small sailboat tender

Your Guide to Choosing the Best Yacht Tender

Your Guide to Choosing the Best Yacht Tender

A yacht tender is your ticket to freedom on the water. Once you drop anchor, it’s your ride to the fun and adventure that inspired you to buy a boat in the first place. Just imagine watersports, exploring, scuba diving, snorkeling and, of course, just relaxing in the warm sun!

Here’s a quick secret — your yacht tender is the most fun boat you’ll ever own.

We think a dinghy should not only reflect the beauty and precision of a yacht but also have the power and functionality to push fun to the limit. Is there any better way to celebrate dropping anchor than a cold drink and a zoom on the dinghy? Please, let us know if you find something.

Having the right tender lets you enjoy your boating experience to the fullest. There are a few things to consider when picking the best yacht tender for you, so we made this guide to help you through the process. We’ll go over:

  • The benefits of rigid inflatable boats
  • Pricing of small yacht tenders
  • How to pick the right dinghy
  • A brief overview of our models

There are lots of yacht tender options out there, and it’s essential to find the best one for you. Whether you’re looking for the best small boat or superyacht tender, we’ll give you the information you need to find the perfect dinghy for your life on the water. Read on to learn how to pick the perfect yacht tender.

The Benefits of Rigid Inflatable Boats

Rigid inflatable tenders have become the go-to choice for boaters. Here’s the deal.

Safety is always the first priority when you’re on the water. With the ever-changing conditions of an ocean environment, you need a tender that’s prepared to handle it all. There’s a reason the United States Coast Guard, military and police use rigid inflatable boats — they’re extremely seaworthy. The United States Navy describes rigid inflatables as extremely fast and buoyant. It employs them for Navy SEAL extractions and in intense ocean conditions.

Virtually unsinkable and super tough, rigid inflatable boats are hands-down the best choice for those who desire small yacht tenders.

What Do You Mean by Rigid Inflatable Boat?

Commonly called a RIB, a rigid inflatable boat has a hard hull and inflatable tubes for sides. This construction gives rigid inflatables the best of two worlds — they have the indestructible v-hull and tracking of a hard boat and the shock absorption of an inflatable boat. They’re as hardy as they are versatile. For example, we offer Navy-tough tenders with beautiful European craftsmanship that you can’t find anywhere else.

Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat

In addition to their durability, RIBs offer many other advantages. Here are a few more reasons why RIBs represent a smart investment.

RIBs Provide Stability

In a rigid inflatable tender, there’s little risk of tipping over because the inflatable tube and hard hull combination provide excellent stability, which is great for loading and unloading your family and your toys.

Also, the inflatable tubes significantly increase a tender’s capacity rating, meaning you can safely fit more passengers and gear on a RIB than on a hard dinghy. Known as the “Safe Working Load,” or SWL, this capacity is detailed by the manufacturer. To calculate the maximum number of people who should be aboard a small vessel, multiply a vessel’s length by width and then divide the result by 15.

RIBs Demonstrate Impressive Efficiency

Inflatable dinghies are much lighter than hard tenders. Weighing less means they’re much more efficient, and you can pack in a lot more adventure with the same amount of gas. Skip the line at the fuel dock, and head straight into your day.

RIBs Have Exceptional Safety

A great benefit of having an inflatable tender is you don’t have to worry about damage to your luggage or your precious cargo. We all have all experienced that awkward misstep aboard boats. When everything and everyone is moving around in the ocean, you may have trouble not fumbling every once in a while. It’s much nicer to catch yourself on the cushioned tubes of an inflatable than on hard fiberglass — we’ve tested this one!

Inflatable Tender Benefits

When you’re going fast and having fun on the water, you don’t want to worry about safety. Knowing you’re in the safest dinghy lets you relax and focus on your adventure.

The United States Coast Guard has specific safety requirements for all recreational vessels. Adhering to these not only keeps your tender legal, but it also keeps you and your family safe. You can follow a simplified list of requirements.

It’s Easy to Use RIBs

For everyday boating operations, having an inflatable-sided dinghy is the best. You don’t have to deal with fenders or worry about all the bumps and nudges like on a hard tender.

Getting a spot at the dinghy dock often means playing bumper boats. If you have a dinghy with inflatable sides, you don’t damage other vessels, the dock, or your dinghy. Not to mention if you’re dropping someone off or tying up on your yacht, you can leave your dinghy unattended without worrying about damage to your boat.

Sometimes, it’s easier to tow your tender than it is to put it away — like if you’re changing to a nearby mooring or going to a secluded cove for the day. And unlike a hard tender, an inflatable can bounce off your yacht without damaging anything.

Anyone Can Maintain a RIB

Rigid inflatable boats need a lot less maintenance than hard tenders, partially because they’re less likely to get damaged in the first place. Inflatables don’t have fiberglass siding that can get cracks or holes, and their parts are easily replaceable. We offer replacement parts through our website and also have free online owners manuals for every model we carry.

RIBs are also much easier to keep clean than the scuff-prone fiberglass of hard tenders. The tubes are made of high-quality non-absorbent material that lets you easily wash off or wipe down your dinghy to keep it looking nice.

RIBs Are More Comfortable Than Hard Dinghies

Inflatable dinghies are bound to be more seaworthy than hard dinghies. The inflatable tubes absorb shock from wind waves and swell when you’re going fast, which gives you and your family a better ride.

Inflatable Boat Tubes

Did we mention inflatable dinghies are just more fun? The incredible stability of the inflatable sides makes climbing out of the water a lot easier. And when you’re ready to cool off, the tubing makes for the perfect diving platform. You and your family can literally bounce off the walls.

How to Pick the Right Dinghy for You

Basically, choosing the best yacht tender comes down to three things:

  • What tender your yacht can hold
  • How many people will be aboard your tender
  • How you’ll use your tender

Tender Sizing

Determining the right-sized tender for your yacht is an important decision. People sometimes go for the first inexpensive option they see, without realizing just how much time they’ll end up spending on their tender — but keep in mind, tenders are the unsung heroes of the boating world.

It depends on how you want to use your dinghy, of course, but a good rule of thumb is if you can go bigger, go bigger. You don’t want to overdo it, but people sometimes underestimate the size of the dinghy they’ll need and have to upgrade later. Leave yourself some extra leg room and you, your family and your guests, including loyal pets, will be happier in the long run.

Here’s what to consider when choosing the size of your tender.

What Size Dinghy Can Your Yacht Carry?

The size of your storage area is often a good indicator of how large your dinghy should be. If you’re not sure what size dinghy is best suited to your yacht, measure the tender storage area or contact your dealer — they will give you the specifications of your dinghy storage and a suitable range of tender sizes.

