Inflatable Boats

Our Guide To Inflatable Boats

A Little History

If you were to discuss the history of inflatable craft, many would announce Zodiac as the designer & creator of the Inflatable Boat as we know it today.

Let’s dig a little deeper and find out where, how and why the inflatable craft idea was first used and made.
The concept of inflatable chambers being used for buoyancy has been around for thousands of years. Most famously – Known as the
Bartang Boat. “Alexander the Great” and his forces beheaded and skinned goats, they sewed up the openings and then inflated the skins through a small opening on one of the goats legs. This clever theory created a form of inflatable transport for “Alexander” and his forces to cross the Oxus River in 329BC
Though this wasn’t an inflatable raft or boat as we know today, the clever adopted theory did in fact create an inflatable chamber buoyant enough for the men to ride on and paddle with their own legs.

Taking a giant leap in years we can see how the skins of animals progressed to early inflatable boats made of rubber.
The first real versions of inflatable rubber boats appeared around the 1840’s.
Lieutenant Peter Halkett designed a collapsible and inflatable boat that could be worn as a waterproof cloak.
This clever designed incorporated a walking stick as an oar and an umbrella as a sail.
Ref = Halkett Boat Cloak

Making use of Mackintosh cloth (Rubberised cloth invented by Charles Mackintosh)

Though you would now start to think of goodyear



A Soft Floor Inflatable Boat, Generally Known As A Sib, A Fully Collapsable Inflatable Boat That Can Be Rolled Up For Ease Of Transport And Storage.
Stacks Image 39


A Rigid Hull Boat With 2/3 or even 4 Sections Cleverly Hinged Together, Creating A Folding Inflatable Boat .

Sharing The Same Characteristics Of A Sib, The F-Rib Can Be Folded Up For Ease Of Transportation And Storage

Stacks Image 37


Stacks Image 41
Stacks Image 35
In the image you will see a variety of inflatable boats, An F-rib with a 3 section folding fibreglass hull. A sib with a hard aluminium floor deck, and a high pressure "V" floor SIB.
All these craft are far more capable than many would imagine. Each craft has it's own advantages and disadvantages.