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Inflatable Boat Advice

Discussion in 'Deep Dixie Divers' started by Beboandles, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Beboandles

    Beboandles Nassau Grouper

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    I know this is a boat question but I wanted input from the local divers. I am 3 1/2 hrs from the pan handle and dive there fairly often.My every week diving is in the Cattahoochee river.I am interested in buying an inflattable with transom.It wont take much to meet my needs for the river but I would appreciate suggestions from locals on what would help satisfy my needs for the panhandle. My intentions are to use it mostly in the river but would like something that I could take with me and scoot around the jetties or shell island or so.I have researched alot and know the differences between the sibs and ribs.Just wanting input on the most economical choice for now.Only looking for a safe couple years of service until I move up to an offshore rig,(inflattable rib or conventional boat)
    Thanks in advace for your knowledge!
     
  2. Peter_C

    Peter_C Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    5,889
    741
    113
    Was there a question in there? I never saw a question mark.

    What kind of tow vehicle do you have? Storage? Do you plan to deflate it and inflate it upon every use? or use a trailer?

    Most economical is your buddies boat. Otherwise buy it used.
     
  3. Abaco24

    Abaco24 Barracuda

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    Dear God Man..........WTF is a sib or rib? Unless it's a cousin or a BBQ?

    Peter C..agreed was there a question? Mostly commentary. I'll give this OP an actual answer for his no paragraph block question....(who the hell is teaching these kids today, 4 sentences, click, new sentence ??) must be the texting....

    Best boats that I have owned (opinions may be screwed or slewed or just out right slayed here)...

    Proline 21 Cuddy - great for family and a wife that bitches the waves are too rough, shove them in the cuddy during a storm, or slightly rough seas, tell then to shut up so you can hear the radio help, you're doing your best to get back the dock, if they come up, it might endanger the boat and their life....get a beer from your mate or favorite cocktail, let them out when you dock.
    Nuff said..."it was too dangerous honey"

    CaJun 19 Bass Boat: this thing just hauled ass in my teens 45-55 plus. Rangers or close to it I guess. 125 Johnson "that's what she said"

    I'll just say this....was a great bass boat and it hauled ass to 60 mph.

    I don't think this answered the question. My bad

    Get a nice bay boat, Mako and Proline are the best. Too many more:idk:

    That's my answer and I'm thinking of running with my passport on my mid life....."run forest run"
     
  4. MBD0607

    MBD0607 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Nevada
    79
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    I'll refrain from playing English Professor, and assume you are asking for a decent inflatable boat of some kind. My adivce would be the Zodiac F470. Handles up to 50hp, has room for 4 guys and all gear, solid deck, weighs about 300lbs w/out motor, is easy to deflate and store, easy to patch (assuming you don't do a serious number on it), and is pretty much bomb proof if you do some basic care on it. You can get a first class trailer for it for under a grand if you look around.

    The bad news is they are hard to find, and expensive new.
     
  5. SuPrBuGmAn

    SuPrBuGmAn Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tallahassee, FL
    12,436
    290
    83
    I run a 10' 2" Zodiac Zoom(SIB) with a 9.9hp Tohatsu. I don't trailer it, I just deflate, roll it up, and toss in the back(or ontop) of my car. It handles the rivers(Choctawhatchee, Holmes Creek, Chipola, Perdido, Blackwater) very nicely with two people and two sets of heavy cave gear(but will not plane). Two people and two sets of recreational gear, and it'll usually plane out.

    I've also used this same boat to run the beaches several miles to dive Alabama Gulf State Pier(launching from Orange Beach). I've taken it better than a mile offshore, just gotta pick your days, and I felt a hellovalot more comfortable than when I did the same with a bass boat(LOL). It runs the bays just fine, but handles chop poorly(as in a rough, wet ride).

    For me, its the optimal setup as I don't want to deal with a bigger boat, or a trailer. It handles more load, and heavier seas much better than any other boat its size, and really 50% bigger. It'll also go places a larger boat can't, simply due to draft...

    I got a good deal on mine with a motor.



    If I were looking for another, I'd go with the 11' SIB from Boats to Go, I think its a Saturn.
     