Dinghy Storage Area

Also, keep in mind what the type of storage area for a dinghy on your yacht. If you have a dedicated dinghy garage where it will be out of the way when not in use, you don’t have to worry about getting the maximum size. But if your dinghy storage is on a hydraulic swim step, keep in mind you’ll need enough room to function around the dinghy while it’s aboard.

How Many People Will Be Aboard Your Yacht Tender?

If your yacht has room for a lot of passengers, you’ll probably want a dinghy that can transport a lot of people, too. When you’re doing ship-to-shore transportation for you and your guests, you don’t want to make five trips to the dock and back. Choose a tender that can hold enough passengers and cargo.

Again, assuming you have enough room to store it, we recommend assessing your dinghy needs and then considering the next size up to leave room for any extra guests, luggage or toys you may want to bring along. Extra space not only helps you operate your dinghy more safely, but it also leaves room for comfort.

What’s the Purpose of Your Dinghy?

That’s easy — fun! Pick your pleasure.

Are you all about watersports and exploration? Water skiing and searching for secluded beaches to relax the day away or scuba diving on beautiful reefs? Or maybe you’re just looking for a stable and dry ride to shore to shop, dine and discover. Whatever it is you like to do, a proper tender gets you into the mix.

Once you decide how you want to use your dinghy, you’ll have a better idea of which one you’ll want. If you like watersports, maybe a model with a little more size and power will suit you. If you just want a comfortable, dry ride to shore, maybe you’d prefer a model that’s smaller and quiet.

By the way, kids love dinghies — it’s a fact. Inflatable dinghies are awesome for towing the kids around on inflatable water toys, and they’re also a great way to teach the young ones how to drive a boat. But be careful — you’ll be asking “permission to come aboard” before you know it.

A Step-by-Step Review of How to Pick Your Yacht Dinghy

Follow these five steps to ensure you pick your RIB correctly:

  • Determine the size of tender your boat can handle.
  • Estimate the number of passengers and how much gear you’ll carry.
  • Figure out how you want to use your tender.
  • Browse and pick your favorite model .
  • Hit the open seas.

Tender Pricing Vs. Quality

There are cheap dinghy options out there, but you often get what you pay for. A proper tender is not only a representation of your yacht but an integral part of your boating experience. The yacht may do the heavy lifting on a voyage, but the dinghy is your transportation once you’re on anchor or a mooring.

If you work hard to create a luxurious atmosphere on your yacht, you’ll want a dinghy that reflects the same attention to detail that you expect from a precision watercraft. Our tenders are all about functionality without sacrificing style. We know a quality dinghy is essential to your yacht — that’s why we don’t cut corners. We pride ourselves on using the latest technology with only the best materials and precision European craftsmanship.

What Dinghy Models Does BRIG USA Offer?

We manufacture all of our tenders in our 100,000-square-feet headquarters in Europe . A team of industry experts — including ex-military and aeronautical engineers — seasoned craftsmen and designers make sure that no detail is overlooked. We take pride in knowing we produce premium dinghies for amazing adventures around the world. We have a wide range of tenders to choose from to match your needs and preferences:

  • Our Falcon Tender series ranges from 9 feet 6 inches to 15 feet 10 inches and can carry four to nine people, or 500 to 2,645 pounds. This series is the smaller range of tenders that we offer, but make no mistake — they have the power to get the job done and look good doing it.
  • Our Navigator series is a step up in size from the Falcon series. They range from 15 feet 11 inches to 24 feet and can carry eight to 10 people, or 2,315 to 3,960 pounds. This line of tenders has increased size and range for bigger yachts and even more passengers, gear and good times.
  • The Eagle series is our flagship line. With unparalleled design and function, they range from 11 feet 2 inches all the way to 32 feet 6 inches and can carry from four to 20 people, or 1,320 to 6,173 pounds. On our larger models, you won’t feel like you’re on a dinghy — they have the capacity, range and comfort for a full day of fun with the whole gang. No joke — these tenders turn heads.

Who Makes the Best Rigid Inflatable Boats? Find Them at BRIG USA

Yes, we’re biased. But for good reason — our dealers have the largest inventory of inflatable boats in the United States and the best inflatable yacht tenders. No one matches our prices or quality.

We have several options for high-quality dinghies for your needs and your price point. We offer premium quality at competitive pricing.

No matter what you’re looking for, BRIG USA has the right tender for your yacht. Check out our models and get out on the water.

Privacy Overview

small sailboat tender

You need a dinghy; why not one that can save your life?

You’re free to have fun on the water when you, your family, and your crew are safe. Portland Pudgy, Inc has re-imagined the dinghy in the context of safety at sea, and come up with something really new. A rugged, unsinkable dinghy you can row, motor, sail , and even use as a lifeboat. The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy makes boating even more fun, by making it safer.

small sailboat tender

The sail kit makes your Portland Pudgy a fun, safe sailing dinghy. The stability and buoyancy designed into the Portland Pudgy make it safe and sea-friendly as a recreational sailing dinghy for the whole family. The Pudgy takes surprisingly rugged seas and wind for a boat its size…

small sailboat tender

The Portland Pudgy is a rugged, unsinkable self-rescue boat, even without the inflatable exposure canopy and other survival gear. With the canopy and sail, the Portland Pudgy is a dynamic lifeboat. Unlike inflatable life rafts, the Pudgy can’t deflate, and you can sail, row, or motor to safety…

What is the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy?

The Portland Pudgy is a multifunction boat that was designed as a yacht tender and unsinkable, dynamic lifeboat for blue water sailors that can be sailed to safety. The resulting stability, buoyancy, ruggedness, roominess, and “unsinkability” designed into the Portland Pudgy make it unparalleled as an everyday tender, a safe and sea-friendly sailing dinghy, and a great all-around rowboat/motorboat. The Pudgy is a self-contained unit: all accessories, including the oars, sail kit, and exposure canopy, stow within the storage space in double hull of the boat with room to spare.

small sailboat tender

Recreational Small Boat for Sailing, Fishing, Hunting, Diving

Unlike inflatable boats, the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy is a joy to row. It can be rigged out as a fun sailing dinghy. It’s a safe and fun recreational sailing dinghy for the whole family. It’s stable and difficult to capsize, but if you manage to, it’s very easy to right, and comes up dry. No need to wait for rescue (as with some recreational sailing dinghies, like the Opti). The entire sail kit stows neatly out of the way in the interior of the double hull (rudder and leeboards under seats). Because the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy is so stable, rugged, and tracks so well when rowed or motored, it’s also a great fishing boat or duck hunting boat, and a great platform for nature photography and diving. See Sailing Dinghy.

