Rubber boats: types, manufacturers ratings and selection recommendations
A rubber boat is considered an integral attribute of a seasoned fisherman, but such a convenient means of transportation on water will be useful to both hunters and lovers of outdoor recreation. The boat made of rubberized fabric is easy to store, convenient to transport, some models even fit in a backpack, which makes them incredibly popular. It is worth choosing the right rubber craft, and it will serve faithfully to its owner for many years.
Small size rubber vessels undergo quality standardization in terms of strength, wear resistance, resistance to ultraviolet rays, various oils and solvents. The safety of a watercraft is determined by the strength of the material, its resistance to mechanical stress, the number of compartments in inflatable sides - the more of them, the less the likelihood of flooding if one of the compartments is damaged.
Each passenger of the boat needs an inflatable vest, even if a person swims well: in order to increase safety on the water, special protection is needed, because a person can get confused in an emergency. When purchasing a motor boat, it will be necessary to go through special training courses and get rights. Also, each boat is assigned a license plate number.
A rubber boat with a motor must be registered with the territorial state inspectorate for small boats. To obtain a certificate of registration of a watercraft, you must provide a certificate of ownership for this boat, a citizen’s passport, TIN, state duty receipt, motor pass and boat passport (two separate documents). After registration, it will be necessary to obtain a license plate and pay tax in a timely manner, as well as regularly inspect an inflatable motor boat.
No rights are required to operate a simple rowing boat, however you should independently study the instructions for it, the rules of behavior on the water and how to behave in case of unforeseen circumstances (for example, how to leave with other vessels correctly).
If the carrying capacity of a rowing non-motorized boat is more than 100 kg, it must be registered.
Advantages and disadvantages
Owners of rubber boats highlight the following advantages in their reviews:
- ease of transportation when folded;
- light weight of the craft;
- ease of management.
There are some disadvantages.
- Rubber does not hold paint well, so it is best to give preference to practical boats, without attractive camouflage patterns. When the boat is heated in the sun, the paint may begin to peel off, and beautiful camouflage will stain the owner’s clothes, bald spots will appear in the picture and the gloss will quickly disappear.
- The stated number of seats often does not coincide with the real situation: three people in tracksuits occupy much less space than in full equipment, including wading boots, and have different weights. You should also take into account the place for gear and bait, so often in a triple boat is placed in fact only two people.
- Single models are unstable to the wind and often turn over in bad weather.
- The material is susceptible to decay if stored improperly.
Cons are negligible and can be easily removed with proper operation of the boat.
Comparison with PVC models
The main differences between PVC boats and rubberized fabric are due to the properties of modern materials.
- Unreinforced PVC (polymer material) - it is unstable to frost, stretches under prolonged exposure to sunlight, while it is cheap, has a low weight, does not rot, which makes it very popular with buyers. Another plus: the seams are joined by laser welding and are very durable.
- Reinforced PVC (three-layer) - material with a layer of synthetic material enclosed between two layers of polyvinyl chloride, which increases the strength of the material (it is almost impossible to pierce) and improves the performance of all parameters.
- Hypalon - more dense than PVC (has increased tightness), but withstands only gluing, it cannot be joined with welds.
- Neoprene - cheaper than all of the above materials, but rarely used as an independent coating. It is easy to glue it, on this the pluses end.
- Rubberized fabric more elastic, inexpensive, weight lighter than PVC, easier to repair small punctures on it, remains elastic at zero temperature and with a slight minus. However, it is very susceptible to decay, cracks in the heat and requires particularly careful operation and more thorough maintenance than boats made of other materials.
According to the type of joint joints, rubber boats and PVC boats are divided into the following types:
- welded - soldering of polymers under pressure by ultrasonic flow;
- vulcanized - rubber splicing using a special reagent;
- glued (overlap or butt) - manual connection of parts of the craft with glue.
PVC remains unchanged in its structure when exposed to high temperatures. Rubber is more plastic, in the heat, the air inside the cylinders heats up and expands, microcracks can go in the joints.
PVC is afraid of low temperatures: during winter fishing and the effects of frost during storage, the material cracks.
Rubber boats are easy to transport when folded, but you will have to take a pump with you (it must be quite powerful to pump up the chamber compartments of the craft as quickly as possible).
