Probably the most cost effective way to get out on the water and enjoy your adventure is to use an inflatable of some description.
There is a massive range of designs available, from the floating tube’s, designed for fly fishing through to vessels of over 45 feet long that are designed for rough sea conditions.
With a bewildering array of choices it certainly pays to understand your basic needs and requirements before you start shopping. Doing this will greatly reduce the field of possibilities and simplify the process for you.
Inflatable boats (excluding the ridged hull models) are very easy to store and transport, some will fold up to a suitcase size and smaller, meaning you can transport them in the standard trunk of a car or even store them in a closet, and for some of you this will be a major consideration when buying.
Some of the most memorable times I’ve had on the water have been in an inflatable. From the peace and tranquillity of drifting a slow moving river or lake fly fishing to the exhilaration of pounding the inshore waves in a rescue craft or white water rafting a grade five river, these light weight tough boats are hard to beat.
Many yacht owners use these strong reliable craft as tenders and they do a fantastic job, it is easy to hoist an inflatable onto the aft of a yacht using a davit or even haul one onto the main deck and store it.
Most search and rescue teams have some form of inflatable in there fleet and prefer them for there reliability and all round safety. So to my way of thinking if its good enough for them then its probably a safe and sound investment for me.
If you are fishing from a low pressure inflatable make sure you are careful with the hooks and knives, although these vessels are tough accidents do happen so please take care. This is not such a problem with the sturdier high pressure craft used for sea fishing and scuba diving.
There are also high performance racing models available, used for inshore surf racing, Believe me it is quite a spectacle watching twenty or more of these “wasps” flying around a surf beach course!
As always no matter what you use your inflatable for please take all of the necessary precautions And use the right safety gear when your on your adventure, especially if there are kids involved, make sure they know the limitations of the vessel and of themselves, having said that there is probably no better way to teach a young one water safety and boat handling than in a inflatable.
As always in this life you tend to get what you pay for so don’t buy a $50.00 department store model and expect it to perform like a rigid hull racer, these cheep plastic toys are not something you should be relying on to keep you safe if things go wrong, so use your common sense and get a craft that suits your needs and make sure you operate it within its capabilities.
Doing this will ensure many years of trouble free boating and lots of fun for you and your loved ones.
Play safe play hard.