Inflatable Boats on the beach

How Safe Are Inflatable Boats?

In this article we will show you which safety rules you have to observe when using an inflatable boat in order to avoid serious accidents on the water.

If you pay attention to the safety then the inflatable boat is a lot of fun even for a longer period of time. If you follow our tips here, you will always be safe on the move with your inflatable boat.

General tips for safety with the inflatable boat or kayak

Always carry and not drag

It can be tempting to haul an inflatable boat across a beach to shore. Even if inflatables are made of high-quality and robust materials, you should be careful when handling them to prevent possible cracks – and thus leaks.

Know your route

It’s fun to be spontaneous, but the safest route plan is the one that has actually been planned. Before you get into a rubber dinghy, make sure that you know where to get on and off. You should also know the location of the water on your route, such as stronger currents.

Whether as part of the safety equipment on a ship or as a fun activity with friends on the water – inflatables can be used for a variety of purposes. No matter what an inflatable boat is used for, safety is the be-all and end-all.

Check before starting

Before going out on the open water, it is important to check the inflatable boat for possible problems. Slow leaks can be insidious, and it is a good habit to “bug” the inflatable boat and look for any source of concern.

Maximum capacity

A full boat with friends and family is perhaps part of the reasons many would want an inflatable boat in the first place. The problem is that having everyone on board at the same time can create a dangerous situation. Stick to the capacity recommendations of the inflatable boat and make sure that this number is not exceeded. If you have a large family or many friends with whom you would like to use the inflatable boat, then buy a bigger boat!

Life jackets are a must

Here’s a shocking statistic: most boating deaths are due to drowning, and 90% of victims did not wear life jackets. Children should always wear a life jacket – everyone knows that. It is also recommended that adults wear a life jacket the entire time they are on the dinghy. Even if you are not wearing a life jacket, it is an absolute must to have at least one life jacket with you on the inflatable boat.

Boating behavior

Boating behavior is one of the most important aspects of inflatable safety, but it is often overlooked. Calm and serene boaters are essential to the safety of everyone on the dinghy. Follow local boating laws – different rules apply on different bodies of water. And finally: watch out when drinking and boating, because that can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving a car.

dinghy on the lake

What precautions can be taken to minimize risks?

In order to increase the safety when driving in rubber dinghies and to minimize the risks, some precautions can / should be taken in advance, which we would like to list and explain in the following section:

1.) Get to know the water!

It is very important to get an accurate picture of the water in advance.

You should find out where and whether there are deeper, steeply sloping and / or weedy zones in the water. The flat, stony and / or knotty areas should also be precisely localized and examined, as the sensitive boat skin could be damaged there.

Anyone traveling in a rubber dinghy on the river should also get an idea of ​​the prevailing flow conditions. Most standard inflatables are mostly designed for weak to moderate flow conditions. Here you shouldn’t overestimate yourself, the forces of the currents and your boat.

2.) Always wear a life jacket!

If you go into deep or flowing waters with the rubber dinghy, you should always carry a life jacket with you. In the event of going overboard (which can happen at any time!), A life jacket can be life-saving.

In certain bodies of water (e.g. bathing lakes / quarry ponds) it can suddenly drop very sharply even in the vicinity of the bank. Therefore, a life jacket should always be worn here as well.

Tip: There are now strikingly colored life jackets that are also equipped with special reflectors. A rescue can also be facilitated by the conspicuous signal colors.

inflatable boat

3.) Buy inflatables with several air chambers!

It can happen at any time that the inflatable boat scrapes unhappily over the bottom of the water and is damaged in the process. When navigating deeper and larger bodies of water, this can quickly lead to a very risky situation.

It is therefore very important that the inflatable boat has several separate air chambers. In the event of damage, only one air chamber will (hopefully) lose air – the other air chambers, on the other hand, remain intact and allow a (short) onward journey.

Important: If this occurs and the boat has been taken out of the water, it should be repaired immediately. Under no circumstances should you continue driving with a damaged boat.

Tip: There are now a large number of inflatable boats that have a tether running all the way around – this tether can be very helpful in the event of an over-borrowing (to hold on to it or to get back into the boat).

4.) Never ride a dinghy alone + take your mobile phone with you!

It is also important that you do not go out alone in the dinghy if possible. There should always be one or more accompanying persons with you in order to be able to help in the event of an accident. This rule should be heeded especially in bad weather and water conditions.

A cell phone should always be taken with you so that you can call for help in an emergency. It should of course be kept in a waterproof bag.

Conclusion

If you heed the above tips, use common sense and do not expose yourself to unnecessary risks, you will surely have a lot of fun with rafting.

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