small sailboat tender

Self-Contained Unit

All of the accessories, oars, sail kit (including telescoping mast and boom), inflatable exposure canopy, sea anchor, ditch bag, provisions, and more, can be stowed within the boat via the five watertight hatches.  This is very convenient in your everyday dinghy or sailing dink.  It’s an extremely important safety feature of the Portland Pudgy lifeboat. All of your equipment is there in an emergency.

small sailboat tender

Dynamic Lifeboat

The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy is a self-rescue boat, even without the optional inflatable exposure canopy and other survival gear. With the exposure canopy, sea anchor, and sail kit, the Portland Pudgy is an unsinkable, dynamic lifeboat. Unlike inflatable life rafts, the Pudgy cannot deflate, and you can sail, row, or motor this rugged self-rescue boat to shipping lanes or land.

small sailboat tender

Everyday Yacht Tender, Rowboat, Motorboat, Rugged Workboat

The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy is the safest, most rugged yacht tender on the market to row, motor, tow and carry. It tracks perfectly and moves along nicely with a small motor. The Pudgy is extremely buoyant and has huge carrying capacity, both in the roomy cockpit and inside the storage compartments in the double hull. The Portland Pudgy (7′ 8″, 128 lb., USCG-approved as a rowboat and motorboat for 4 people) is designed and manufactured (in the USA) to be an exceptionally rugged, stable, unsinkable boat. Its pram shape allows it to fit on the deck of many cruising sailboats. This small boat is so stable you can stand up and walk around in it. The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy has all the benefits of inflatable boats and RIBs (rigid inflatable boats), without the risk of deflation. There is no need for an unsightly, expensive, and deflation-prone RID kit (“dinghy dogs”) with the Pudgy: it’s an unsinkable boat, with built-in buoyancy. See Yacht Tender/Dinghy.

Live-aboards  Teresa Carey and Ben Erickson Carey  sent us this wonderful video about their Portland Pudgy. Lots of great sailing shots.  Deliberately flipping the Pudgy (:33) and then easily righting it (2:00). Inflating the exposure canopy using the alternative method (hand pump) and using it as a dodger (1:15). Sleeping in the Pudgy. Lots of shots that show how stable and roomy it is. And lots just showing what a fun little boat it is.


The Ultimate Guide to Dinghy Tenders: From Affordable Options to Luxurious Choices

  • The Ultimate Guide to Dinghy Tenders: From Affordable Options to Luxurious Choices

Ever wondered how to get from your yacht to shore without the hassle? Or perhaps you're a sailing enthusiast looking for a compact way to venture into shallow waters? Dinghy tenders might just be the answer to all your needs. Let's delve into the fascinating world of these small but essential boats, and explore why having a good tender is more than just a luxury—it's a necessity.

Types of Dinghy Tenders

Small tender boat.

The small tender boat is the bread and butter of the tender world. Think of it as your go-to vehicle for quick errands; it's agile, easily maneuverable, and can be powered by rowing, outboard engines, or even sails.

Sail Tenders

Want a more traditional, wind-powered experience? Sail tenders offer just that. These tenders are equipped with a sail and provide a uniquely thrilling way to explore coastal areas.

Sailing Tenders

If you're looking for the ultimate sailing experience, sailing tenders take it a notch higher by combining the features of motor and sail tenders. These are ideal for those who want versatility on the water.

Yacht Dinghy

When you're cruising on a yacht, a dinghy serves as your secondary boat, allowing you to anchor offshore and still visit the marina, go fishing, or explore secluded beaches.

Affordable Options

Cheap tender boat.

Who says you have to break the bank to own a tender? Cheap tender boats are budget-friendly options that serve their purpose well, without the frills.

Blow-up Yacht

Inflatable boats, or "blow-up yachts," offer an affordable and portable solution. These tenders can easily be stored and are perfect for occasional use.

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Inflatable boat top view isolated on white background. 3d rendering.

High-End Choices

Best cruising dinghy.

If you're in the market for something more luxurious, a cruising dinghy offers advanced features like more comfortable seating, better handling, and advanced navigation systems.

Best Yacht Tender

If you have a penchant for the finer things in life, choosing the best yacht tender to complement your yacht is crucial. These tenders offer advanced safety features, elegant designs, and premium performance.

The Role of Davits

Importance of davits for tenders.

Davits are essentially crane-like devices used for lifting your tender out of the water. They are integral in ensuring that your boat remains safe and secure.

Types of Davits

From manual to hydraulic, there are various types of davits each serving unique purposes and needs. Make sure to choose the one that fits your boat and lifting requirements.

Inflatable Sail: An Overview

What is an inflatable sail.

Imagine a sail that can be inflated and deflated at your convenience. Inflatable sails offer that flexibility, making them excellent for limited storage spaces.

Benefits of Using Inflatable Sail

Besides saving space, inflatable sails are generally easier to manage, making them ideal for beginners and pros alike.

Sailing Yacht A Tender

Exploring the unique sailing yacht a tender.

The Sailing Yacht A tender is a marvel of modern design and technology. With its distinctive features, it stands out as a symbol of luxury and innovation.

Special Features

From state-of-the-art navigation systems to luxurious interiors, the Sailing Yacht A tender offers a once-in-a-lifetime boating experience.

Choosing the Right Tender

Factors to consider.

From size to power source and additional features, numerous factors should be considered when choosing the right tender for your needs.

Maintenance Tips

Routine checks and proper storage are key to keeping your tender in tip-top shape. Don't forget to also inspect the sails, engine, and any other movable parts.

Places to Buy Tenders

Whether online or in-store, buying a tender involves careful research and consideration of various options available.

Online vs In-Store

While buying online offers convenience, purchasing in-store allows you to get a feel of the product.

Safety First

Don't skimp on safety measures. Always have life jackets and a first aid kit on board, and make sure to follow all maritime rules and regulations.

Popular Brands

Some of the well-known brands in the dinghy tender market include Zodiac, Walker Bay, and West Marine. Each offers a range of options to suit various needs.

DIY: Making Your Tender

If you're a hands-on person, consider building your own tender. It's not only cost-effective but also a rewarding experience.

Eco-Friendly Options

From electric engines to recycled materials, there are sustainable choices to consider when purchasing or building a tender.

Understanding Tender Sizes

While we've talked a lot about features and types, it's also important to note that size does matter when it comes to choosing a tender. How much room do you have for storage? Are you going to be the only person using it, or do you plan on having guests? Understanding your size needs is crucial to making an informed decision.

