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Top 15 Tenders and RIBS

an image of the best top 15 tenders and ribs

Top 15 Tenders and RIBs

Here’s a look at some of today’s top tender and rib builders and their models., zodiac pro 6.5.

Zodiac Pro 6.5 top tenders and Ribs from Southern Boating

Achilles HB-315DX

Top 15 Tenders and RIBs Achilles-HB315DX from Southern Boating

Airship 340

Airship-340 from Southern Boating's Top Tenders and RIBs

Hyfoil Foiling RIB 28

Hyfoil foiling RIB 28 in the Top 15 Tenders and RIBS

  Argos Nautic 305 Yachting

Top 15 Tenders and RIBs Argos-Nautic-305-Yachting from Southern Boating

  Avon Seasport 400 Deluxe

Caribe nautica dl11, highfield cldl360.

Highfield-CLDL360 from Southern Boating Top 15 Tenders and RIBs

Mercury 320 Aluminium

Southern Boating's Top 15 Tenders and RIBsMercury-320-Aluminum

Technohull Omega 45 

Technohull-Omega-45 Top Tenders and RIBs from Southern Boating

Ribcraft 5.85

Top Tenders and RIBs from Southern Boating, the RIBCRAFT 5.85

Sealegs Electric E4

Sealegs-Electric-E4 from Southern Boating Top Tenders and RIBs

Walker Bay Venture 14

Walker Bay Venture 14 Top 15 Tenders and RIBs

 Williams Sportjet 435

Top 15 Tenders and RIBs Williams-Jet-Tenders-Sportjet-435


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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.

So  what  are  you   waiting   for ?  Take  a  look   at   our   range   of  charter  boats  and  head  to  some   of   our  favourite     sailing   destinations .  

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 yacht with tender

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

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Yacht Tenders

Row. Sail. Motor. Our traditional-style 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 yacht with tender

Our Best Yacht Tenders

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.

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 yacht with tender

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 yacht with tender

Made in the USA: Gig Harbor, WA

small yacht with 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 >>

Curbside Shipping Nationwide

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

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"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 yacht with 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 yacht with 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

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Mailbag: Family Diving from a 14′ Whitehall

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We're always happy to chat with you about what you're envisioning. No haggling, no high-pressure sales pitch.

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small yacht with tender

Take Adventure on the Water to a Whole New Level

The advanced Falcon Tender Series from BRIG USA emphasizes the “recreation” aspect of recreational boating — and our spry, nimble 9’6″ inflatable boat is a perfect example. We’ve redesigned the Falcon 300 to include a host of innovative features that will make spending a day or weekend on the water more enjoyable than ever.

Designed to transport up to four passengers in comfort, this small tender boat is perfect for adventure seekers or family excursions. Whether you’re looking to explore, entertain or just unwind after a stressful week at the office, the Falcon 300 allows you to get away from it all — and have a fantastic time you’ll want to repeat again and again.

Weighing only 144 pounds when fully equipped and with a maximum payload of just 1007 pounds, this 9’6″ inflatable boat is the lightest in our Falcon Tender lineup — and the most agile. You’ll experience the thrill of skimming atop the water as you deftly maneuver around the plodding vessels in your path. At a width of just over five feet, you’ll also be able to squeeze through narrow openings or navigate through crowded waters with ease.

You’ll also appreciate the Falcon 300’s eye-catching style. The exterior scheme features contrasting colors that make the vessel stand out. The beautiful Mirasol fabric on the seats will draw rave reviews from your passengers. While the Falcon 300 may not be the biggest boat on the water, it will surely attract the most attention.


9′ 6″

5′ 5″

Falcon 300

Designed for Today’s Boating Enthusiasts

Expertly designed and crafted in Europe, our 9ft RIB tender includes advanced engineering, high-quality materials and an assortment of features that maximize the user and ownership experience. Examples include the tube stern end steps and bow step plate with integrated chrome-finish navigation lights. The deluxe folding bench seat and console side seat provide ample room for up to four passengers.

We’ve fitted all Falcon 300 tenders with davit lifting eyes which you can locate relevant to your yachts davit lifting points. Raising and lowering the fully inflated boat is a breeze. You’ll also receive a foot pump that speeds up and simplifies the inflating process — you’ll have your small tender boat ready for your next adventure in no time.

Full custom options are available to integrate with your yacht. The advanced steering system and console improve the tender’s navigation experience and make it even more operator-friendly. We can also install Hypalon ORCA Fabric on the seats that resists the sun’s harmful UV rays, protects against abrasions and extreme heat and enhances the vessel’s visual appeal. You can even choose seats with stowage to increase your storage capacity.

Falcon 300 Luxury Tender

Contact Us to Learn More About the Falcon 300

Our extraordinary 9ft RIB boat for sale will change the way you feel about spending time on the water — for the better. You and your passengers will have a memorable adventure that “landlubbers” can only imagine. Contact BRIG USA to learn more about the Falcon 300 today!

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Choose the Right Tender

  • By Eric Colby
  • Updated: March 22, 2011

small yacht with 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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11 Tenders That Might Be Even More Fun Than Your Superyacht

These tenders range from a classic wooden aquarama to limousine models to advanced electric hydro-foilers., julia zaltzman, julia zaltzman's most recent stories.

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Pascoe TL Limousine Tender

About 60 tenders of all stripes and sizes were on display at last month’s Monaco Yacht Show , from Novamarine’s Black Shiver 160, stretching 56 feet in length (too large for most superyachts to carry on board) to the small 26-foot Lanéva Dayboat, built for performance with a responsive, electric drivetrain.

These days, most superyachts over 120 feet carry at least two tenders on board. Twenty years ago, when the average superyacht size was closer to 80 feet, that would’ve meant a RIB for the crew and a Boston Whaler for guests. Today, it’s not uncommon for gigayachts over 250 feet to have much larger, elaborate limousine tenders with a roof that slides over the cabin, an open sports tender for convenience, and even a Zodiac for heading into remote regions.

The 303-foot Tatoosh , built by Nobiskrug in 2000, was among the first yachts with a deck that carries two 39-foot tenders: a Hinckley motoryacht and a Frers daysailer. It also holds three other tenders, a safety boat and four Sea-Doos. Meanwhile, the 296-foot classic yacht Nero , also on display last month at the Monaco show, brings glamor to any occasion with its custom-built wooden Corsair tender. At the futuristic end, America’s Cup Emirates Team New Zealand last year launched a hydrogen-fuel-celled tender, Chase 0 , to show that emissions-free hydrogen fuel cells could be a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

“Many superyacht owners and project managers are looking to tender manufacturers to bridge the gap between performance and ocean preservation,” Mark Pascoe, founder of Falcon Tenders, told Robb Report, noting the company uses the latest hybrid and electric propulsion in its tenders.  Sustainability is indeed a big theme for tender manufacturers, and many new electric runabout builders are out to convince yacht owners that they can offer the same performance and comfort as a conventional tender, but without the emissions.

In the end, however, there are really just two types of tenders: Those designed to fit into a yacht’s garage, or those that serve as shuttles from the owner’s home port to the mothership.

That means styles and sizes are very much up to the owners. Here are 10 of our favorites, from the Tyde electric hydro-foiler to Riva’s iconic mahogany Aquarama.

Hodgdon Limousine

small yacht with tender

Heading for a shipyard in Northern Europe to be paired with a superyacht, Hodgdon’s new Limousine has accommodations for up 15, with both forward and aft outside seating areas, a wetbar, climate-controlled interior and a T-top that lowers for when the tender is stowed in the yacht’s garage. It also has gyro stabilizers to minimize motion sickness. The Michael Peters’ design looks more like a Downeast express cruiser than a traditional limo. The deep-V hull is fast and designed for stability in rough water, while the twin Volvo D4-320 engines deliver speed when necessary. The Maine shipyard’s dedication to quality is seen throughout the yacht, including the stainless on the exterior and custom upholstery inside. Even the Hodgdon signature flush anchor is custom fabricated.

Compass Limousine for Oceanco ‘H3’

small yacht with tender

Custom-built for the 344-foot Oceanco H3 (ex-Al Mirqab and listed among the 25 largest yachts in the world) this 36-foot limousine bears subtle styling characteristics taken from the mothership’s exterior design, including the window shape and hard-top detailing. The cabin features custom leather seating, stainless-steel trim, leather paneling, and a geometric teak floor. There is also an integrated AV system, ambient lighting and forward-facing cameras that display the tender’s journey on twin screens. Access to the cabin is through sliding glass doors fore and aft, while an electric sliding-glass roof opens the interior to the outdoors.

Falcon Project KD

small yacht with tender

Making its world debut in Monaco last month was Project KD from British builder Falcon Tenders . The custom 32-foot limousine tender was commissioned by the owner of a 210-foot Sanlorenzo yacht due to deliver next year. The fully finished exterior has fiber-optic light lines by Fibr8, powered by lasers to evenly emit light over long distances. The interior design remains under wraps until the unveiling next year. But if Falcon’s recent tenders, the Miss Wonderly and Miss Le Blanc, are anything to go by, the quality of build as well as features like the leather upholstery with its intricate hand-stitched seams, will make Project KD a tender worth waiting to see.

