Marine News from the Great Lakes

Dinghy Concepts And The Ever-Evolving Inflatable Boat

Published: Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Inflatable boats have come a long way from the early part of the 20th century where they evolved from the airship industry. RFD in England and Zodiac in France began to see the usefulness of the rubber-coated materials that were used in constructing their hydrogen airships. In 1919, RFD began to develop a line of lifesaving rafts that were used by the military, and Zodiac soon followed with a line of inflatable kayaks and catamarans.

The use of inflatable boats became more common in the leisure market when, in the 1950s, diver Jacques Cousteau began to use inflatable boats on his expeditions. Cousteau made the boats so popular that the demand could not be met.

By the 1970s, several other manufacturers hit the market with their own designs and thus began the era of the inflatable boat as an integral part of the leisure marine market. This era continues on today with an evolution that the industry’s predecessors could not have imagined.

Today’s inflatable boats include everything from 7’ sailing dinghies to 30’ center consoles and beyond. There is most definitely an inflatable boat style for every boater.

Dinghy Concepts’ 25 years of experience in the Great Lakes marine industry has brought the staff first hand insight into the ever-changing needs and desires of our inflatable customers. In the ’90s, the demand was mainly for wood floor models that could be rolled up and easily stowed. In the early 2000s, most of our customers desired a smoother ride which translated into more fiberglass rigid bottom boats.

Now, in 2018, boaters want comfort and ease, and the Aventus line of center console and remote steering models offer just that. We have custom packages that will work for almost any need. Looking for a 15’ canal cruiser or a 10’ mini center console? We’ve got it! Our center console inflatables start at 10’ and go up from there.

Call Dinghy Concepts at 586-879-3061 or email [email protected] with any questions.  Or come check out our showroom located in Saint Clair Shores, inside Jefferson Beach Marina on the Nautical Mile!

This article first appeared in the Spring Issue (Mar/Apr) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.




tags: Inflatable Boats, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Service & Repair

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