Accessories for Your Tender

To make your experience even more enjoyable, consider investing in some accessories. From built-in fishing rod holders to storage compartments and even Bluetooth speakers, accessories can elevate your boating experience. However, don't go overboard; only add accessories that you'll use regularly.

Marine Laws and Regulations

Don't forget to keep yourself updated on marine laws and regulations. Depending on your jurisdiction, you might need specific permits or licenses to operate a dinghy tender. It's always better to be informed and prepared rather than facing penalties later.

Weather Conditions and Tenders

Operating a tender in calm waters is one thing, but what about when the weather is less than ideal? Certain tenders are better equipped for rough conditions, with features like reinforced hulls and better stability. Be mindful of where and when you'll be using your tender to make sure it suits all conditions.

Community and Clubs

Joining a community or a club dedicated to sailing or yachting can be an excellent way to gain knowledge and share experiences. You'll find seasoned sailors who can offer advice, and you may even get a chance to see different types of tenders in action before making a decision.

Used vs New Tenders

When budget is a concern, opting for a used tender can save you some money. However, be sure to thoroughly inspect the boat for any signs of wear and tear or potential issues. On the flip side, new tenders come with warranties and are less likely to have problems, although they do cost more.

Resale Value

If you're viewing your tender as an investment, consider its resale value. Premium brands and well-maintained boats tend to hold their value better than cheaper or less-known brands. Do your research to ensure you're making a wise investment.

Test Drives

Just like you wouldn't buy a car without test-driving it, you shouldn't buy a tender without giving it a spin. Many dealers and private sellers will allow you to take the tender out for a test. This is a valuable opportunity to gauge its performance and see if it fits your needs.

Tender Training Courses

Are you new to operating a boat or just need a refresher? Consider enrolling in a tender training course. These courses teach you not only how to operate the boat but also important safety measures that could come in handy.

Seasonal Care

Last but not least, consider the seasonal care your tender will need. Will you be using it all year round, or only in specific seasons? Knowing this can help you plan for storage and maintenance, ensuring your tender stays in optimal condition for years to come.

Choosing the right dinghy tender is crucial for any sailing enthusiast or yacht owner. With options ranging from affordable to high-end, and from simple to technologically advanced, there's a tender for everyone. But remember, regardless of the type you choose, safety and maintenance should never take a back seat.

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Faqs about dinghy tenders.

A dinghy tender is used for short trips from a larger boat to the shore or for exploring shallow waters.

Yes, inflatable sails are generally reliable and offer the benefit of easy storage and management.

Yes, with the right tools and skills, building your own tender is possible and rewarding.

Zodiac, Walker Bay, and West Marine are among the popular brands.

small sailboat tender

Call Us: (253) 851-2126 Mon-Fri 9-5 Pacific Time

Gig Harbor Boat Works logo showing a stylized classic rowboat

Yacht Tenders

Row. Sail. Motor. Our traditional-style yacht tender dinghies are made for more than just ship-to-shore.

12' Point Defiance

Classic Beauty with Modern Versatility

Gig Harbor Boat Works is the builder of a unique line of premium small boats for rowing and sailing. Our yacht tender dinghies are modern fiberglass versions of traditional working boats, used by people who earned their living using only wind and oar.

Back in the days of working sail, a good ship-to-shore dinghy could make or break the tradesmen who ferried cargo and passengers from tall ships into port. A dinghy had to be tough, stable, and forgiving in a variety of weather conditions. 

We’ve updated these classic designs in lightweight yet durable fiberglass composites. The result is a convenient, low-maintenance tender that is easy and fun for modern boaters to use. While you can use our dinghies with an outboard motor for quick ship-to-shore runs, the fantastic rowing and sailing performance also makes for a boat you’ll enjoy in its own right.

small sailboat tender

Made in the USA: Gig Harbor, WA

small sailboat tender

Our Heritage

Gig Harbor Boat Works is a local homegrown company founded in 1986. We are small craft specialists, using our experience as boaters and craftsmen to create boats that combine traditional design with modern materials and conveniences.

Almost 40 years later, our boats are still proudly built here in Gig Harbor, WA and we are recognized for excellence in the small craft community worldwide.

Our History >>

Our tenders are made for more than just good looks… they’re built for folks who really want to get out there and enjoy everything that life on the water has to offer. For instance, our rugged designs, durable fiberglass construction, and low maintenance finishes are ideal for yacht owners who don’t want to fuss over their tender… yet want it to be ready for action when you are.

Our standard dinghies come with a durable vinyl trim  — but wood trim upgrades are available for those who prefer some showstopping brightwork to complement your mother ship.

small sailboat tender

Our Best Yacht Tender Dinghies

Every dinghy in our model line has both rowing and sailing capabilities. All can be paired with a 2hp outboard motor. However, there are subtle differences that give each one a unique purpose, suiting a different type of boater.  Read the short descriptions below and see which one sounds most like you. We love talking with you about how you envision using your boat, so contact us if you’d like help selecting the best boat for you!

12' Point Defiance

12' Point Defiance

An incredibly versatile dinghy equally well-suited to rowing or sailing, beamy enough for comfort while fishing or crabbing. No sliding seat, but can be rowed solo or tandem on fixed seats. With a 4-person capacity, it’s popular for families with kids or as a tender for larger yachts.

10' Navigator

10' Navigator

Designed for optimal sailing and rowing performance, and can be used as a yacht tender for up to 3 people at a time. A convenient size for suspending from davits or sidemounting on your yacht’s transom, and excellent for towing. Weighs only 90 lbs in standard fiberglass, or 75 in our lightweight kevlar foam-core composite!

14' Whitehall

9.5' Captain's Gig

Our most stable small dinghy, particularly when paired with inflatable sponsons . Ideal for motor or trawler yachters who still want to get out rowing or sailing.  The broad transom makes the boat feel less “tippy” than other traditional dinghies, and also makes it great for outboard motoring.

8' Nisqually

8' Nisqually

The best-performing 8′ rowboat you’ll find anywhere, hands down. Can transport up to 3 people and weighs only 75 lbs in standard fiberglass, or 65 lbs in our lightweight kevlar foam-core composite. If you’re short on space and are limited to an 8′ tender, this is the one you’ve been looking for.

14' Whitehall

14' Whitehall

The classic ship-to-shore vessel originally designed to transport cargo and passengers on New York Harbor in the 1800s. Tracks exceptionally well for efficient rowing that makes the most of each pull on the oars. Our version includes a built-in sliding seat, ideal for rowing for pleasure or exercise.