Brabus Shadow 300

small yacht with tender

Available in two models—a Cross-Bow or Cross-Top—the Brabus Shadow 300 is designed with powerboat enthusiasts in mind. Agile and easy to handle, the 25-foot sportster makes a good superyacht tender. The top speed of 50 knots, thanks to a Mercury 300R V8 racing engine, assures swift passage from the yacht to port. It’s also a great boat for watersports since it’s fitted with a pole for water-skiing, inflatable towing and wakeboarding. Not big enough? Its 38-foot Shadow 900 Black Ops Boat certainly provides a larger and very different look. 

J-Craft Torpedo ‘BaBeBi’

small yacht with tender

Turning heads at both Cannes and Monaco this year was J-Craft’s 42-foot Torpedo BaBeBi . The Swedish builder’s first Torpedo with a metallic-colored hull sports a beautiful brass and off-white interior enhanced by diamond stitching. It’s twinned with serious functionality, capable of sailing in open water and certified to withstand 13-foot waves. Taking over 9,000 man-hours to build and fitted with two Volvo Penta IPS 650s, BaBeBi delivers a top speed of 47 knots. Equipped with lithium batteries for a full day on the water with the engines off, it has a 280-nautical mile range, a convertible open cockpit with two sundecks, and sleeps up to four guests for weekend retreats.

Cockwells ‘Titian ‘Tender

small yacht with tender

The custom 34-foot Titian tender built by U.K.-based Cockwells is equipped with old-school features like specially cast stainless-steel fittings on the exterior and a Corian and copper galley belowdecks. Its advanced electronics include a virtual anchor and touchscreen digital switching system. Powered by a highly maneuverable twin jet drive, the Titian played a starring role in fashion brand Michael Kors’s 2022 advertising campaign called ‘The Thrill of the Chase’, which saw Bella Hadid aboard the tender on London’s River Thames with Alton Mason in hot pursuit. Finished to superyacht quality standards, Titian won the “Pre-1980s” category of the Concours d’Elégance at last year’s Cannes Yachting Festival. Cockwells also has other mutliple designs under its sleeve. It recently showed a 39-foot hydrofoil limousine that can theoretically cruise at 40 knots. 

Riva Aquarama

small yacht with tender

No tender round-up is complete without mentioning the Riva Aquarama —the most famous of all Carlo Riva’s designs. The Italian builder’s iconic luxury wooden runabout saw a limited run of 281 Aquarama Normals and Supers between 1962 and 1972, when Riva still owned the shipyard, and then 277 more, called the Special, were built in the next two decades. The Aquarama’s speed, grace, and craftsmanship make it a much-desired primary boat, not to mention the world’s most stylish tender. Prices for historically correct can range between $400,000 and $800,000, but much will depend on the actual model and number within the series.

Williams DieselJet 565

small yacht with tender

Williams is one of the perennial names in RIB tenders, with multiple yacht builders designing their garages around specific models. The DieselJet 565 has several advantages over competitors. First, it’s a jet drive so driving is reliable and maneuverability is excellent. Secondly, it runs on diesel, the preferred fuel for many owners who don’t want to carry the more flammable gasoline on the yacht if they don’t have to. Finally, this nine-passenger design should be able to carry owners and guests in one trip, two in a pinch. Williams paid attention to the details that matter, like ergonomic seating, decent storage, grab rails, and even an optional plate on the yacht’s stern that illuminates the name of the mothership. 

Lanéva Dayboat

small yacht with tender

The Lanéva all-electric dayboat is equipped with a lithium polymer battery designed for military operations, while the two axial-flow motors are used in aviation. It has a wood structure, a deck comprised of sustainable flax and volcanic fibers, a cork floor and a 100 percent recyclable leatherette upholstery. Sporting a cobalt-blue hull, the 26-foot boat brings performance to electric tender design.

small yacht with tender

The Tyde Icon is a wild-looking 43-footer, a wedge-shaped electric boat that foils to 30 knots. It’s definitely not designed to be loaded into a superyacht garage. But it can make a head-turning tender between an owner’s home and the mothership. Designed in collaboration with BMW, the yacht has large windows for vewing the water as well as lounge chairs across the enclosed cabin. A pair of 100 kW electric motors convert the 240 kWh of energy supplied by six batteries from the BMW i3 for a range of more than 50 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 24 knots.

Sacs Rebel 47

small yacht with tender

The Sacs Rebel 47 is a great example of a large rigid-hulled inflatable that can serve as both a tender and primary day boat for the owner. It has multiple seating areas across the exterior and a generous cabin below-decks for cooking or taking a nap. The boat’s offshore hull is designed to run at speed in rough water, and of course, the inflatable collar adds an element of buoyancy to the design. With two 440 hp Volvo D6 sterndrives, the boat has a top end of 38 knots. But with three Yamaha 425 hp XTO outboards, that jumps to 50 knots. 

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Tender Category: MiniJet

Minijet 280.

Introducing the MiniJet – Williams unrivalled performance and quality, distilled into one small but perfect package.Lightweight and compact, it fits in a wide variety of garages onboard smaller luxury yachts, so more yacht owners can experience the unique thrill, manoeuvrability and quality of a Williams tender.

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Tenders & Yacht Dinghies

In addition to your main yacht, sailboat or catamaran,, cadet roll up.

Inflatable dinghy with wooden slatted floor

Its floor, in a wooden slat design, can be rolled and stored in seconds.

Inflatable dinghy with inflatable floor

Very simple and above all really compact! Completely flexible, including the floor, it can be folded and stored in less than 2 minutes in a suitable bag!


RIB dinghy with aluminium hull

A truly solid-hull dinghy (aluminium), which provides the best in stability and safety on board!

Inflatable dinghy with aluminium floor

An aluminium floor, which can be put in place in no time for maximum stability.


New tenders with a double floor, waterproof storage, and top-quality tubes!


Its biggest asset is its locker: Your backpack or today’s picnic will fit in just fine…

The smallest Open

Ideal for a first boat with room for 4 people on board, it is easy to manoeuvre and tow. Ideal for small budgets.

The ideal electric dinghy

Whether used as a dinghy or a funky little boat, this 3.4 is more environmentally friendly than ever and requires no maintenance.

Ideal dinghy or small robust boat

The 3.4 is sure to please: Easy to steer, 3 large storage lockers! A true little racing kart that will delight you and your guests.


The smallest Yachtline

An ideal size to accommodate 4 people on board, with a maximum power of 40 HP, it can carry its passengers at high speed.


Well equipped

The Yachtline 400 can carry 5 passengers with its 3 seats and 50 HP.

The smallest Pro

A traditional model, it has always been part of the Zodiac range.

Unbeatable value for money

Ideal model for fishing and cruising with family or friends with its 4 large seats that can accommodate 6 people on board and its large lockers.


The right compromise

The ideal complement to transport 6 people, with its numerous storage lockers and its 60 HP.

The biggest of the compact Open

A generous power output of up to 80 CV is a big asset, and it is ergonomic and spacious for comfortable and active days out.


The biggest

At 4.90m and 90 HP, it can be used as a main boat for up to 9 people. It can also tow water-skiers or wakeboarders.


Are you looking for a tender or dinghy model for your yacht, sailboat or catamaran? The choice of boat will depend on your intended use, frequency of trips, sailing areas and your expectations. Choose a comfortable, innovative and powerful boat that you can accessorise according to your taste and needs. You will already have basic equipment: lifting and towing rings, bench, paddles or oars, many handles … for the comfort of the pilot and the passengers. The design of your dinghy will perfectly match your yacht thanks to its elegant aesthetics. Your RIB dinghy guarantees you excellent performance, great sailing comfort and spaciousness for regular use. Its sturdiness ensures greater safety at sea where the weather is particularly unpredictable.


Yacht dinghies serve you both as lifeboats or support boats to get the pilot, crew and guests to land or shore, but also as leisure crafts due to their versatility. The size and engine of the tender mean it can be used as a pleasure boat for sea trips with friends or family; from 4 metres upwards for the larger models. So go and explore some beautiful places. The finish and quality of the accessories ensure the longevity of your boat.

Power and agility

In our range, you will find 100% electric tenders like the eOpen, but also ones with hydrojet propulsion, such as the eJet. This modern technology, which uses a turbine to draw in water and propel it quickly to move the boat forward, offers a more fun and agile way to steer. Compared to an outboard boat with a propeller engine, waterjet propulsion offers greater safety, the ability to sail in shallow water and faster acceleration.

Tender models with rigid hulls such as the CADET RIB ALU, the small OPEN, the eOPEN, or the Yachtline provide you with more stability at sea, even in difficult weather conditions. This gives you more space on board for passengers and storage.


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How to buy the best tender

From foldables to ribs, the range of inflatable and rigid-hulled craft that can serve as yacht tenders is bewilderingly varied. Which is the right one for you? James Jermain investigates

Transoms, ribs, rigids and folding: the range of dinghies used for tenders is many and varied. But there is general agreement, at least in the marketplace, that a medium-sized, inflatable dinghy, with a transom and an inflatable floor is the tender of choice for most cruising yachts.

