Choosing the Right Inflatable Dinghy Boat

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Inflatable boats are very useful vessels because they are one of the few types of watercraft that can be made smaller for storage and convenient transportation. You may want to use your inflatable dinghy as a lifeboat, a tender or just by itself as a convenient light craft.

As is the case with all types of boats, the right dinghy for your needs may not be the same as the right choice for someone else’s requirements. Below is some information on how to choose the right dinghy boat.

The most important thing to think about when choosing the right size is the purpose you plan to use the dinghy for. You may use it for transportation, fishing or many other purposes. Your intended purpose will affect the capacity, water condition, speed and cargo requirements for the boat.


One of the most significant considerations in choosing the size of any boat is the number of people you expect to need to fit in it. This is especially significant for a dinghy used as an inflatable yacht tender or lifeboat. Whether you are using the boat for fun, transportation or safety, being able to fit the right number of people is important.

Newport Vessels offers a variety of inflatable boat sizes ranging from eight feet to 12.5. These are the maximum numbers of people you can expect to fit in each boat:

If you are expecting to be transporting multiple people regularly, one of the larger options is likely the best choice. If you plan to use it as an inflatable fishing boat or just for some quiet relaxation, a smaller size may be the right options. Keep in mind that these are maximum capacities. If you intend to regularly transport cargo, you may need a larger size to fit both people and cargo.


Think about where you will be using your inflatable dinghy boat. A small boat will perform better in quiet water. If you are expecting to be using your boat as an inflatable yacht tender or otherwise in rougher or more open water, consider opting for a larger model.

Keep in mind that larger models can also handle more powerful motors. For smaller Carmel, for example, should only be used with around a four-horsepower motor. The Catalina, however, can handle up to a 20-horsepower outboard motor. A more powerful motor may be needed if you are expected to boat in areas with strong currents and winds.

Additionally, think about the size constraints of the typical area you will be boating. If you are crossing a harbor or larger water body, you likely can use any size available. However, if you expect to use your boat as an inflatable fishing boat or in tight spaces such as small rivers and lakes, you may want to opt for a smaller, more maneuverable size.


Most Newport Vessels dinghy boats can get up to between 15 and 20 miles per hour with their maximum-sized motor mounted. However, the smallest option, the  Carmel tops out around 10 miles per hour.

Consider how quickly you’ll need to move. If you are planning to fish or just gently cruise around, you may have only minimal speed requirements. However, if you are planning to use the boat for safety or transportation, you may want to opt for a faster option.


Of course, the people you are carrying aren’t the only capacity consideration. You may also need to bring cargo with you, especially if you are using the boat as a tender or fishing boat. These are the estimated maximum load capacities of each Newport Vessels inflatable boat:

  • Carmel – 850 pounds
  • Dana – 1,067 pounds
  • Seascape – 1,067 pounds
  • Del Mar – 1,124 pounds
  • Santa Cruz – 1,124 pounds
  • Newport – 1,248 pounds
  • Baja – 1,519 pounds
  • Catalina – 1,603 pounds

Keep in mind that these numbers are the maximum total load. That includes both people, cargo and any other weight. If you are planning to move people and goods, you may want to opt for a larger model to enable you to handle both.


Last but not least, plan how you will move the dinghy when it isn’t in use. The Carmel, Seascape and Santa Cruz feature an inflatable floor, meaning they are lighter. They weigh 70, 93 and 99 pounds respectively.

The Dana, Del Mar, Newport, Baja and Catalina have hard, wood floors. They weigh 107, 116, 132, 160 and 165 pounds respectively. They also can be packed into different sizes with the Carmel being 41x26x12 inches when shipped and the Catalina being 47x27x15 inches when shipped.


Order your inflatable dinghy boat from Newport Vessels today. Our boats are made to the highest quality standards and can be used for almost any small watercraft purpose. Now that you know more about selecting the right size, you are ready to order today.

1 comment

  • I am interested in the Santa Cruz with the air floor. What is the transom material? Do you have a drawing that shows all the dimensions of the boat?

    Related question: Is the Seascape model in production? If so I would be very interested in that model as well.

    Mil Roth

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