The most comfortable fishing is obtained if a person is fishing alone and the boat is 1-seater, this makes it possible to completely independently control the craft, it is easier to maintain silence. Such a vacation is the most complete, and fishing alone becomes easier. A boat of 2.6-3 m in length is enough for one person, if for two - it is worth choosing a ship more than 3 m
The boat should be spacious (even single), the ability to install a motor is useful for a fisherman: it will be possible to easily and quickly move from one shore to another on a river or a large lake and fish in different places. Oars and seats should be as comfortable as possible, because on the water a fisherman or a hunter can spend a day and night. At first it’s difficult for one person to control a double boat (since it has a length of about 3 meters), but with the acquisition of fairly simple driving skills, the operation of such a craft will not cause difficulties.
The size of rubber boats depends on their purpose. The largest production vessels are produced (they are used for transportation of goods). The size is smaller than the average for fishing boats, and the smallest are produced lifeboats.
All inflatable boats are divided into pleasure and sport. Pleasure boats with a capacity of 1-2 people are considered pleasure. On such a boat you can put only a light low-powered motor. Sports boats are designed for extreme rafting on fast rivers.
An inflatable craft can be with or without a keel. The keel gives better handling of a small inflatable boat in windy weather, but in the absence of dexterity it can contribute to rolling the boat on its side.
A motor boat can develop a rather high speed: about 50 km / h in open water, while large boats (about 4 m long) have increased windage and the use of oars makes no sense. Oars for motorboats are useful for mooring to the shore and when checking nets with fish.
The motor can not be put on every boat, but only on the one that has a transom mount. A glued transom is preferable to a mounted transom, the wall thickness for its fastening should be at least 2.5 cm, with a rubber frame and a plastic lining for the motor. Outboard motors should be light, about 5 kg, with a capacity of not more than 5 liters. with., additionally require a hinged transom.
Transom mounting method (for engines up to 5 hp and trapezoid stern of the boat):
- on flexible brackets;
- PVC tapes with lacing;
- metal bracket.
The glued transom is suitable for all types of water-jet engines (gasoline or electric).
It is worth considering that in some bodies of water it is strictly forbidden to use a motor. The list of such lakes and rivers for a particular area can be clarified in the fishing inspection.
Rubber boats are available in 2 versions: with oars and / or with a motor. A rowing (rowing) boat is made with two types of oars, aluminum - they are light but can sink, and wooden - they are heavier, but unsinkable and if they slip out of the mount, they will not sink.
Russia is a leader in the production of boats made of PVC and rubberized fabric. A multi-stage quality control system is the key to the safety of the owner of the watercraft and the absence of problems during operation throughout the entire service life.
According to the "popular" rating, based on the positive reviews of the owners of inflatable boats, one can distinguish the top 5 of the following manufacturers.
- PKF Mnev & K LLC (St. Petersburg) - This company has been manufacturing rubber inflatable boats since 1988. Excellent quality and a wide range of products ranging in length from 2 to 8 meters (more than 70 models), including motor-rowing and motor boats, are very popular with customers.
- Factory "Frigate" (St. Petersburg) - Since 1991, produces rowing inflatable boats and "under the motor." The products are in demand not only among ordinary citizens, but also are supplied to the divisions of the Russian special services, which indicates the reliability and durability of the products.
- LLC "Pilot-SPB" - produces boats, tents, as well as a wide range of components and accessories.
- Solar Company (Novosibirsk) - Since 2006 it has been producing all-weather boats (from Finnish PVC material with improved characteristics).
- Company Intex For many years it has been producing not only boats, but also inflatable furniture, swimming pools, various accessories for relaxing on the water.
Among the models of inflatable boats also have their own popularity rating.
- Intex Explorer 300 (58332) Set - rowing three-seater, with an inflatable bottom and a built-in transom. It gained its popularity due to its low weight (only 3.5 kg), carrying capacity of 182 kg, compact length (about 2 meters). Among the advantages, the owners of this craft note another wide valve, which facilitates blowing. Cons: oars are not long enough, in fact only 2 people fit (by weight), more suitable for water trips than for fishing.
- "Pilot M-290" - weight 32 kg, length 2.90 m, glued transom, rigid movable seats, reinforced cylinders, the set includes oars. Capacity - 3 people of average build.
- Solar (350) - rowing boat with an inflatable bottom, material - reinforced PVC, built-in transom and inflatable keel, valve for draining water, carrying handles, carrying capacity up to 500 kg. Designed for 3 large fishermen or hunters, hard seats, length 3.50 m, weight 52 kg. Minus - a rather weak pump in the kit.
