The Ultimate Inflatable Dinghy Guide

The Ultimate Inflatable Dinghy Guide

By: SamComments: 0

Introduction -

Inflatable dinghies are one of our most popular range of products. So whether you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get out onto the water, after a new inflatable tender for your yacht, or anything else for that matter, we’ve combined all of our most frequently asked dinghy related questions to create this handy, simple to follow guide.


Selecting the right size dinghy is essential. Bigger isn’t always better. As well as the amount of people you wish to fit in the dinghy, you also have to think of the storage space you have either on your boat or in your vehicle when transporting the dinghy. A larger dinghy will naturally weigh more than it's smaller counterpart, something worth highly considering if you are going to carry the dinghy around in a backpack that comes with many inflatable dinghies.

If you have browsed our excellent range of inflatable dinghies may have seen that some dinghies are suitable for 2+1 or 2.5 people. This may be confusing to some – so to simplify it, the first number (2) is the number of adults, then ‘1’ or ‘.5’ is one child.


Many dinghies come with a handy rucksack that enables you to transport the dinghy on your back. If you are intending on doing this, we highly recommend you check the weight first. As we’ll explain below, the weight of the dinghy doesn’t just depend on how many people are travelling in it, but the material too.

If you wish to combine an outboard engine with your dinghy, keep a keen eye on the weight, as you may be able to save yourself some money by opting for a lighter dinghy – resulting in you requiring  a less powerful engine. Our top picks are 3D Tender’s Superlight Twin Air Dinghies, and Seago’s Go Lite Dinghies.

Looking for an outboard? Our superb range of Mariner Outboard Engines are clean, efficient and reliable, which is why they’re used by the RNLI. Our most popular is Mariner’s 4 Stroke 3.5hp Short Shaft Outboard Engine. We also stock a superb range of electric outboard engines - with our most popular outboard of choice ePropulsion's Spirit 1.0 Electric Outboard Motor.


Inflatable dinghies are typically constructed from either PVC or Hypalon. Both materials have their pros and cons, which we’ll run through shortly.

Typically, dinghies constructed from PVC are cheaper than their Hypalon counterparts but have a slightly shorter lifecycle. The decision often depends on how frequently you intend to use the tender. PVC inflatable dinghies are more compact and portable, whilst Hypalon tenders are more suitable for constant use.

PVC Inflatable Dinghies:

+ Lightweight and more economical in comparison to inflatable dinghies constructed from Hypalon.
+ Come in a much wider range of colours in comparison to inflatable dinghies constructed from Hypalon.
- Not abrasion resistant when dry.
- Have a slightly shorter lifecycle than inflatable dinghies constructed from Hypalon.

Hypalon Inflatable Dinghies:

+ Highly resistant to oil and various other harsh chemicals.
+ Unaffected by extreme temperatures or UV light, so will not harden if left out in the sun.
- Typically more expensive than inflatable dinghies constructed from PVC.
- Can be trickier to repair than inflatable dinghies constructed from PVC.

Air Deck or Slatted Floor?

One of our most commonly asked questions is what floor to opt for - here's a comparison.

Slatted Floor:

As you can guess from the name, Slatted Floor inflatable dinghies contain slats that lay across the floor, these are often constructed from wood or aluminium. Slatted floor dinghies are easy to assemble, un-assemble and store, but lack in performance compared to their air deck counterparts.

Air Deck:

Dinghies with inflatable floors are more expensive but, in our unbiased opinion, worth the extra investment. Air Deck dinghies offer more stability, performance and efficiency compared to slatted floor dinghies – you can also stand up in them without having to worry about breaking the slats!

Air Deck with Keel:

In addition to an air deck floor, certain inflatable dinghies have an inflatable tube underneath the floor. This changes the dinghies underwater shape, making the dinghy more efficient and agile.

Other Features To Look Out For:

Grab Lines:

The vast majority of dinghies, including those from 3D Tender, Seago, Talamex and WavEco have grab lines that can be used to hold on to whilst travelling at speed, or to help in a man overboard situation.

Multiple Chambers:

Inflatable dinghies also have multiple airtight chambers, so if one chamber were to suffer a puncture, the two remaining chambers will have enough air to keep the dinghy afloat.


A fantastic feature to look out for when purchasing a dinghy is an adjustable seat position, something available on all Seago inflatable dinghies. This ensures that however short or tall you are, you can sit in comfort.

Many Seago dinghies also have a bag under the seat, which provides some handy storage space for your essentials. This is one of our best selling dinghy accessories, see our Seago Seat Bag product page to find out more information.

Additional Extras:

Inflatable dinghies often come with everything you need to get on the water (just don’t forget your life jacket!). This includes a pump, oars, emergency repair kit and a handy carry bag to store it all in.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Tender and Dinghy the same thing?

Yes, a tender and a dinghy are the same. Dinghies are often referred to as tenders as a common use of a dinghy is to tend to the needs of larger vessels as a smaller boat that runs back and forth from ship to shore, hence the phrase 'tender'. 

How do I inflate an inflatable dinghy?

Inflating a dinghy is easy, here's a quick guide:

  1. Lay out the dinghy
  2. Remove the valve covers
  3. Pump each chamber up to around 50%
  4. Install the floor & seat (if applicable)
  5. Inflate both sides to 90%, then 100%
  6. Inflate the keel (if applicable)

Where can I use an inflatable dinghy?

This really depends on size, however generally inflatable dinghies are suitable for use in inshore and coastal waters.

How do I repair an inflatable dinghy?

There is no straight-forward answer to this question, as it depends on where the damage is. Many dinghies come with repair kits with instructions. We also have a great range of inflatable dinghy repair products.

Have any other questions?

We’d love to help! Contacting us is easy, and you can do so via email, telephone (01634 295 233) or by visiting our Rochester store.


Tony Roe
Posted on 2020-08-17 18:10:38
In depth information on choosing inflatable got some good advice thanks

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