Small inflatable boats and pontoons are definitely worth the investment. The one caveat to the consumer is to know your expectations for the watercraft. For most people a small inflatable is advantageous because of portability, ease of use and price. There may be times, when accommodating a large group or desiring an extreme amount of speed, that a traditional hard-shell boat would be better.
Many different kinds of small inflatables are on the market today – pontoons, kayaks, motor mount boats, sailboats and canoes. Most inflatables fall in the price range of $160- $1500.
Inflatable pontoon boats are popular for fishing. They are quite lightweight and offer freedom from trailers and ramps. They are quite stable on windy or rough waters. These pontoons are extremely easy to maneuver. The full floor allows plenty of room for gear, tackle, and accessories. The inflatable bladders are very sturdy and easy to patch if they do become damaged. You do have to deal with set up, but it normally takes no more than 5 to 10 minutes.
Inflatable kayaks come geared for the complete beginner to the more advanced river enthusiast. Especially with an inflatable kayak it is important to know what expectation you have for the watercraft. There are different kayaks for quietly perusing the shoreline of a lake versus Class IV whitewater rapids. The only drawback to inflatable kayaks is that they are not as fast as traditional, hard-shell models. Especially for beginners though, these are a great option.
Inflatable canoes allow the user the freedom of having a boat for leisurely weekend trips and can carry a great deal of gear and weight down a river. Inflatable boats that can handle large outboard motors offer a much cheaper option for a sport like water skiing or boarding. However, what is gained in portability, may be lost in speed, stability and size. Inflatable fishing boats cost only a fraction of the price of rigid hulled boats and are easy to maintain and to repair. Inflatable sailboats offer a great option for skimming the lake.
Small inflatable boats and pontoons are a viable option for most people, due to the portable and economical features. These allow more people to experience the fun and joy of boating activities.