Choosing a tender for your yacht is very often an underestimated process which may result in unnecessary problems, damage or emergency cases which can be avoided if the right choice is made when purchasing. There are several questions everyone should ask when attempting to buy a tender boat. There are all sorts of dinghies depending on their bottom and sides’ material, motor or paddle ones, but they are typically divided into inflatables and rigid dinghies.
The most important questions you should ask yourself when choosing a tender would be related to the purpose of use, measurements, propulsion, where the tender will be used and how much you would be likely to spend.
Are you going to use your tender for watersport activities like pulling a wakeboard or just to transfer from the yacht to the shore? Are you going to use your small boat to discover new areas or for maintenance of your bigger vessel? Depending on the purpose of use, the type of tender will vary. For example, if you decide to use your dinghy for watersports, you would need a fast one with a relatively big fuel tank, an aerodynamic design and the hull shape will be a key feature. If transportation is the main reason to get a tender you should look for stability, comfort, and space; speed wouldn’t be of such great importance. Exploration tenders should have a good size fuel tank; safety must be a priority. With crew tenders the luxurious experience wouldn’t be what you look for, so the tender must be stable and compact.
Another important point to consider is the size. Very often buyers get a small size to save space and money, but this does not always work to your advantage. It would be a good idea to get a professional on board who is dedicated to tender sales to advise you. When determining the measurement, make sure you consider the capacity you need. How many people can be comfortably seated and transported. Note that many tender accidents have been a result of improper management of people on board verses boat size. Safety must always be your priority.
The next step is to choose the right propulsion system and the right engine power. Consider the fact that jet drives are not good at low speed and is, in comparison to outboards and stern-drives; harder to maintain. Concerning the horse power, you should ask yourself do you really need such a big engine which would increase the cost and the fuel consumption, or if you purchase one which is too small for the size or the usage of the boat, it would result in harder work of the engine.
Another thing to consider is the material of the tender. There are rigid tenders, inflatables, and rigid bottom inflatables, or simply said RIBs. Usually, inflatables take less space; they can be folded or deflated if needed. The majority of times, inflatables are made of either PVC or Hypalon. Note that PVC wouldn’t be your best choice if you are in a humid, hot area with long sunny days. However, it is lighter and less expensive. Hypalon is considered to be heavy-duty and is often used in the construction of RIBs. If you plan to use your tender on a regular basis, Hypalon is the right material to choose.
When buying your tender don’t forget about the accessories – anchor, safety lights, navigation lights, lifejackets and so on depending on the size and purpose of use.
Of course, setting up a budget might lead to some restrictions, but remember that sometimes more money spent now is less money spent in future. It is essential to take some time and put some thought on the purchase of your small boat.