So why are they so popular? Are they always best and what should you look for?

How to buy a tender

The popular choice

The reasons small to medium-sized inflatables are so popular are not hard to find:

– They are tough and durable – You can bump into things without doing damage – They are comparatively light – They fold away into a reasonable small space – They are very stable – They have a high load capacity – They work well under power and are reasonably efficient under oars – Your feet remain dry with the floor inflated – There is one at a price to suit you, from under £400 to nearly £2,000

With such a wide price range there are clearly big differences between the large number of brands. The main variables are:

Size Inflatables suitable for yacht tenders start at around 2.00m (6ft 6in). This is an adequate size for a small yacht and will be capable of taking two people safely with a small (2 to 2.5hp) outboard.

To carry four in safety in choppy conditions you will need to go up to 2.90m (9ft 6in) or more.

Inflatables this size will take a 10hp motor although this might be heavy to handle. A popular size is 2.60m (8ft 6in), which will take three adults and maybe a child and is a good balance between capacity, size and weight.

It is easily launched from a small foredeck, weighs a portable 30kg or so and packs down to a stowable size.

Materials Generally, the more expensive the inflatable, the better quality the material. At the top of the tree is Hypalon which has the longest warranty period (ten years).

Most dinghies use PVC-coated fabrics. The heavier the material, by and large, the more durable it will be. Fabric life warranty will be around five years.

Tubes Dinghies of yacht tender size usually have two or three inflation compartments plus floor and keel.

For safety the more the better but for easy inflation and deflation, two is enough. Tube diameter is also important. Fatter tubes keep backsides further from the water, provide a softer ride and keep water where it belongs.

On the other hand big tubes are heavier, bulkier and more expensive.

The alternatives Just because the vast majority of tenders rowing or puttering across the harbour have essentially the same configuration, doesn’t necessarily make it the best for you.

There are alternatives and they have advantages.

How to buy a tender

They combine many of the best features of sports boats and pure inflatables. But the rigid hull means they are comparatively heavy and do not fold down for stowage on board.

They are best for larger boats or those that carry the tender in davits. They can be fitted with larger engines so can double as a fun boat and as a tender for accessing a remote mooring.

Rigids Few yachts will carry a rigid dinghy on board these days. Difficult or impossible to stow, launch and recover they are just too inconvenient. But as a means of transporting people and kit from shore to a remote mooring they still have advantages.

Tough, easy to row and power, they also have high internal volume for a given size. They can be used as a sailing tender and children’s fun boat once anchored for the day.

Foldables There are a few folding semi-rigid dinghies on the market. The former is a multi-purpose sailing dinghy/ tender that can be stowed along the sidedeck of cruisers from about 10m upwards.

They are vulnerable in bad weather offshore and not particularly good load carriers but for family fun, during a holiday cruise, they can be a good choice.

This article was first published in Your Yacht 2006

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The Best Tenders for Yachts 2024

If you’re looking for reviews of the best tenders for yachts, then you’ve come to the right place!  Unfortunately for us (and fortunately for you!), we’ve had our fair share of tenders for our sailboat, and after many requests, we’ve finally gotten around to comparing them for you! 

Dinghies are essential for cruising sailboats.  They’re your car: your ticket onto land when you live at anchor, your way to adventure in shallower waters, and they can even be used to help maneuver your sailboat in a pinch. 

the best tenders for yachts

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You will need a dinghy that can carry your shopping, heavier boat equipment, or suitcases, and yet you will still want it to be light enough to row in the (pretty likely!) event that your outboard fails on you.

The best tenders for yachts have to fulfill a whole range of criteria and will partly be dictated by your own personal needs.  We’ve done a lot of research into this topic after some bad experiences, so here’s everything we found out about the perfect tender for a yacht.

Jump To in the Best Tenders for Yachts

Features of the best tenders for yachts

Rugged and hard-wearing

Light and easy to stow.

  • Performance

Different types of yacht tender

How to pick the right tender

Getting the most out of your tender

Essential gear for your tender

Features Of The Best Tenders For Yachts

a tender for yachts sitting in crystal clear blue waters

The best tenders for yachts have certain features in common, regardless of your intended usage.  Considering these factors will help you make the best choice when it comes to choosing a tender for your sailboat.

a sailboat dinghy floating in the sea

No matter your intended cruising, you’re going to want a tender that is going to last.  There is nothing worse than spending a fortune on something that only lasts a year, leaving you with another expensive bill and the hassle and inconvenience of sourcing something new.

Choose wisely now, and you should be able to find a dinghy that will stand the test of time and requires little maintenance—always a bonus when you live on a boat!

Consider your choice of materials carefully, thinking about things like UV exposure, and whether you intend on using the tender for harbour runs only, or whether you’ll need a hull you can drag up stony beaches.

an inflatable tender for yachts being towed behind a sailboat

No matter how big your sailboat or how strong your crew, saving weight is always a priority.  If you are looking for a tender for a boat with davits then you might be able to opt for something slightly heavier, but if you’re after a dinghy for a smaller sailboat then you’ll want something easy to stow on deck or even down below.

Lighter tenders are easier to pull up the beach as well, so consider how you intend on using your dinghy before you splash out.

The performance of the best tenders for yachts

a man diving off a yacht tender into the sea

You might not need your tender to win any races but consider how well it will perform in rougher seas or going long distances.  You want a tender for your yacht that can withstand being caught out in bad weather.

You might also want to think about how well your tender can be rowed, as we all know how unreliable outboards can be!

The comfort factor of your sailboat tender

a man relaxing on his tender for yachts

Although you probably won’t be spending huge amounts of time in your tender, it’s still important to have something practical for your needs. 

If you plan to have small children in your tender, consider how comfortable and safe it will be in choppy seas.  

If you know you’ll be motoring for longer periods of time, do you want your tender to have sun protection?  Do you need a locker to stow essentials?  Do you need space for luggage and shopping?  Will you want proper seats in your tender?

Different Types of Tenders for Your Yacht

the best tenders for yachts lying on the beach

These days there is a huge choice of tenders out there, so you’ll have to take a while to consider which kind will best suit your needs.  Everyone has an opinion about the best kind of tender for a cruising sailboat.  Ultimately it comes down to what you intend to use your tender for and what kind of sailboat you have.

We’ve summarised the options for you below to help you make an informed decision!

Rigid Inflatable Boats

a RIB tender for a sailing yacht

Rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) are probably the type of tender for sailboats that you’ll see most commonly when you’re out on the water.  They are not to be confused with soft inflatable boats (detailed below).

The hard hull of a RIB makes it much more hard-wearing and durable.  You can drag them up the beach or hit the bottom without fear of deflating them, and they are much more stable in choppy seas.  They often have some inbuilt storage space and designated seating.

small yacht with tender

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The downside of RIB tenders is that they are much heavier than soft inflatable boats, making them harder to launch or pull ashore.  They are also considerably more expensive.

As you’d assume, there are tonnes of designs out there, from fancy in-built steering RIBs to those with different shaped hulls for different purposes, and RIBs made from different materials.  What you choose will be determined by purpose and price.

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Soft Inflatable Tenders for sailboats

a soft inflatable yacht tender

Soft inflatable boats (SIBs) are fully inflatable and therefore fully deflatable!  This makes them an attractive option for people with smaller sailboats with little room to stow away a tender, or sailors that want to minimise weight. 

SIBs are also a lot cheaper than any other tender option, so they are a great choice for anyone who doesn’t sail regularly or uses their tender for short trips.

Some downsides to having a SIB as your yacht tender is that they are much less durable than other options.  The soft flooring means you need to be more careful about grounding, and they are prone to flipping at high speeds.  They are less comfortable than RIBs as they sit much closer to the water.

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Solid dingies

two sailboat dinghies

Fully solid dinghies are far less common, but you do see them.  They come in a range of different materials such as fiberglass, plastic, and wood.

The advantages to having a hard tender are that most are easier to maintain yourself and therefore more durable, they tend to be easier to row, and many can be used with sails (see below).  As they tend to be less popular, you can often find good deals on second-hand solid dinghies.

However, they are less popular for a reason.  They tend to be less stable (depending on hull shape), and there’s a certain amount of skill involved in using them.  They are much harder to stow and are often heavier than alternative options.  You will also need to consider the fact that they can bash up against hulls and make sure they are fendered up accordingly.

Sailing tenders

a sailing tender for yachts being launched

These seem like a great idea, and we’ve often been tempted ourselves, but they do come with all the downsides listed above.  The great thing about being able to sail your tender is that you could save a lot on fuel, but as we tend to row a lot anyway the trade-off of having more things to maintain has never felt worth it.  They look like a lot of fun though!

Alternative options

a soft inflatable dinghy for a sailboat

Some cruisers rely purely on canoes or paddleboards to reach the shore, and while this certainly is cheaper, it isn’t always practical. 

We love having the option of using our kayak to reach shore on a calm day, but we would never trust it in big seas or high winds.  We could end up stuck on shore away from our sailboat, or even worse, get into trouble trying to get back.

Unless you are really experienced and know you can be safe out on the water in big seas and winds, then stick to something you can power up more effectively!