Ship to Shore . . . and More

Tender Features:

Rowing, sailing and motoring capabilities (rated for 2hp outboard), made from lightweight, durable, and repairable fiberglass, built-in flotation that meets or exceeds uscg standards, configure your tender dinghy to hang from davits, sidemount on a swimstep, store on deck, tuck into a tender garage, or tow behind, tailor your boat to your mother ship with custom colors and finishes, custom options.

We custom build each boat to order, so you can take home exactly the tender you want. Decide what model suits you best, then customize it to fit your unique needs. (We’re here to help when you need us.)

A few popular options:

Gelcoat Color

Our standard rowboat comes in classic white — but we can add gelcoat color to personalize your boat or coordinate it with your mother ship. See color options >>

Get the timeless look of a traditional wood boat by upgrading your boat’s vinyl rubrail to a laminated wood sheer. (Shown here on our 10′ Navigator.) See examples of our custom woodwork >>

Built-In Mounting Hardware

Protect the longevity of your tender by adding reinforcement for side/swimstep mounting, or 4-point lifting eyes for suspension from davits. We also offer consultations on unique mounting challenges you may have, and have even built two-piece “nesting” dinghies for those with limited deck space for tender storage!

small sailboat tender

Curbside Shipping Nationwide

Proudly made in Gig Harbor, WA, carefully packaged, and shipped to your door — from sea to shining sea.

small sailboat tender

"A true multipurpose dinghy"

“The Nisqually is a scaled-down version of a utility boat commonly rented out for recreational purposes during the 1890s. The optional Kevlar-reinforced version…  is exceptionally light and strong; the heavier, solid-fiberglass version is still quite light thanks to its single-skin lapstrake construction. The low-maintenance Nisqually, a capable rower, sailer, and powerboat, is a true multipurpose dinghy.”

– Cruising World

small sailboat tender

Speedy Solo Rowing

“I maintained a GPS-measured 4 knots at a relaxed pace, 4.7 knots at an aerobic-exercise effort, and hit 5 knots in a short sprint.”

– Small Boats Magazine, Apr 2023

small sailboat tender

Impressive Handling

“I was impressed that the boat’s 125 lbs was so easy to handle. Two adults should be able to lift and walk with the boat if that’s required. . . .  a boat that can be launched from and reloaded on a trailer singlehandedly.”

– Small Boats Magazine, April 2023

Lobster Boat Redesign — Update #2

Lobster Boat Redesign — Update #2

Lobster Boat

See our design renderings of the all new Lobster Boat!

Mailbag: Family Diving from a 14′ Whitehall

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Best sailing tender: get a buzz from your boat or boot

  • Toby Hodges
  • July 13, 2022

Want some easy, fun sailing this summer? launched from your yacht or car, the latest sailing tender ideas give that instant sailing buzz. Toby Hodges and Sam Fortescue report

small sailboat tender

While we all crave as much helming pleasure as possible from our cruising yachts, the reality is that after making realistic space, volume and budget compromises, they may not always be that exhilarating on the helm. But once you reach a destination or anchorage, what’s to stop you, your friends or kids getting your hands-on tiller-sailing fix if you can stow the right sailing tender aboard?

You could argue that the development of lightweight, modular or inflatable dinghies in recent years has solved a headache for some yacht owners – now they can go for extra volume, or switch to a multihull perhaps, safe in the knowledge they can get the spray-in-the-face dinghy experience from a tender or toy once anchored.

Stowage space, whether on deck, on davits or in a locker, governs what options are available. In the past the choice has fallen into three categories: a rowing dinghy you can sail, a nesting dinghy, or a sailing inflatable (such as the Tinker Tramp). And while these categories haven’t necessarily changed, the design and technology lately has made the products immeasurably more appealing!

The ability to stow a quick-to-rig toy in the boot or on the roof of the car, has also unlocked the potential to explore a multitude of different sailing waters easily. These designs have brought to sailing what inflatable paddleboards have brought to watersports.

Best sailing tender

small sailboat tender

For cruising sailors, this could be an ideal solution: a stable, lightweight tender that will sail well too

OC Sailing Tender

This has been at the top of my wishlist for tenders for some time, but now the family-run New Zealand company has come out with a rig for this lightweight composite boat that has just doubled the appeal.

OC Tenders was developed by experienced cruising sailors who were after a dry, stable, maintenance-free tender which is light enough to pull up a beach. A wide hull shape with plumb bow and flat run provides stability and volume and early planing ability, while foam sandwich construction makes it solid (puncture free) and light enough to carry. These also happen to be key elements for many modern performance sailing dinghy designs.

OC Tenders is unveiling a new Sailing Tender version this year, a kit which transforms two of its existing tenders into sailing dinghies. The main difference is a centreboard case which attaches to the thwart with a mast step below, neither of which can be removed, but only add 6kg weight. The rest of the sailing components are stored in bags which fit inside the tender, including a 6m mast in two sections, boom (both in 30% carbon), centreboard, rudder, hiking straps and 7.5m2 sail.

OC has a video of the tender surfing along and another of how easy it is to right it if you capsize. The boats weighs 68kg for the 3.3m or 74kg for the 3.5m, while the sailing components add just 15kg. Both are also available in carbon versions (a NZ$4,000 upgrade). The slight catch may be the cost, and that it’s a small company with low production run and high demand.

Price: OC330 from NZ$23,500 (circa £12,000).

Buy it now from octenders

small sailboat tender

Reverso Air is quick to get on the plane. Photo: Armand Dayde

Reverso Air

It may be a nesting dinghy, but there’s nothing clinker-built about the Reverso Air. From the outset, the team behind this pocket beast of a boat were focused on performance, and that is what you get in spades. It has been clocked at 16 knots and readily takes to the plane, surfing down anything from harbour chop to long swell.

Reverso is built in Brittany using advanced composite construction. The 3.40m hull is infused in honeycomb sandwich, for stiffness and light weight, and carbon reinforcing is added where the loads are greatest, such as the mast step. The mast itself is a tube of high-modulus carbon fibre weighing just under 3kg, and the sail is 7m2 of high-tech membrane from Incidence.

Part of the stellar performance comes from the hull shape, designed by Charles Bertrand. A broad beam, flat bottom and deep chines provide stability for sailing with kids and a great platform for planing when a gust blows. “It is the lightness of the boat which makes it fast and efficient, allowing it to accelerate quickly,” says founder Antoine Simon. “Also, the quality of the materials, which give a dynamic response and transmit the forces, especially with the rigid hull.”

The boat is designed to take two grown-ups or an adult and two kids, so you can refine your technique in company if you like. Simon says this makes the boat ideal for teaching kids or going out for a solo burn.