- "Cayman N300" - a motor boat with a carrying capacity of 370 kg (power up to 10 hp), a collapsible bottom, an inflatable keel, an integrated transom, a removable awning, length 3 m, weight 46 kg. Cons - small, 2-seater.
- Intex Seahawk 3 - three-seater with oars made of reinforced PVC, inflatable bottom and seats, carrying capacity up to 300 kg, capacity in fact 2 fishermen, fishing rod holder included, length 2.95 m, weight about 10 kg. The downside is the lack of a keel.
Despite the abundance of models and manufacturers, choosing a suitable boat is quite difficult, because the cheapest boat is not always the worst, and the most expensive is not always better. The choice depends on the individual needs of the future owner.
How to choose?
Choosing an inflatable boat should be based on how it will be operated: hunting or fishing once a month or for tourist rafting on the river every week.
Many buyers take the capacity of a rubber boat as a fundamental factor - of course, this is important, but this is not the main criterion. You should always use the principle of "+1": if the boat is needed for 1 person, it is better to buy a doubleso that, in addition to the captain in full gear, fit fishing tackle, fish bait, a thermos with hot coffee or tea, a container with sandwiches, and a boat repair kit.
It is also necessary to consider what the boat should be equipped with: inflatable keel, oars, motor, hard seat or something else. It is also important at what time of the year the operation of the boat is planned: on a river with a fast current or on a shallow calm lake.
The choice of motor depends on the estimated purchase price, power, maximum speed, maximum load capacity.
The floor of the rubber boat is soft and bends quite easily, it can be strengthened with aluminum or plywood plates or you can choose a ready-made inflatable option. The aluminum floor is light and strong enough, it consists of several parts. This floor is produced for boats longer than 4 m.
A boat with a hard bottom is the so-called RIB, a rigid stable bottom allows you to literally fly above the water at cruising speed. For such a craft, a motor with a minimum power of 15 liters is needed. s., but to transport this boat you will need a trailer.
Fiberglass boats are also available. Such material has a huge advantage - it silently comes into contact with water and does not scare away fish.
Folding boats are the most convenient to operate, which take up relatively little space during transportation and are placed in the standard trunk of a car. A folding boat is produced exclusively with a plastic bottom, if the boat is not folding - better to choose with aluminum bottom.
An inflatable balloon around the perimeter allows the boat to be light and unsinkable. The more insulated sections inside the container, the better: if one of them is damaged, the boat will be inflicted minimal damage, and it will stay afloat.
You should also consider the manufacturer, according to your budget for this purchase. A cheap product will need additional equipment and strengthening the bottom, so it is often more advisable to immediately buy a boat more than a quarter of the cost, but with "native" additional options.
A hard bottom will need to be assembled and disassembled with each inflation and deflation, which is extremely inconvenient to do in frosty weather. Assembled transport can only be carried in a trailer.
An inflatable bottom is an additional layer of material. The motor on a boat with such a bottom can be installed with a capacity of up to 20 liters. with.
Proper operation of an inflatable boat is only half the success; you must also properly store the boat in between use. Ideal is storage in a dry, well-ventilated area, in a slightly inflated form and completely flattened (vertical storage is allowed).
If you plan to store the boat in a folded state, placed in a backpack, then it is necessary to first clean out the debris accumulated inside, rinse it on all sides with a warm soapy solution, let it dry naturally. Then sprinkle the boat with talcum powder and gently twist (without pressure) in the direction from the rear to the bow.
Storage in the garage may adversely affect the product. Mold, rot, the formation of microcracks under the influence of low temperatures in winter is far from a complete list of problems. If there is no other way, after such storage it is necessary to thoroughly wipe with a damp cloth and inflate the boat by half, then let it warm up in a place protected from sunlight (in an open garage or on the street in the shadow of a building or large tree).
A rubber boat is an excellent helper for fishermen and hunters, as well as a good pleasure craft for outdoor enthusiasts.. Before buying, you should study all the nuances of choosing a boat, take into account the current budget and determine the place to store the boat in between use.
A properly selected boat will bring joy to the owner for many years and significantly expand his ability to move around the water during fishing, hunting or leisurely walks.
The video talks about inflatable rubber boats.