How to Pick the Right Tender for Your Yacht

a sailboat towing a dinghy

Here are some questions to consider before choosing the best tender for your yacht.  These factors are personal and will differ from person to person, so you might want to spend some time considering your own needs before splashing out on a potentially expensive bit of kit for your boat!

What will you use your tender for?

a yacht tender on a sandbank

The use of your tender will have a knock-on effect on the decisions you make about the right one for you.  Make sure you consider things like:

  • Where you plan on sailing (this will affect material choice)
  • How many passengers you’ll need to carry
  • The distances you’ll be travelling
  • How often you’ll use a tender (frequency of sails, time spent at anchor)
  • The types of trips you’ll make.  For example, heading off on a day-long diving trip will require a lot more ‘luggage’, and you might want to consider sun protection
  • How you will stow your tender while underway
  • Where you will dock your tender

What’s your budget?

a sailboat dinghy on an island in greece

Another big consideration when choosing the right tender for you is the cost.  You can buy super expensive tenders that come with all the bells and whistles, or you can find cheaper tenders that will serve a purpose for now.  Your budget will help determine what kind of tender to opt for.

The size of your yacht

If you don’t have room for a larger dinghy, then it doesn’t matter how many guests you want to take to shore.  You’re going to be constrained to a certain size and weight.  Inflatable tenders might be the best option for people looking to maximise storage space on their yacht.

Getting The Most From Your Sailboat Tender

a white tender for yachts attached to a cleat

We’ve put together some top tips for helping you to get the most from your new tender.

Tender painters for the best tenders for yachts

Here’s a top tip so you don’t end up in the same situation as us!  Equip your new tender with two painters.  One painter for your tender is not enough!

When towing your dinghy, or even just securing it to your boat in a windy anchorage, two painters will ensure you don’t lose your dinghy if a line snaps or a knot works loose.

All things davits

a sailboat tender on davits

We’ve heard so many stories of davit failures leading to lost dinghies in rough weather.  Make sure you have diagonal straps on your tender to stop it swinging side to side, and make sure those straps are strong!

You should also always leave the plug open on your tender when it’s up on davits.  That way, if waves splash into the tender, it will still drain and won’t put extra strain on the davits.

Oh outboards

three tenders for yachts moored up on a pontoon

Unfortunately, you’re also going to need a reliable way to power your dinghy, especially if you plan on using it for anything other than short trips to shore.  Outboards are notoriously unreliable, and our experience with them has been the same as most others we talk to—a complete pain in the bottom!

Sadly though, you’re almost certainly going to need one.  We’ll cover outboards in a separate article, but here is a brief summary of your options:

Consider how much power you really need.  Outboards with greater horsepower will give you the ability to go faster and farther but are also more expensive and heavier.  Water-cooled engines tend to be quieter than the air-cooled kind.

You can choose from four-stroke and two-stroke engines.  Four-stroke engines are kinder to the environment, and you can’t buy two-stroke engines anymore here in Europe, so if you’re after a two-stroke you will have to find one second-hand.

The other option is to go electric.  We are desperate for an electric outboard , so if we decide to splash out then we’ll let you know how we get on!  If anyone reading this has experience with an electric outboard we would love to hear your opinions—and recommendations!—below. 

The downside to electric outboards is the price.  There is also some debate about whether they are capable of going long distances yet, with some suggesting that the technology isn’t quite there yet.

Shop fuel driven outboards here

Shop electric outboards here

Dinghy chaps for the best tenders for yachts

one of the best tenders for yachts with dinghy chaps

Dinghy chaps are the fabric covers you see on the PVC tubes of a tender.  If you plan to use your yacht tender in tropical climates, then you’re going to want to protect it from the UV rays that will quickly cause PVC to degrade.

Dinghy chaps will also help to protect your tender from scrapes and cuts above the rub rail, as can so often happen when you’re climbing out against a rough town quay or harbour wall. You can make your own dinghy chaps if you’re handy with a sewing machine, or you can get them custom made.  Just make sure you use a durable fabric like Sunbrella to give them maximum protection!

Essential Gear for the Best Tenders for Yachts

oars on a sailboat tender

Oars: In our opinion, oars are an essential bit of kit for your dinghy.  We use our oars all the time for shorter trips to shore, or for squeezing into fishing bays where a mess of mooring lines present a risk of being caught in the outboard.  

We’ve also had to row on several occasions when the outboard has (predictably) stopped working.

Life jackets:  Just as when you’re out on the water sailing, life jackets are an important piece of gear for your yacht tender too.  It’s all too common for accidents to happen out on the water, and a life jacket is a vital bit of life-saving kit that you shouldn’t be without.

Anchor:   We’ve had several different types of anchor for our dinghy over the years and found we liked the oversized Delta style best, but that was for anchoring in sand where we could really dig it in.  

Crab claw anchors that fold away tend to be the most popular choice of dinghy anchors, as you can stow them away easily.  We haven’t had much luck with ours as we find it hard to set and a little unreliable!

one of the best tenders for yachts

Navigation lights: Every country has slightly different regulations when it comes to navigation lights for a tender.  Our advice would be to make sure you always check the country you’re using your tender in, and have at least an all-round white light everywhere you go as a matter of safety.  

We heard a horrible story about someone navigating just a short distance without one, so we make sure we always have an all-round white light visible even when we’re only required to use torchlight.

Water pump/bailer: This isn’t necessary but it’s so useful !  Seaspray or rainwater can quickly leave a nice puddle of water in the dinghy, so having something on hand to keep it dry is always a bonus!

Other useful tender gear: If you have a locker in your dinghy, you might also want to consider carrying a dry bag or two, a torch, a multitool, a spare kill cord key for the outboard, and a handheld VHF .

a red tender on the beach

Hopefully that’s given you some ideas about the best tenders for yachts.  If you’re still feeling ‘at sea’ when it comes to buying a yacht tender then feel free to reach out to us with your questions in the comments section below.  

If you found this article useful then join our mailing list and follow us on social media for more sailing and cruising tips and inspiration!  Thanks for reading!

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Water Tender

112″ (284cm)

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106lbs. (46kg)

small yacht with tender

Water Tender Dinghy

The Sun Dolphin® Water Tender is a cost-efficient rowboat with a durable Fortiflex high density polyethylene hull construction. Use as a yacht tender or as a fun vacation boat at your lake cottage. Large seating areas include recessed beverage holders and built-in oarlock sockets. This rowboat meets CE and US Coast Guard safety standards.

  • Height: 21″ (53cm)
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Materials:  Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex® High Density Polyethylene
  • Model: Water Tender
  • Brand: Sun Dolphin
  • Designed, Molded & Assembled in the USA
  • HP Rating: 3 HP

Durable Fortiflex high density polyethylene double hull construction

Built-in oarlock sockets and center seat for rowing

Large seating areas with recessed beverage holders

Meets NMMA/USCG/CE safety standards

Affordable yacht tender or cottage front rowboat

Modified tri-hull design maximizes stability and interior room

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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 yacht with 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 yacht with 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 yacht with 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 yacht with 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 yacht with 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 yacht with 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.


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Best inflatable boat: 9 compact tenders put to the test

Robert Melotti

  • Robert Melotti
  • September 9, 2021

Rob Melotti and the PBO test team put some lightweight, portable inflatable dinghies through their paces in Lymington to find the best inflatable boat

Inflatables are everywhere: paddleboards , canoes, kayaks , tents, kites and wings – and inflatable boat technology has long been a practical option for tenders, RIBs, liferafts and lifejackets .

But what the ‘new wave’ of inflatable boats brings to the practical boating landscape is the air floor, which makes very stable, very lightweight tenders a very practical option for people with limited stowage ie owners of cruising boats under 30ft.

And the market has responded with a selection of offerings under 2.4m weighing under 20kg. So which is the best and what should you be looking for to get the most for your money?

We tested nine models sold by eight different brand names. The inflatable boats were superficially quite similar, but in the accumulation of small details it was possible to pick a few favourites.

We rowed and motored all of the inflatable boats solo, and most of them with two aboard. We weighed and measured them and found a lot to like.

What’s the best inflatable boat? 9 options tested


3D Twin V Shape 230 Air Deck Tender was a good all-round performer – and best on test

3D Twin V Shape 230 Air deck tender

French manufacturer 3D Tender was one of the earliest producers of ultralight inflatable tenders. This model sports premium touches, such as davit rings and the most high-spec pump of all the inflatable boats on test.

In terms of convenience it is a rucksack carry bag with a large front pocket for the pump and accessories. The zips will need maintenance though.

small yacht with tender

The V floor is a single chamber, keeping set-up time to a minimum and keeping the weight down. The lack of safety lines on the side makes carrying as a two-person team a little less convenient than some of the other inflatable boats, but the keel strip will help preserve this boat.

The rowlocks double as cleats and the rubbing strake will provide strength but little in the way of splashproofing for passengers.

Buy it now on

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Force 4 02Lite was the lightest on test

Force 4 02Lite

This model is very similar to the Seago Go Lite (also tested), including the rucksack, which was our favourite on test for carrying comfort, although you do have to beware of any loose objects inside the bag dropping out of the side enclosure flap.

small yacht with tender

The Force 4 02Lite was the lightest package overall and packed down to just 90cm long.