Assembly is pretty simple and can take less than two minutes. The hull is composed of four parts, the heaviest of which weighs 16.8kg. The sections clip together along the coaming using stainless-steel levers. Then you add tension along the bottom of the boat using two Dyneema lines with a 1:14 cascade that puts on 600kg of compression.

When disassembled, the parts nest inside each other, fitting readily into the boot of a family car or an SUV. Measuring 1.45m x 0.92m x 0.72m, the folded boat is also designed for easy fixing to a trailer or towing-ball platform behind a car.

Accessories that improve the storage and use of the boat include a bag, (€490); smaller padded bags for the four mast sections, centreboard, tiller and rudder; a mounting mat to protect the boat on rough surfaces (€170); and a folding beach trolley (€490). And there’s a GPS speedometer (€499), specially designed for mounting at the base of the mast.

Price: Reverso Air €8,913 plus €1,090 shipping.

Buy it now from Sailreverso

small sailboat tender

You don’t have to be a pro to get the AST Foiler skimming the waves. Photo: Sören Hese

Foiling is no longer limited to pros and daredevils. AST’s beautifully designed foiling dinghy makes it possible for almost anyone to experience the exhilaration of flying on water. With a top speed of 25 knots-plus and a really simple control system, it is easy to get airborne.

The key is the mechanical foiling system, which requires no trimming. A foil on each side of the 3.85m hull resembles nothing more than a giant spider’s leg, or a wonky ‘7’. The foils are loose-mounted in such a way that they can cant slightly according to the tack you’re on. When the boat goes about, the leeward foil rises and the new windward foil drops. It requires no electronics or hydraulics – just a bit of elementary physics.

You control the boat using a T-shaped rudder whose foil supports the boat aft and helps keep you balanced while foiling. With foils deployed, the effective beam jumps from 1.58m to 2.10m and the draught from 15cm to 1.10m, giving the boat excellent stability.

AST says the hull will fly from 8 knots of true wind, thanks in part to the lightweight layup, with an overall weight of 55kg. The foils, rudder and mast are all in carbon fibre, while the hull is in a lightweight foam-epoxy sandwich.

With a cool reverse bow, open transom and hiking wings, this boat looks the business. It can support up to 95kg of crew weight, so could in theory take two children. But this is really a solo sailer, designed for thrills and spills. AST offers two different sails, 7.5m2 or 9.5m2.

The foils can be folded flush to the hull for transport., there’s a custom-made aluminium trolley for launching and towing; padded covers for the foils and rudder (€269); and a Velocitek SpeedPuck to measure your speed (€399).

This is not a cheap option… but it is a fun one.

AST also does a non-foiling L12 Lowrider – a 3.82m planing performance dinghy, which weighs just 30kg.

Prices: AST Folier €15,631 inc VAT, L12 Lowrider €8,824 ex VAT.

Buy it now from Ast-yachts

small sailboat tender

IZIBoat is easy to transport and can be assembled in 15 minutes

IZIBoat germinated from a desire to make sailing easy, fun and accessible to all, by creating a catamaran that is ultra fast to assemble (less than 15 minutes). No tools are needed thanks to a neat plug, lock and tension system. While speeds of 14+ knots are reportedly achievable, it is more aimed at accessible sailing, regardless of age or ability. So it can seat four and is intuitive for new sailors thanks to joystick steering – just tilt the stick the way you want to turn.

The brainchild of François Tissier, who dreamed of a dinghy with ease and stability while living in the South Pacific, it took many years of R&D and 11 prototypes. The beach cat measures 500x62cm, so can easily be stored in a garage and its five components weigh 152kg, so it can be transported on the roof of a car or even towed by a bike or e-bike.

Price: from €8,990.

Buy it now from Iziboat

small sailboat tender

LiteboatXP 16 can be rowed or sailed – fast

LiteboatXP 16

This is a fun sailing boat that you can row properly for recreation too. The first Liteboat XP was a 20ft model which we tested four years ago and were so impressed with the sailing ability, we jointly gave it a European Yacht of the Year award. It’s also excellent for rowing enthusiasts. For those still sceptical, consider that it’s drawn by in-demand IMOCA designer Sam Manuard.

The new 5m/16ft model is more compact and lighter still (100kg). There’s no cuddy, but it still sports a sliding rowing seat, carbon oars and outriggers and a catboat-style rig with two part carbon mast and a 7.5m2 boom-less sail. But it’s when reaching with the 6m2 gennaker that you’ll really get the buzz. It converts from sailing to rowing mode in under a minute. It’s an efficient explorer that’s blast to sail, will keep you fit and avoids the need for a smelly, noisy outboard.

Price: from €14,500.

Buy it now from Liteboat

Best inflatable sailing tender

small sailboat tender

The black and yellow Tiwal rocket is designed in Brittany. Photo: Christiane le Port

The original Tiwal 3 is already marking its 10th anniversary, the design having been at the forefront of using drop stitch technology to create a really stiff inflatable. Now the boat has been turbo-charged, tweaked and improved. The result is the Tiwal 3R, with a top speed of 14 knots and a helming position just millimetres off the water.

It comes deflated in two bags weighing around 30kg each (plus a smaller sail bag), and comprises a concave inflatable hull and anodised aluminium ‘exoskeleton’, which transmits the forces from the mast, rudder and daggerboard. It also provides two raised hiking ‘wings’ which allow you to balance the 6m2 or 7m2 sail, tailor-made by North Sails in Xi V2 racing laminate.

The 3R’s performance boost stems from a number of small steps. For instance, the hiking bars have been extended aft so that you can shift weight back when the wind picks up. The aluminium frame is stronger and stiffer for better power transfer, and the hull is a more efficient shape, courtesy of the rail on the stern. The mast and boom are now 90% carbon for lighter weight.

Assembly takes 25 minutes – a little longer than the original Tiwals, because of the additional elements of the frame and control lines, according to founder Emmanuel Bertrand. Experience says there is a bit of fiddly slotting of aluminium tubes together, which can be trickier if sand gets into the joint. The boat is rated for crew up to 200kg, which allows for two adults or one grown-up and two children. Really, though, you want to be sailing this alone at top speed. And with a choice of two sails, you can go out in pretty much any conditions.

Price: from £8,140.

Buy it now from Tiwal

Dutch brand DinghyGo has built a reputation for the reliability of its growing range of sailing inflatables.

They are not performance oriented, but are easy to assemble, have bags of buoyancy and can be stored in two mid-sized bags. The range starts at 2.30m LOA, but the flagship Orca 375 is the latest release, with a 4.8m2 mainsail and a 1.1m2 jib.

The four-piece mast requires three soft stays to keep it aloft, while the foot is anchored through a thwart. With 650kg of payload capacity, you can bring three adults and a heap of camping gear with you.