  6. Beboandles

    Beboandles Nassau Grouper

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    I apologize for the original post.I will partly blame a 14 hour work day and frustration over internet information overload.Please,allow me to clarify.
    I am wanting suggestions on a INFLATABLE boat for diving.

    Prefered features:

    1) 2-3 person capacity(inc. gear)
    2) solid transom for future outboard installation
    3) easy portability(no trailer)
    4) seaworthy for inshore trips
    5) durable material for a couple years use

    I am not interested in "top of the line" rigid inflatable boats.The limited ocean use would not justify the expense.
     
  7. SuPrBuGmAn

    SuPrBuGmAn Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tallahassee, FL
    12,436
    290
    83
    See my post above, if you want to run 3 people, I'd jump up to a 14' and require a pickup truck to haul it all around(at this point, dunno if it'll fit IN a car).

    There's a big jump in size from the 10-12' are to 14'. You can still get away from having to trailer it, but it'll require more room. IMO, it'd(14'er) be an awesome setup for inshore stuff within a few miles, lots of room for 3 people and gear(maybe even 4) and you can usually put up to a 40hp on that size.

    10-12' is fine for 2 people and 2 sets of gear, lots of room(for what it is) with recreational gear. Tech gear will have you cramped, but I do it all the time anyway in my 10'er.
     
  8. Beboandles

    Beboandles Nassau Grouper

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    Thanks, Suprabugman! That sounds exactly like the type I am looking for.The Saturn is one of the ones I was looking at.There are so damn many out there,so I decided to just ask.I thought I remebered a few of you diving this type of setup.
    Thanks again for your suggestions.
     
  9. SuPrBuGmAn

    SuPrBuGmAn Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tallahassee, FL
    12,436
    290
    83
    I had a buddy who bought an 11' Baltik(which looked exactly like the Saturn, was likely a rebranded Saturn) and I thought it was a great boat. Infact, I liked it better than mine.

    My Zodiac Zoom has floor slats, making a hard bottomed floor with an inflatable keel underneat. His Saturn had an inflatable floor, but its made from a much denser plastic that held very ridgid. I was suprised, and when I need to replace, its what I'll be going with..

    Saturn 11' Inflatable Boats SD330. Bestseller!
     
  10. Peter_C

    Peter_C Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    5,889
    741
    113
    Anything less than 14' is going to be really crowded with three people. Much of it will depend how many tanks you are bringing. Doubles etc.

    They all have solid transoms. The question is how big of an outboard are you going to need. I have a 40HP on my 14' SIB Zodiac Futura GT MKII, and it barely has enough power to get 4 divers on plane. The boat is kinda useless without an outboard to begin with, as they do not row far very well.

    I would actually consider a trailer easier portability. It takes a fair amount to blow up a boat and set everything up. With mine it is ready to go, just top up the tubes and go! Not sure what you have for a vehicle but you are looking at around 450lbs in boat and outboard. The boat is around 200lbs and the outboard about the same. Plus you have to carry fuel somewhere. Not going to want to store that inside a vehicle. Sometimes towing does make more sense. FWIW I tow mine with a Prius, and it has plenty of power and brakes. Even when super windy it tracks straight. I also have 17" wheels with 35 series tires that are Z rated, with a few other handling mods, so my car handles far superior to a stocker. The fast rollers aka air floors, do not handle rough water or weight as well as a hard bottom boat. Plus you can damage the floor with scuba gear easier. I have some dents in my aluminum floor.

    Does that mean inner coastal? I would never consider buying less than a 12' boat. Then again we host Maverick's surf competition.

    Most of them will last for years. PVC boats are known for having the transom and the floors fall out of them, as that is the only part glued, and have a set shelf life unless you are willing to under take a HUGE job. Guess how I know? I traded and got a really good deal from a friend for my Zodiac because the front floor was completely detached. About 70 hours later everything was fixed up and ready to go.

    You can see there is not a lot of room in a 14' once you get all your gear in place.

    First pic has no tanks or dive gear.

    [​IMG]

    Just my doubles on the starboard side mid.
    [​IMG]

    Three sets of single tanks and a cooler for lunch. Notice not much floor space is left.
    [​IMG]
     

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