The oars were the smallest on test, which affected the rowing performance, but it was the only inflatable boat with open rowlocks – so you can use your own oars.

The bench is adjustable, but I wasn’t able to position it far enough aft to brace my feet against the transom under oars.

There are three D-rings for making a towing bridle on the bow but no ergonomic carry handle.

The rubbing strake is minimal with no splash guard and there are no davit lifting eyes.

Buy it now on

small yacht with tender

Crewsaver Air Deck 230 is solidly built and joint cheapest, but is outclassed by 3D Tender’s lightweight V floor design

Crewsaver Air Deck 230

Best cheap inflatable boat

The pack we were sent for testing had the incorrect seat included, but we were able to substitute a seat from one of the other inflatable boats on test without difficulty.

The rucksack doesn’t have a front pocket, but there are no zips to corrode and the adjustable webbing buckles mean the top opening of the bag is quite forgiving for repacking.

The safety lines are robustly attached to the hull, which is a feature that will pay dividends long-term, but adds a bit of weight.

small yacht with tender

The rubbing strake is also weighty, but the splash guards will keep water out of the boat.

The coned aft sponson caps are hard plastic, enabling vertical storage without damage and the rowlocks double as cleats.

There are davit rings in the bow and through the thick transom board, plus the bow handle is wide for ergonomic carrying.

Buy it now on

small yacht with tender

Excel Ventura SL200

From a Midlands-based company that specialises in inflatable boats, this came with a great double-action hand pump and was the only boat on test with an over-pressure valve – a useful feature for exposure to the hot sun.

The safety lines are sturdily attached and splash guards make up part of the rubbing strake protecting the sides and keeping water out of the boat.

The rowlocks double as cleats and the bow handle is wide enough for a proper grip.

small yacht with tender

Excel Ventura SL200’s double action hand pump made short work of inflation

Davit fittings are supplied and the sponsons are shaped to add waterline length and buoyancy aft. The duffel carry bag was the sturdiest on test.

This inflatable boat comes with a good long set of oars, although we had to sit side-by-side to make any progress under oars with two adults on board.

Buy it now on

small yacht with tender

Quicksilver was big – but also heavy

Quicksilver Tendy Airfloor 240

This boat has an inflatable keel as well as a removable inflatable floor. There was also a rigid slat athwartship between the floor and keel, which increases the weight overall.

small yacht with tender

This is one of the priciest and heaviest inflatable boats on the test and one of the largest in packed dimensions.

It features a fuel tank strap, a decent keel strip to prevent damage on slipways, a decent bow carry handle and rowlock cleats.

The rubbing strake is quite meaty as well without being particularly splashproof.

The carry bag is very forgiving – opening flat like a groundsheet.

There were no carry handles on the sponsons and the safety rope fixings aren’t as solid as many of the other inflatable boats on test, although there are rowlock cleats and the seat is fully adjustable.

Buy it now on eBay

small yacht with tender

Light weight makes for easy handling on land and in the water

Seago Go Lite 230

Seago is a distributor, supplying UK chandleries and there are similarities between this model and the 02Lite from Force 4.

This model is very light and compact – just 0.5kg heavier than Force 4, but packs down to the same 90cm length.

The oars are very short, but are fixed using a pin and thole system which some may prefer over the Force 4’s rowlocks.

The PVC material is described as 1100 Decitex (Force 4 is 800 Decitex) and the backpacks of the two were identical: comfortable to carry and forgiving to repack due to their large side aperture rather than a narrow top.

The rubbing strake is minimal and there is no ergonomic bow handle.

Buy it now on

small yacht with tender

YAM 200T is not rated for two adults

This 2m inflatable boat has a fixed seat and was unique on the test for having wooden slats to reinforce the floor. This means less pumping up, but slightly increased weight.

Like the 3D tender there is no safety rope so carrying between two crew involves spreading your arms wide from bow handle to stern handle placed on the sponsons. It is rated for one adult and one child – the smallest by rating on the test.

There is a hefty rubbing strake with raised levels to block spray and the rowlocks double as cleats. The oars are miniature and the bow has three D-rings for rigging a towing bridle but no ergonomic handle for carrying. With two adults aboard we would have been better rowing side by side – but it was no slouch under engine.

Buy it now on

small yacht with tender

The nicest boat on test to row

YAM 240 (STI) Air Floor Sport Tender

This is the most expensive model on test and features an inflatable keel as well as a floor section, plus two sponsons to inflate.

With that much to inflate a high quality pump would have been better, but there is a pressure gauge included in the package to get everything sufficiently firm.

The seat is fixed but the oars were nice and long, which made it the nicest boat to row. As with the YAM 200T there were no safety lines fitted and carry handles are spread far apart, which makes carrying more difficult.

But there is a good, ergonomic bow carry handle and the inflatable boat is rated to carry 400kg, the highest rating on test. The rowlocks double as cleats and the rounded aft end of the sponsons have protective, hard plastic caps.

small yacht with tender

Smaller diameter sponsons means more space aboard – but less freeboard

Talamex Superlight SLA230

Talamex is a Dutch brand imported by EP Barrus. This inflatable boat had the narrowest diameter sponsons on test, which creates more internal space, but less freeboard.

It’s an extremely lightweight package, with a thin transom board, but nice long oars and a good carrying handle on the bow.

The pump supplied is a single-action hand pump and the bag folds out completely flat like a groundsheet, which is very forgiving for repacking.

small yacht with tender

The bag has nice carrying handles on the narrow ends. The seat was massively adjustable and the rubbing strake is generous without offering very much splash guarding.

The safety rope attachments look a bit vulnerable and there are no other handles on the sponsons.

small yacht with tender

Launching the Seago 320

Verdict: Which was the best inflatable boat on test?

This group of inflatable boats can be subdivided in a few different ways: by length, by price and by weight (note there is also a group of rucksack boats and a trio of air-keel boats).

I think the best on test goes to the 3D Tender, which manages to keep the weight down, comes complete with a very high-spec pump, a very user-friendly rucksack bag with a big front pocket and a ‘slight V form floor’ that inflates as a single chamber.

There are no safety lines or a bow handle, so carrying the boat when inflated is less natural than some of the others and it’s the second most expensive.

The best bargain buy is probably the lightest, smallest package: Force 4, for me, is preferable to the very similar Seago model because of its ‘open’ rowlocks. But if you prefer captive oars, the Seago is slightly cheaper.

The Crewsaver is the same low price and probably more robust and seaworthy than the Force 4 or the Seago while being easier to carry when inflated than the 3D Tender. But without the V floor I think it’s a less versatile performer.

I didn’t see the benefit of the two 200cm dinghies we tested: both were noticeably small in use without being smaller to pack and stow or lighter to carry.

The 240cm V Floor models can carry bigger loads at greater speed, but if you really need that level of performance you have to accept the extra set-up time, weight and stowage.

Best inflatable boats – key facts and figures

What makes the best inflatable boat for you?


Rucksack bags were easiest to carry

The bag details matter when one of the main selling points of a product is its portability. We looked at handles, zips and overall design. Metal zips will corrode without a regular rinse in fresh water, but as long as the zipper track is plastic, then replacement zipper trucks can be fitted relatively cheaply.

Carry handles at the narrow ends are very useful and half of the inflatable boats tested can be carried as rucksacks. A few of the boats pack away in bags that deconstruct on all four sides like groundsheets, with webbing straps and adjustable buckles crossways and lengthways.

These are very forgiving and yet still pack up tightly and securely. We also looked at the quality of the bag material: is the bag likely to survive chafing, stretching, damp or UV exposure for as long as the dinghy itself?


We weighed each of the inflatable boats in their carry bags and found quite a variation in boat weights

Size, weight and price

Our facts table will quickly show you the lightest and smallest packs and there are four tenders priced under £500.

The two longest inflatable boats in the test (YAM 240 and Quicksilver 240) were in the biggest bags (110cm and 120cm respectively), and were the heaviest packs weighing over 20kg even without any accessories.

Only three of the nine tested boats weighed in at under 20kg straight out of the box. There was an 11kg difference between the lightest (Force 4 02Lite) and the heaviest (Quicksilver Tendy Airfloor 240).

The Force 4 comes in a rucksack bag that is 20cm shorter in length than the Quicksilver and over £100 cheaper.

But unless size, weight and price are your only criteria, then a simple numerical comparison could miss some important details.

Article continues below…


Best electric outboard motors: 9 of the best options on the market

The electric motor is either sealed in an underwater casing, or housed above the waterline under a cowling, as in…

small yacht with tender

Choosing a boat dinghy – top tips for buying and maintaining tenders

From getting on and off the yacht to collecting supplies, visiting friends or simply going fishing, tenders play an important…

Pumps and pressure

Some of the air floors are rated for 1psi; others at 11psi. Most of the sponsons were rated at 3.6psi, which shouldn’t require too much brow mopping for foot- or hand-pump operators.

Five of the inflatable boats came with foot pumps, but the double-action hand pumps with the 3D and the Quicksilver were a joy to use.


