Are you wanting to get into boating but just don’t know where to start?

Your friends are telling you to buy a Zodiac but you’ve seen so many exciting choices in the market you just don’t know where to start? Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect when looking through the market for a small boat of around 3m which includes the advantages and disadvantages of inflatable’s, folding boats, aluminum & others.

Inflatable boats

Advantages: Generally inflatables are not overly expensive (excluding rigid flooring) and can expect to pay around $1800-$2400. Once inflated, the craft has high levels of buoyancy meaning they can go through shallow water, and carry more load than a conventional craft. The other advantage of inflatables is that they are relatively easy to get in and out of and can bounce off their surroundings – making them a common tender of choice.

Disadvantages: Pump pump pump… you never stop pumping, and even when you think you’re ready to hit the water – there’s still not enough air pressure! Inflatables generally take 20-30 minutes to get from the bag to the water and the process doesn’t end there. The hardest stage is the pack up, how do I squeeze every last bit of air out, roll it up and get it back in that bag? Once in the bag, you’ve got yourself a 60kg+ anchor, requiring a two person struggle to get up the sand, or back into boat. Other disadvantages to be aware of – Punctures, poor UV resistance and low sides (a wet ride).

Aluminum boats

Advantages: Want to bash around the sticks having a fish, this is the option for you! Being aluminum, you can drag the boat through all sorts of rough conditions, throw the eski in and not worry about a puncture. Aluminum dinghies (AKA Tinnies) are $1800-2400 and should outlast your trusty fishing pole.

Disadvantages: Aluminum does not float at the best of times. Be sure that you’re well aware of the foam levels stored under the seats and check these regularly for any signs of fate age. Aluminum dinghies are best used via the help of a trailer (add $1000+). At 65kg+ their big bulky size is difficult to get on top of the car so consider storage alternatives to keep this one off the wife’s front lawn. Other disadvantages to be aware of: Rough ride (no chop absorption) and hot seats for the kids in summer.

Folding boats

Advantages: Foldable by name – practicality by nature. Folding boats have been evolving for years but have been associated with a poor ‘that’s not real boat’ stigma; but things are about to change! Quickboats, a revolutionary new folding boat technology is a quantum leap on other folding boats by providing a boat that is easy to store, takes only 60 seconds to assemble, light weight and very safe; but most importantly – operates like a real boat! With a Quickboat you can go fishing with mates, you can take the family on adventures and you can operate throughout waterways that were previously inaccessible to the average user. In essence, combining all the advantages of traditional boats to create a modern and user friendly alternative.

Disadvantages: Depending on brands, some older folding boats on the market were not rigid and are about as useful as motorized water beds. Regardless of the motor size they simply could not perform like a real boat, thus leading to a poor ‘un-boat like’ experience to uses. The setup times were also an unpleasant experience, whilst they were faster than an inflatable boat. No one wants to spend 10-15 minutes putting a boat together.

When buying a boat remember: think about your needs, where will you store it, how will you afford registrations and most importantly, how and where you will use it. Smaller boats are easier to use and maintain than their bigger counterparts and are a perfect choice for those wishing to begin the summer lifestyle of being a boatie.

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