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Inflatable Boats

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Brian Hamilton

Subsea Sniper
Jun 15, 2003
I am thinking about getting an inflatable kayak or boat which can rowed into lakes or offshore to allow me access to new dive sites.

I have been looking at Sea Eagle and Sevylor kayaks.

Does anybody out there use any of the above boats or anything similar?

Which brand should I go for?

Is it easy to climb onto the boat from the water?

Is a kayak or a boat the best option?

Sorry I didn't see this one earlier but here it goes. My old roommate and I pooled together some cash and got a sweet deal off of ebay. For $2,000 plus shipping, we managed to get an 11.5 foot Zodiac with a 15 hp 2 stroke Mercury outboard. It inflates in about 10 minutes and rolls up small enough that the Zodiac, outboard and 3 guys dive gear fit in the bed of my Tacoma. My only gripe is that it has an inflatable floor which we really have to careful with. They do sell palstic roll up floors which we will probably get later. Overall, the Zodiac is awesome! It has handled some conditions that were down right scary. I guess because it is small, maueverable, unsinkable unless punctered repeatedly, and flexes while going over the waves, it can handle the rough seas. Speed wise, with two guys plus gear you can get this thing to plane really nice. Any more people and the 15 hp Mercury pushes the boat no problem but it is a bit slow. The thing is so fuel efficient that a 5 gallon tank usually lasts us 3-4 dive trips before refueling. We don't go 30 miles one way but there have gone on 10 or more miles round trip. The boat can be towed while drfit diving or anchored/tied down with a relatively light anchor. I highly recommend an inflatable boat. As far as kayaks go, I don't have much experience with them. All I know is that I could have won one in a fishing contest a few weeks ago. There were four categories all of which required using a Kayak. The winning fish in the dive category was an 8 pound parrotfish. I refuse to say when or where this tournament is because I am a greedy guy and want to win a Kayak for myself. That's right, the guy that shot an 8 pound parrotfish went home with a Kayak. My friend still reminds me of this almost everytime I see him. Hope this helps.

What I like about Kayaks is that they are cheap, easy to use, give good upper body workout, and are easily transportable in any vehicle. Makes sense to use them. But on the subject of inflatables, I have had my eye on a Zodiac Futura Fastroller for years. Probably the smallest, which is the mark 1. I first saw one being used in Cabo San Lucas as a tender years ago. It was hauling ass, and very smoothly, on just a 15hp and a couple of people on board. I was impressed. It has an inflatable floor for easy and compact packing and also has the futura bottom with the speed tubes which helps it plane higher and smoother. With the speedtubes, the bottom essentially becomes a tunnel hull providing a pseudo air cushion underneath. This is the same bottom that comes on the Futura Sport which is probably the fastest small Zodiac there is. The other one I like is the classic Touring model. This is the original Zodiac. These come in the same sizes as the futuras, but without the speed tubes on the bottom. Actually, the Futura line really is the Touring line with the addition of speedtubes and come in red instead of the classic grey. Fastrollers just mean inflatable floors instead of hard floors. The S line of Futura has hard floors. I like the inflatable floors for their comfort underfoot and less weight overall for better performance. The touring, Futura S and Futura Fastroller all have the same dimensions. Only the colors and specs are different. There are smaller Zodiacs but I really like the classic shape of these guys. But if you don't have to boat very far to get to the dive site, then you are better off with the kayak for its simplicity, affordability and ease of trouble. Just throw it on the roof racks and be done with it. You certainly would not need a fast inflatable like a Futura for going short distances. But for longer distances over somewhat rougher water, the extra speed is nice. For info on Zodias, go to either www.zodiac.fr or www.zodiacmarineusa.com.
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