All the boats were easily carried by two when inflated

Manual handling

It’s an ironic linguistic quirk that a tender should be so regularly treated without much tenderness. Even a few hours’ use on a clean slipway incurred scuffs, dings, grubby marks and a few minor tears to the carry bags.

Grass is far kinder than concrete for inflating, but is in short supply at busy locations. We looked at keel strips, rubbing strakes, safety line attachment points, bow handles and more… including the relationship between price, weight and fit-out.

First published in the September 2021 issue of Practical Boat Owner.

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Boat Profile

Yankee Tender

Classic construction

From Issue   January 2020

T he plans for Yankee Tender first appeared in 1979 in WoodenBoat Nos. 30–32 as part of a how-to-build series. When you get the six generously detailed sheets of plans from The WoodenBoat Store for this 12′4″ flat-bottomed rowing skiff, you also get reprints of those magazine articles with their numbered photos and written instructions. What a deal! If you have some heavy paper and a clean-swept floor you can get right to work on laying out the molds, as no lofting is necessary. Study the plans carefully, and you’ll learn a great deal about building a flat-bottomed lapstrake boat with wood in the traditional manner. I sure did.

small yacht with tender

The Yankee Tender’s profile shows the strong curves of the sheer and rocker.

The tender is an elaboration on a boat designed and built by Asa Thompson in New Bedford, Massachusetts, more than 90 years ago. He started a one-man boatshop specializing in canoes during the late 1800s, and over the ensuing years adapted his methods to changes in boaters’ tastes. In 1927, he built a flat-bottomed yacht tender with canoe-like scantlings. This tender-skiff is in the Mystic Seaport Museum collection and is occasionally on public display—I got to see it two years ago at The WoodenBoat Show . For some time, I’d been contemplating building a lightweight, trailerable, traditional, flat-bottomed rowing boat with a saltwater pedigree. Three things that make this boat a standout: its lightness, both in weight and looks; its double-planked bottom; and its fish-well center seat. Seeing Asa Thompson’s skiff led me to The WoodenBoat Store’s plans.

The plans call for either white pine or northern white cedar for the transom, planking, and bottom—I built with cedar—and the remainder of the structure is white oak. The 3/8″-thick side planks are beveled at both sides of the lap to reveal a delicate edge. The sawn-oak frames are sided 5/8” and given a graceful curve; the inwale and guardrail are as fine as a canoe’s, helping bring the boat’s weight down. My boat weighs 130 lbs.

The bottom is cross-planked with two overlapping layers of 3/8″ cedar with a sheet of canvas slathered in bedding compound sandwiched in between. This construction prevents the gaps and subsequent leaks that occur when boats with single-plank bottoms dry out.

small yacht with tender

The cross-planked bottom doesn’t require framing, so it provides a clean, unobstructed surface.

The cross-planking requires no framing on the bottom and provides an uncluttered interior. The fish-well structure of the center seat makes it sturdy and stiffens up the light hull, and gives great dry storage (or live bait) options.

The Yankee Tender is much more than an excellent introduction to traditional boatbuilding. The materials and fastenings lists are detailed and complete. There are even drawings for help in setting up the simply designed strongback. You’ll learn how to bevel the laps, cut gains, scribe frames, and get a sweet, fair sweep of the sheer. And when you’re done, you’ll have an elegant skiff.

I didn’t make the A-framed building platform as shown in the plans, but set the molds up on a ladder frame I’d made for a previous boat. The transom is of 7/8″ cedar, edge-glued with splines. The inner stem is sawn from 8/4 white oak. The transom and stem bevels are shown on the plans and can be gotten out on a tablesaw. With the molds squared and plumbed and the stem and transom in place, a temporary 1×4 backbone batten is secured to stem and transom and to notches in the centers of the molds to complete the setup.

I ripped the chines’ bevels on the tablesaw. It’s recommended that the chine logs be steamed to ease twisting and bending into place. My steambox is only 6′ long, so I steamed the aft ends and clamped them into place until cool. Later in the day I steamed the forward ends and clamped them overnight before fastening.

The cedar I had for the planking was 1″ thick and live-edged. I picked through the boards looking for knotty and narrow planks that would work better for the bottom planking, saving cleaner material for the sides. After sawing straight, parallel edges and resawing to a thickness of 3/8″, I laid out the random-width boards to dry-fit the planks for the inner bottom, hand-planing edges for a good fit. As per the plans, I laid a strand of cotton wicking along the chine as each bottom board was nailed home tight.

The garboards have a width of 10-1/2″ at the stem. My bandsaw can only resaw planks up to 8-1/2″ wide, so I needed to narrow the stock before resawing it, and then edge-glue two pieces with epoxy to achieve the required width. Next, I trimmed the ends of the inner bottom boards to match the chine bevel. The plans call for a strand of cotton as caulking between garboard and stem, chines, and transom cleats, but here I applied a healthy bead of polysulfide before fastening the plank.

After trimming the garboard flush with the bottom and sanding the inner bottom planking, I dry-fit the outer bottom planks, overlapping the garboard edges and covering the seams of the inner bottom planks, noting where nails lay, then pre-drilled and temporarily screwed-in the planks. With an oscillating tool and a flush-cutting blade, I trimmed the bottom planks flush with the outer surface of the garboards. I numbered the planks, removed the screws, and stacked the planks in order.

Then came the fun part! I had purchased No. 10 cotton duck and laid it out on the smooth inner bottom, cutting it to overhang a few inches. Before starting the bedding process, I lavishly brushed the bottom planks with boiled linseed oil, allowing them to soak it in overnight. Then I thinned Interlux Boatyard Bedding Compound to a peanut-butter consistency with boiled linseed oil, spread it evenly across the inner bottom, then laid out and rolled the canvas, squeezing the bedding compound into the fabric. Next, I trowled more of the goo onto the canvas. I then replaced the pre-drilled outer bottom planks, the setting and driving the screws home. I drew the double bottom tight along the plank seams with 7/8” copper clout nails, hammered in and clenched every 5″ to 6″. All told, I used 2-1/2 quarts of bedding compound and 1 quart of linseed oil.

After the remaining three planks were hung, I flipped the hull and fitted and attached the outer stem, breasthook, quarter knees, frames, and rails. I then flipped hull back upside-down to fit and fasten the skeg and keel. Finally, right-side up again, the fish well and thwarts were installed and oarlock pads were riveted to the rails.

small yacht with tender

The generously rockered bottom keeps the transom well clear of the water when the boat has a solo rower aboard.

T wo hours from where we live are places like Mystic, Connecticut; Bristol, Rhode Island; and Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Cape Cod isn’t too much farther. The Yankee Tender is easy to transport on a lightweight trailer. Its skeg, keel, and stem settle readily onto my trailer’s rollers and, by modifying the bunk boards just a bit, the hull rests its flat bottom for secure strapping. Two spry people can lift the light hull. For cartopping, roof racks that span 5′ are necessary to accommodate the boat’s 52” beam.

My first go at rowing Yankee Tender was on a quiet lake. It took some getting used to the angle of the 8-½′ oars I had made. The center seat height of 9-3/4″ is very comfortable, but my hand position seemed to be higher toward my chest than I’m accustomed to. The boats I’m more familiar with have a lower freeboard. It felt a bit like driving a Ford after years in a Toyota—the controls weren’t all in the same place. The Yankee Tender’s plans offer no recommendation for oar length, but the plan for Asa Thompson’s original 11′3″ skiff suggests 6′6″ oars. I felt these were too stubby. With practice, I found a quicker cadence, 8′ oars, and a shorter stroke worked well, especially with any headwind.

The boat is as zippy as a sports car in its maneuverability. With one occupant, it rides high on the water, with no drag at the transom. The skeg keeps you on course, yet the wicked rocker allows quick spins. The tender’s width and flared topsides allow you to scooch over on the center seat to a rail so you can open one of the hinged fish-well covers without making the hull unsteady. The boat moves along with ease; it’s not a flier but it offers a safe, dry, seaworthy ride.

small yacht with tender

The tender has two rowing stations, but it is not intended for tandem rowing. The forward station is used for rowing with a passenger.

With two adults on board, the rower occupies the forward thwart and the passenger sits in the stern with the angled transom as a comfortable backrest. Proper weight distribution is important to keep an even keel. The tender carries its load well with its fullness forward and ample beam. Settled into the water with the weight of two aboard, the boat has added stability, and is still lively and quick on a turn. The tucked-up transom makes it easy to back into shore and disembark dry-footed.

small yacht with tender

Tom DeVries studied fine woodworking with James Krenov in the early 1990s. He and wife Tina live in central Massachusetts surrounded by white-pine and red-oak trees. Tom drives north for his white cedar planking stock and wishes his lumberyard still carried spruce 2x6s.

Yankee Tender Particulars


Depth amidships/15.25″

small yacht with tender

Plans for the Yankee Tender are available from The Wooden Boat Store, printed or downloaded PDF (digital), for $50.

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Comments (11)

I’m now building a Yankee Tender myself. I like the lines and traditional look as Tom does. It is quite straightforward in terms of woodworking skill level. I did deviate from the traditional design by using a sheet of 3/8” marine plywood for the outer bottom instead of crossplanking. Otherwise I stuck with the plan described in WoodenBoat.

