Choosing the Right Boat Tender
For those lucky enough to own a large boat or yacht, a requirement for certain ports and certainly for entrance to shallow water, beaches and coves is a suitable boat tender which can be used to travel from the boat to the shoreline.
With a large range of tender options for boat owners, we’ve put together a guide to making the right decisions when purchasing a boat tender, as it’s a costly error if you get it wrong!
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a new tender to go along with your yacht or boat. Here are a few things to think about.
It may be stating the obvious, but you need to consider the size of tender required. This can be determined by a few different factors. Firstly, consider who and what will be using the tender.
If you are required to move bulky items and lots of crew quite a distance to and from shore, then a lightweight, two person inflatable tender really won’t be appropriate, however if your tendering activities are limited to getting into the odd beach and cove from a moored yacht then one of the modern ranges of inflatable tenders such as those from 3d Tender would probably fit the bill very nicely.
Add to this the fact that you really need to consider where your inflatable or semi-rigid tender is being housed when not in use. If you have one of the newer cruisers which has an integral boat house then obviously size of the tender is dictated by the physical dimensions of the boat house, however even those who store on-deck need to consider size.
Fully inflated tenders do take up quite a bit of deck space, which can have all sorts of safety and practicality issues. If your on-board tender is blocking access to actually getting on and off the boat on a diving platform, or even blocking access to the rear of the craft or engine bays then this is obviously not a good situation.
In the case of having limited deck space, perhaps invest in a true inflatable which can be stored in it’s packed state, this way size is not an issue. Some inflatable tenders are now capable of being deployed in less than 15 minutes, so this option is hardly limiting for those without the on-deck space to accommodate a full sized tender.
Know Your Requirements
Of course, choosing the right size of tender is just one of the factors you need to consider when choosing a new tender to go with your boat or yacht. What you really need to think about is where you will be using the boat tender and how much.
For pleasure boaters who have direct access to dock, a tender will probably only be needed for occasional use, but for those who moor out in the middle of a busy harbour, getting the choice of tender right can make the difference between being buffeted on every trip and having a safe and reliable trip to shore.
As a rule of thumb, if you are one of those boaters who moors mid-channel then think about a larger semi-rigid or rigid hulled boat tender, perhaps a RIB which uses some of the newer materials like Carbon Fibre to cut down on weight and increase strength.
If you do have the benefit of a full-time solid mooring and don’t move away from home port too much then one of the much lighter fully inflatable tenders for occasional use will probably be better use of on-deck space.
To Tow or Not To Tow
Towing is always an option for any tender, but bear in mind that any towed inflatable boat can be tossed around in rougher seas.
Tow line length, the height of swell and even the weight of the inflatable can have a bearing here, so if you plan to tow full time then bear in mind both the weight and the design of the tender you buy. High fuel usage and even a lost tender can be the result if you don’t get it right!