatables aren’t for serious boaters

    The final misconception about inflatable boats that we want to address is that they aren’t for serious boaters.

    solo grabner kayaking

    Sometimes inflatable boats make the difference between being able to take a boat with you or not. And, there are a number of inflatable boats that outperform their hard-hulled counterpart. Take the Happy Cat Hurricane Sailboat, for example. This boat is fast, nimble, stable, and most importantly, an absolute blast to sail on. 

    Not Convinced? Experience the Inflatable Boat Difference For Yourself!

    At this point, what’s left to say? We’ve debunked the most common myths about inflatable boats so you’re left with no objections. The only question now is - which inflatable boat is right for you? At Red Beard Sailing, you’ll find an unbeatable selection of high quality inflatable boats - from sailboats to dinghies, rowboats to canoes, kayaks, and a whole lot more. Shop our full catalog and experience the inflatable boat difference for yourself. You won’t be sorry.

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