Though the double-layer bottom is no doubt more time-consuming and probably costlier than plywood, I enjoy the pace and scale of the “old-fashioned” way. I also like the look of the oil finished cedar in the bottom of my boat.

Another option I considered for the Yankee Tender bottom was the method Harry Bryant uses on his dory skiff Daisy. He uses 3/8″ cedar cross-planked for the inner bottom and epoxies an outer layer fore and aft—in effect a 2-ply cedar plywood. The glue-up would work best with two people and I’m generally alone in my shop.

I’m curious how you treated the end grain of the plywood at the stern, as the bottom overhangs the transom?

I’ve liked this boat from the first time I saw it decades ago. It’s simple without being plain. Being more into shapes than woodworking, if I were building a similar craft, I would probably substitute plywood for all the solid wood planking. Then I’d cover the hull with epoxy-saturated fiberglass. I would definitely try to preserve most of its curves, especially in profile. The builder did a fine job of it but, if it were mine, I’d be a little too afraid to treat it like a simple flat-bottomed skiff. It’s nice to to see this design again.

I beg pardon of Harry Bryan for my erroneous “t”. I suspect there’s a watery association with Wooden Boat’s Associate Editor Anne Bryant in my mind as my thoughts drift Down East. Mr. Bryan’s double planking method is described in WoodenBoat 126.

Hi. I built an original Asa Thompson skiff for a client many years ago; it was one of the best short, flat-bottom skiffs I have rowed. I used marine ply for the bottom, 3/8″ I think, and 1/4″ for the garboards. Sheathed this unit with epoxy and cloth, then used cedar for the top 2 lapstrake planks. Cherry transom, oak framing and rails—looked pretty good. The second owner brought it to the Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous a couple of years ago, still rowed and looked great.

My plan to seal end grain anywhere it occurs involves liberal application of unthickened epoxy.

This design is truly eye candy at its best. We are considering building one at the shop to replace our Nutshell on the pond behind our buildings. Ours will be an ultralight version for ease of manhandling at the dock. As always, a very good article from Small Boats Magazine .

Late to this conversation. I built a Yankee tender about 30 years ago now using white oak with red cedar planking. My only deviation from the original plans was that I didn’t like the seating plan and went with a stern seat, rowing bench, and bow seat. She has served us well to get out to our mooring and just pleasant rowing. She rows and tracks very well but is a bit “tender.” Having done the double cross planking with light canvas in between using lots of polysulfide. I would not do that bottom again. It was dry for at least ten years but when it started leaking there is no fixing that complicated stepped joint. At that point I had to pull the whole bottom off including the keel structure. I replaced this with 1/2″ plywood, first routing a small groove into which I set up essentially a polysulfide gasket and then bedded the entire thing in polysulfide using silicone-bronze screws (hate removing those ring nails!). This fix remains tight after nearly 20 years. This year, my son had to prep and launch her (I’ve been waiting for this day). It looks like the keel may need replacing next year. There is also some softening of the bottom at bow and stern. I attribute this to the fact that the boat sits on a dock with those ends exposed due to the extreme rocker of the bottom. She has served us well.

I’m currently building a Yankee Tender and am planning on using the technique described in the article for the bottom. How much bedding compound and linseed oil should I expect to need?

I am interested in building this boat. Some practical questions: roughy how much does it cost to build and equip? I have a small wood working shop that has a double door exit and wonder how much the opening needs to be to remove it?

I purchased these plans because I liked the lines and clean woodwork. I build model boats and am wanting to get away from store-bought kits and build directly from plans. This boat is a perfect fit for me to do that. Im thinking a 1:12 scale model in my future.

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The Best Inflatable Yacht Tenders

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Investing in the best inflatable yacht tenders will amp up your relaxation and make boarding your yacht much easier when you take it out for a spin. 

Yachting has been one of the favorite pastimes and leisures of many SoCal water adventurers. And when it comes to boarding your yacht, tenders are staples in boarding to and fro the yacht. 

Here are the best inflatable tenders you can use for your holiday fun on the yacht. 

6 Best Inflatable Yacht Tenders for 2023

  • Takacat 260 LX Innovative Tender
  • 12′ Saturn Kaboat
  • Newport Vessel
  • Zodiac Cadet RIB ALU DL
  • HydroForce Mirovia Pro 10’10” Inflatable Boat

1. Takacat 260 LX Innovative Tender

Takacat 260 LX is a custom-made PVC designed innovative tender. The inflatable boat features an air deck floor for a high tensile rigid hull core. It has an aerodynamic bow design that will get you over the rough and choppy waters to your yacht in no time.

With Takacat, you don’t have to worry about boarding your mothership wet as it has a new open transom and raised deck to keep water out and the floor dry. This heavy-duty, innovative tender has let go of the old and heavier traditional aluminum design and replaced it with innovative materials.

This design makes the tender lightweight and easy to use because of the drop stitch fabrics for the high-pressure removable floor. It boasts convenience through its fully removable Tube Transom, which makes rolling and folding this inflatable yacht tender super easy to store and carry.

What makes it even better is that the seams are chemically bonded with glue, which is advantageous for foldable inflatables as welded seams tend to become brittle and leak. Like a true inflatable catamaran yacht tender, Takacat LX 260 stands out with its innovative open bow, making it versatile and the best inflatable yacht tender for diving , swimming, snorkeling, or transporting from the shore to your yacht.

It has a powerful outboard of two to eight hp to transport approximately two people comfortably. Power, comfort, and safety make Takacat the first and best choice among your many yacht tender options.

2. 12′ Saturn Kaboat

Saturn Kaboat is a crossover between a kayak and an inflatable boat. What’s good about the Saturn is you have the choice to paddle around like in a kayak as it now comes with its own rowing oars. Or if you want to save your energy and fuel it as a motorboat with its gas or electric engine.

Being lightweight and narrow, Saturn Kaboat will zip you through the water to your yacht faster. It will also allow you to explore tight spots bigger tenders can’t access. This yacht tender is portable and will fit into a medium carry bag for easy transport when traveling.

Two people can board this yacht tender with its 500 lbs weight loading capacity. This yacht tender can also be a versatile boat for many sailing options as it also features a drop-stitch air floor to ensure stability. 

3. Newport Vessel

The inflatable sport boat yacht tender is a USCG rated triple-layered coated PVC boat, including aluminum-made materials. The anti-corrosive-coated PVC materials ensure protection against corrosion, sun, salt, and other elements that can destroy the inflatable boat.

The quality lightweight yacht tender is heavy duty and can board many people without compromising cruising performance. It comes in aluminum framed marine wood flooring, bench seat, and oars. 

4. Zodiac Cadet RIB ALU DL

The rigid inflatable boat is a good choice to use as an inflatable yacht tender as it has integrated transom supports for safe transport. This inflatable tender features a safe and comfortable ride with its removable cushion seats, foot pump, oars, and repair kit.

Additionally, you will not have a problem lifting the Zodiac to where you want it as it has four handles for easy carry, lifting points, and towing eyes.

It is possible to fit a fuel tank in this inflatable boat’s bow storage or an anchor locker. The floor is anti-slip, which helps passengers not slip while boarding and unboarding the yacht tender. 

5. HydroForce Mirovia Pro 10’10” Inflatable Boat

Hydro-Force Mirovia is a four high-density nylon PVC with a high-pressure inflatable keel for buoyancy. The heavy-grade PVC resists UV degradation, abrasion, and other destructive elements.

It’s lightweight because the floorboards and transom are made of marine-grade plywood, which you can just roll up when storing. Additionally, this boat does not take time to assemble, as it does not need complicated tools.

It is protected against impacts and friction with its extra tough strake. With its load capacity of 1411 lbs, you can board four adults and one child in the Hydro-force Mirovia Tender. 

6. Scout 365

One of the versatile inflatable boats is the Scout 365, which can be used for many water sports activities in any body of water. This inflatable boat fits two people and ensures portability as it can roll up into a bag for easy storage.

The unique Scout design features one of the best lightweight, durable, and compact inflatable boats. You will have no trouble standing up on this inflatable tender as it offers stability with its high bow and flat bottom, combined with a small outboard motor for gas or electric use. 

Yacht Tender Safety Tips

best inflatable yacht tenders

When cruising out in the water, you should primarily think about boat safety as the wind and water conditions are not predictable. It’s better to come prepared all of the time. Here are some safety tips when on a yacht tender.

  • The weather and tide may be unpredictable, but it is best to check the weather report to know what you’re in for when cruising the SoCal waters
  • Always wear a life jacket when boarding your yacht tender, no matter how short the trip is
  • If your boat does not come with oars, bring one to come prepared when your engine fails you
  • Always make sure to have a means of communication with the authorities and other important contacts
  • Don’t overload your yacht tender; always stick to the weight capacity
  • Make sure to read your yacht tender manual, so you know how to maneuver your boat and to know what outboard motor fits
  • Always keep a puncture repair kit ashore and in the yacht in case of emergency.

Insider Advice

Yachting is fun, but every time you’re out in the water is a risk to your safety. When boarding your yacht tender, it’s essential to know how to maneuver your inflatable dinghy safely. Taking the  California-approved boating safety courses  should be a priority when you plan on purchasing the best yacht tender.