Price: £4,000.

Buy it now from Dinghygo

Minicat Guppy

The Czech sailor behind the MiniCat brand teamed up with round-the-world sailor Laura Dekker to launch the Guppy.

At 3.00m LOA, it is the smallest boat in the Minicat range, with a capacity for two, but weighs a staggeringly small 26kg itself.

Perched on two big 33cm floats, just a small aluminium frame does the job of supporting the mast and the trampoline. The mast and its 3.9m2 sail is stayed to a short bowsprit, and the whole takes just 15 minutes to put together. Stub keel fins help reduce leeway.

Its light weight makes it eminently portable and easy to stow.

Price: €2,665 ex-VAT.

Buy it now from Minicatamaran

Inflatable Wingfoil

Granted, it can look a bit daft watching middle-aged folk pumping and flapping away while trying to get a giant inflatable wing to lift their mass onto a skinny foil. But once you’ve experienced that feeling of pure flight, silently skimming over the surface, there’s no going back.

Whether for surfing, windsurfing, or even kiting, any solid boards take up valuable locker space. All of which arguably makes an inflatable foil board and an inflatable wing the ultimate in compact sailing fun.

The foils typically disconnect from their masts and pack in protective bags. The inflatable boards can also be used to wingsurf or paddle on in displacement mode. Or try towing one behind a tender – with a foil you only need very small speeds (around 6 knots) and, with practice, you can be surfing a wee wake.

The smaller volume boards better suit surf and wingfoil use and the larger boards are for wing and SUP enthusiasts.

F-One’s Rocket Air is designed around its rigid boards, and range from 75lt (4ft 11in) to 185lt (7ft 11in) and prices from £625-£825.

Buy it now from

Naish, meanwhile, has models of its new Hover board from 80-170lt, which have composite carbon plates on the bottom for the foil join for a stiff ride.

Buy it now from Naishfoils

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Choose the Right Tender

  • By Eric Colby
  • Updated: March 22, 2011

small sailboat tender

How to Choose a Tender

Tenders may just be the Rodney Dangerfields of the yachting world. They’re expected to start and run flawlessly on a moment’s notice and perform myriad tasks during a given trip — everything from ferrying passengers and gear to pulling kids on a wakeboard. And once someone owns a tender, he or she gives it the bare minimum of maintenance and care.

Disrespect notwithstanding, yachtsmen make more than their fair share of blunders when choosing a tender. Errors run the gamut from the wrong size vessel to improper propulsion to poor gear to material mistakes. We talked to the experts to ensure you’re better equipped when selecting your next tender — whether you respect the little boat or not is up to you. Here’s what we found. ** Measuring Up:** The first mistake people often make when choosing a tender is being lazy about taking measurements. They often don’t measure the space available on their boat or the height of the opening if the boat is to be stored in an enclosed area. Other dimensions should also be considered.

“It’s a much more technical sale than people expect,” said Skip Reisert, owner of Tender Care Boats in Fort Lauderdale, Florida ( ). “Someone tells a yacht owner he can fit a 13- foot tender on his boat, but it becomes 14½ feet as soon as he puts up the tilt on the outboard.”

Reisert and other dealers say that tender buyers often come in with the wrong size or even the incorrect brand in mind. It’s often recommended that a yacht owner have the company that installed the davits or hydraulic swim platform come to the boat to recommend a size for the tender.

While a tender might fit dimensionally, don’t forget about the possibility that it can restrict boarding access. If a boat with a beam of 14 feet has a transom door at about the 12-foot mark, having a 12-foot tender blocks that entryway.

You Get What You Pay For: If failing to measure is the first mistake people make during tender selection, being cheap or going too small is definitely the second. In many cases, the tender is one of the last decisions a person makes. Sometimes an owner doesn’t want to spend any more money, and other times he doesn’t want to have to make any more decisions, so he just takes the cheapest thing he comes across.

“There’s almost sticker shock when people see how much these boats cost,” said Jarrett Bryzek of International Yacht Network ( ).

Mission Possible: In addition to measuring, tender buyers need to think about how they’ll use the smaller boat. If it’s going to spend most of its time on the davit or swim platform and rarely be deployed, that’s one thing, but if you know that your tender is going to be in operation frequently, don’t just focus on price.

When a couple or family comes into his facility, the first thing Bryzek does is sit the wife down in a boat. “She says, ‘It’s too small. We can’t fit the kids and the luggage and the golden retriever.’” That way he doesn’t have to try to sell too hard. They see for themselves that they need to choose a boat that’s big enough to meet the requirements of their family.

Added Sunset Inflatables’ Mitch Bernardo of Huntington Beach, California, “I have to remind [owners] that once you get where you’re going, you’re going to spend all your time on your tender.”

Power Trip: With boat size addressed, the next likely mistake is the propulsion system, including the amount and type of power. Most owners want maximum power, which some dealers feel is just an American idiosyncrasy. Because fuel prices are higher in Europe, boaters on the other side of the Atlantic don’t automatically demand the biggest engine they can get.

The overpowering pandemic is especially rampant with new lightweight tenders such as those from Walker Bay and the Nano series by Nautico. On the 12-foot Widebody Nautico series, International Yacht Network recommends a 50-horsepower outboard, but the 12-footer in the Nano series is so much lighter that it needs only a 25-horsepower motor and planes in less time when so powered. On a 14-foot Nano with a towing arch, a 40-horsepower motor was actually faster than a 60-horsepower motor when tested because the bigger one weighed down the boat. Bernardo explained that putting the maximum-size motor on a boat might do more harm than good. “Put a 60-horsepower on a 14-foot tender and it’s well tempered,” he said. “Put on the 75 and the boat can become unruly.”

Conversely, underpowering a boat will make the engine work harder to ferry people back and forth between the mother vessel and shore. If you bought the tender because the dealer told you it has enough power to pull a wakeboarder and it can’t pull your kid up on a board, you’re going to hear about it from Junior.

Bernardo feels that a tender’s transom height also factors into how much power it should have, which makes sense. His rule is that a boat with a 20-inch-tall transom needs at least a 40-horsepower motor while a 12-foot or shorter boat with a 15-inch transom will work better with a 30-horsepower outboard.