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3 Men Rescued from Pacific Island After Writing ‘Help’ With Palm Leaves

American rescuers found the lost sailors on a tiny uninhabited island in Micronesia with a damaged boat and the word spelled out on the beach.

The word “help” is spelled out in palm fronds on a beach.

By John Yoon

Three men who were stranded on a remote Pacific island for more than a week were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard after spelling out “HELP” on a beach using palm leaves.

The lost men were found on Pikelot, an uninhabited island about 100 miles northwest of their home, alongside their damaged boat on Sunday by an American military aircraft, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam said in a statement .

The men, who were experienced mariners in their 40s, set sail on March 31 from Polowat Atoll, an island that is part of the Federated States of Micronesia, in a 20-foot open skiff powered by an outboard motor. After their unintended delay, the Coast Guard said, the men had been safely returned home Tuesday evening.

The search began on Saturday when a woman sent out a distress call to the Coast Guard, reporting that her three uncles had not returned home after almost a week away. The Coast Guard embarked on the search with a U.S. Navy aircraft crew.

Pikelot is a tiny dot in the Pacific Ocean covered in palm trees and bushes, measuring less than 2,000 feet in length. The Micronesian island was part of a search area that the Coast Guard said spanned more than 100,000 square miles.

This week’s rescue was not the first from Pikelot involving huge letters spelled in the sand. In 2020, three other men whose boat ran out of fuel wrote “SOS” in the sand , allowing them to be spotted by American rescuers.

In this week’s search, a breakthrough came when a Navy reconnaissance aircraft that was dispatched from Okinawa, Japan, spotted the men from the air.

“In a remarkable testament to their will to be found, the mariners spelled out ‘HELP’ on the beach using palm leaves, a crucial factor in their discovery,” Lt. Chelsea Garcia, who coordinated the search and rescue mission on Sunday, said in the statement.

The aircraft crew deployed survival packages to help the men before the Coast Guard dropped them a radio a day later from a military aircraft sent from Hawaii, establishing a line of communication.

“They expressed a desire for assistance in returning to Polowat,” the Coast Guard said, adding that the men had said they were in good health and had access to food and water, but that their skiff had been damaged and its engine was not functional.

On Tuesday, a Coast Guard ship, the USCGC Oliver Henry, arrived at the island and picked up the men to bring them home.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see the faces of those we’ve helped,” said Lt. Ray Cerrato, the commanding officer of the ship.

A similar rescue also took place in Micronesian waters in 2016 when three men whose boat was overturned swam two miles to reach a tiny island, on which they wrote “HELP” in the sand . The Coast Guard rescued them.

Two other people who went missing later that year were saved from a Micronesian island after writing “SOS ” in the sand.

John Yoon is a Times reporter based in Seoul who covers breaking and trending news. More about John Yoon

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Nearly 750 small boat arrivals recorded at weekend ahead of Rwanda bill votes

Rishi Sunak braced for fresh round of wrangling over plan that is due to cost taxpayers £1.8m per deportee

The number of people travelling by small boat to seek asylum in the UK hit a new daily high for 2024 at the weekend, figures show, as Rishi Sunak braces for a fresh round of parliamentary wrangling over the Rwanda deportation bill.

Unions and charities are preparing to mount legal challenges if the bill, which is meant to “stop the boats”, passes into law this week.

Official Home Office data shows 534 people were detected making the Channel crossing by small boat on Sunday, after 214 travelled on Saturday. It means about 6,000 people have made the journey so far this year, with more than 75,000 arrivals recorded two years on from the Rwanda deal being signed.

The deal will cost UK taxpayers about £1.8m for each asylum seeker, according to Whitehall’s official auditor, although no one has so far been deported.

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Ministers will seek to strip out changes made by peers who want extra legal safeguards, including a provision to ensure “due regard” for domestic and international law.

Victoria Atkins, the health secretary, suggested on Sunday the Home Office would be “ready to go” in implementing the plan once the bill entered the statute books.

The legislation seeks to revive the government’s plan to send some asylum seekers on one-way flights to Kigali. The scheme has faced a series of setbacks since it was announced two years ago by the then prime minister, Boris Johnson. It declares the east African country safe after the policy was grounded by the supreme court ruling it unlawful .

Government insiders remain confident the bill will pass by the end of this week after another round of parliamentary ping pong between the Commons and Lords.

Labour has indicated it will not block the bill, with local elections looming and the government hoping for a confrontation over the scheme. However, a group of Labour and crossbench peers are expected to send the bill back to the Commons again.

The Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme her amendment “restores the jurisdiction of domestic courts who are defenestrated by this bill” and detailed other amendments including exemptions for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking and for people who “put themselves in harm’s way overseas serving the British crown”.

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The charity Care4Calais, which helped block flights to Rwanda last year, said it had recruited volunteers to identify people who were due to be removed to the east-central African country. It intends to offer legal support to asylum seekers to try to keep them in the UK.

Meanwhile, the Times reported on Monday that Britain had also approached countries including Costa Rica, Armenia, Ivory Coast and Botswana in an effort to replicate the scheme. Sources said the claims were accurate but referred to talks that took place last year.

Sunak gave the Home Office and Foreign Office a deadline of last autumn to secure two additional deals, according to the paper.

A government spokesperson said Britain was “continuing to work with a range of international partners to tackle global illegal migration challenges”. They said: “Our focus right now is passing the safety of Rwanda bill, which builds on the Illegal Migration Act, and putting plans in place to get flights off the ground as soon as possible.”

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    Equip your yacht with a high-quality tender to serve as an aid and to enable you to have fun. Choose an RIB yacht dinghy with a rigid hull and a neoprene/hypalon or PVC inflatable tube, which is very popular for its robustness, space and great agility. ... Ideal dinghy or small robust boat. The 3.4 is sure to please: Easy to steer, 3 large ...

  17. How to buy the best tender

    Size. Inflatables suitable for yacht tenders start at around 2.00m (6ft 6in). This is an adequate size for a small yacht and will be capable of taking two people safely with a small (2 to 2.5hp) outboard. To carry four in safety in choppy conditions you will need to go up to 2.90m (9ft 6in) or more.

  18. The Best Tenders for Yachts 2024

    RIBs are probably the most popular choice of tenders for yachts. Rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) are probably the type of tender for sailboats that you'll see most commonly when you're out on the water. They are not to be confused with soft inflatable boats (detailed below). The hard hull of a RIB makes it much more hard-wearing and durable.

  19. Water Tender Small Dinghy

    Use as a yacht tender or as a fun vacation boat at your lake cottage. Large seating areas include recessed beverage holders and built-in oarlock sockets. This rowboat meets CE and US Coast Guard safety standards. Height: 21″ (53cm) Limited Lifetime Warranty. Materials: Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex® High Density Polyethylene. Model: Water ...

  20. Dinghy

    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.

  21. Best inflatable boat: 9 compact tenders put to the test

    Inflatables are everywhere: paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, tents, kites and wings - and inflatable boat technology has long been a practical option for tenders, RIBs, liferafts and lifejackets. But what the 'new wave' of inflatable boats brings to the practical boating landscape is the air floor, which makes very stable, very lightweight tenders a very practical option for people with ...

  22. Yankee Tender

    From Issue January 2020. The plans for Yankee Tender first appeared in 1979 in WoodenBoat Nos. 30-32 as part of a how-to-build series. When you get the six generously detailed sheets of plans from The WoodenBoat Store for this 12′4″ flat-bottomed rowing skiff, you also get reprints of those magazine articles with their numbered photos and ...

  23. 6 Best Inflatable Yacht Tenders for 2023

    Scout 365. 1. Takacat 260 LX Innovative Tender. Takacat 260 LX is a custom-made PVC designed innovative tender. The inflatable boat features an air deck floor for a high tensile rigid hull core. It has an aerodynamic bow design that will get you over the rough and choppy waters to your yacht in no time.

  24. Novartis begins tender offer for cancer-focused MorphoSys

    Novartis said on Thursday it has launched a tender offer to acquire MorphoSys , a German developer of cancer treatments, for an aggregate 2.7 billion euros ($2.9 billion).

  25. 3 Men Rescued from Pacific Island After Writing 'Help' With Palm Leaves

    Three men who were stranded on a remote Pacific island for more than a week were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard after spelling out "HELP" on a beach using palm leaves. The lost men were found ...

  26. Nearly 750 small boat arrivals recorded at weekend ahead of Rwanda bill

    The number of people travelling by small boat to seek asylum in the UK hit a new daily high for 2024 at the weekend, figures show, as Rishi Sunak braces for a fresh round of parliamentary ...

  27. Brazil authorities open investigations into boat with decomposed bodies

    The Brazilian federal prosecutors office and Para state's federal police said in statements on Saturday that they will open investigations following reports of a boat found with decomposed bodies ...

  28. Cyprus steps up efforts to stop irregular migration, patrol off Lebanon

    A Cypriot law enforcement vessel was off the coast of Lebanon on Wednesday amid reports that Cyprus is stepping up efforts to prevent Syrian refugees reaching the island on small boats.