If you’re not tied into a specific type of power based on the design of a boat’s garage (see “It’s Launch Time,” below), consider where you’ll be using the tender and what you want it to do when you select the propulsion. Jets are often faster, but they’re also no fun to drive at slow speeds and a little more difficult to get used to because there is no neutral. “You’re oversteering so much your arms are ready to fall off,” Bryzek said with a laugh. Additionally, most service technicians feel that they’re tougher to maintain than outboards or stern-drives. ** Material World:** Virtually all tenders on modern yachts are rigid-hull inflatables, and you need to know the differences in the materials that tubes are made from before making a selection. If you boat in the Northeast, Great Lakes or Pacific Northwest, you can buy a boat made with PVC tubes without worrying and save some money in the process. PVC is less expensive than hypalon, from which many RIB manufacturers make their tubes. If you live in or spend most of your time in a tropical climate, don’t buy PVC. It does not hold up well in strong sun and will cost you money in the long run.

It’s Launch Time: If your boat has a stern garage, certainly a popular design element on a new boat, you need to do a little homework. For example, Fairline doesn’t require it but strongly recommends a Williams jet RIB for its new Targa 50’s garage. If you’re looking for a new tender for a pre-owned yacht that you’ve recently purchased, don’t go to the dealer locked in on a specific tender because it might not be the best fit for your boat.

As with any purchase, a tender decision needs to be seriously considered. “The real key is giving some thought to what’s important,” Bernardo said. So is giving your tender some respect.

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Choosing the right tender for your boat

Choosing the right tender for your boat is crucial to your safety and enjoyment while exploring the open sea with your family.

Choosing the Right Tender for Your Boat

Leaving the rat race behind and setting sail to explore the world with your family is an exciting and fulfilling journey. One of the essential aspects of this lifestyle is having the right equipment to ensure your safety, comfort, and enjoyment. One such piece of equipment is a tender or dinghy for your boat. In this article, we will discuss the various options available, their pros and cons, and how to choose the right tender for your needs.

Table of Contents

What is a tender, inflatable tenders, rigid inflatable boats (ribs), hard dinghies, folding and collapsible tenders, kayaks and paddleboards, size and weight, performance.

A tender, also known as a dinghy, is a small boat used to transport people and supplies between a larger boat and the shore. Tenders are essential for cruisers who anchor or moor their boats away from docks, as they provide a means of getting to and from land. They can also be used for various recreational activities, such as fishing, snorkeling, or exploring nearby islands and coves.

Types of Tenders

There are several types of tenders available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at each type to help you determine which one is best suited for your needs.

Inflatable tenders are lightweight, easy to store, and relatively inexpensive. They are made from durable materials, such as PVC or Hypalon, and can be inflated and deflated as needed. Inflatable tenders come in various sizes and styles, including roll-up, air floor, and high-pressure inflatable floor models.

  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Compact when deflated, making storage simple
  • Generally more affordable than other types of tenders
  • Soft sides can prevent damage to the mothership when coming alongside
  • Can be punctured or damaged by sharp objects
  • May not perform as well in rough conditions
  • Inflation and deflation can be time-consuming

Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) combine the best features of inflatable tenders and hard dinghies. They have a rigid hull, usually made of fiberglass or aluminum, and inflatable tubes around the sides. This design provides excellent stability, performance, and durability while still being relatively lightweight and easy to handle.

  • Excellent performance and stability in various conditions
  • Durable and resistant to damage
  • Can be used for a wide range of activities, including water sports
  • Inflatable tubes provide a soft, forgiving surface when coming alongside the mothership
  • More expensive than inflatable tenders
  • Heavier and more challenging to handle than inflatable tenders
  • Can be more challenging to store due to the rigid hull

Hard dinghies are made from materials such as fiberglass, aluminum, or rotomolded plastic. They are durable, stable, and can handle rough conditions better than inflatable tenders. Hard dinghies are available in various sizes and styles, including rowing dinghies, sailing dinghies, and motorized dinghies.

  • Can be used for a wide range of activities, including sailing and rowing
  • Low maintenance
  • Can be more challenging to store due to their size and shape
  • Can cause damage to the mothership when coming alongside if not handled carefully

Folding and collapsible tenders are designed to be easily stored when not in use. They can be made from various materials, including wood, aluminum, and plastic. Some models fold flat, while others have a collapsible hull that can be disassembled and reassembled as needed.

  • Compact and easy to store
  • Can be more durable than inflatable tenders
  • Can be more expensive than other types of tenders
  • Assembly and disassembly can be time-consuming

While not traditional tenders, kayaks and paddleboards can be used as an alternative means of transportation between your boat and the shore. They are lightweight, easy to store, and can be used for various recreational activities.

  • Can be used for a wide range of activities, including exploring, fishing, and exercise
  • Limited capacity for passengers and supplies
  • May not be suitable for rough conditions
  • Can be more challenging to board and disembark than traditional tenders

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Tender

When choosing a tender for your boat, there are several factors to consider, including size and weight, storage, capacity, performance, durability, and price.

The size and weight of your tender will affect its handling, storage, and performance. Consider the size of your boat and the available storage space when choosing a tender. Smaller, lighter tenders are easier to handle and store but may not perform as well in rough conditions or have the capacity to carry multiple passengers and supplies.

Consider how and where you will store your tender when not in use. Inflatable tenders and folding or collapsible tenders are the easiest to store, as they can be deflated or disassembled and stowed in a small space. Hard dinghies and RIBs may require davits or a dedicated storage area on deck.

The capacity of your tender will determine how many passengers and supplies it can carry. Consider your needs and the size of your crew when choosing a tender. If you plan to use your tender for activities such as fishing or snorkeling, you may also want to consider the available storage space for gear and equipment.

The performance of your tender will affect its ability to handle various conditions and perform tasks such as towing, water sports, or exploring. RIBs and hard dinghies generally offer the best performance, while inflatable tenders and kayaks or paddleboards may be more limited in their capabilities.

The durability of your tender is essential, as it will be exposed to various conditions and potential hazards, such as rocks, debris, and UV exposure. RIBs and hard dinghies are generally the most durable options, while inflatable tenders may be more susceptible to punctures and damage.

The price of your tender will depend on the type, size, and features you choose. Inflatable tenders are generally the most affordable option, while RIBs and hard dinghies can be more expensive. Consider your budget and the features that are most important to you when choosing a tender.

Choosing the right tender for your boat is an essential part of your cruising lifestyle. By considering factors such as size and weight, storage, capacity, performance, durability, and price, you can find the perfect tender to meet your needs and enhance your sailing adventures. Whether you choose an inflatable tender, RIB, hard dinghy, folding or collapsible tender, or even a kayak or paddleboard, the right tender will provide you with the freedom and flexibility to explore and enjoy your surroundings to the fullest.


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    If a boat with a beam of 14 feet has a transom door at about the 12-foot mark, having a 12-foot tender blocks that entryway. You Get What You Pay For: If failing to measure is the first mistake people make during tender selection, being cheap or going too small is definitely the second.

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