Comparing The Top 3 Dinghy Boat Styles [Research]

You might be wondering;

All Dinghy Boats are the same right? They pretty much all serve the same purpose, so why not just buy the cheapest one?


You couldn't be more wrong. While generally they can be used for the same hobbies, or jobs, certain Dinghies excel better than others in certain fields. In this blog we'll take a look at the pros and cons of each type of Dinghy as well as my opinion on the most well rounded Dinghy boat.

Let's take a look at the Top 3 Dinghy Boats For Sale;

                             1). Dinghy Inflatable Boat
                                                Dinghy Inflatable Boat - [Sale]
                            2). Dinghy Fiberglass Boat
                                                Dinghy Fiberglass Boat, Dinghy Boat for sale - [Sale]
                           3). Plastic Dinghy Boat
                                                  Oliver Dinghy Boat For Sale - [Sale]

Let's see what they're made of;


1). As per Wikipedia; "An inflatable boat is a lightweight boat constructed with its sides and bow made of flexible tubes containing pressurized gas. For smaller boats, the floor and hull is often flexible, while for boats longer than 3 meters (9.8 ft), the floor typically consists of three to five rigid plywood or aluminum sheets fixed between the tubes, but not joined rigidly together. Often the transom is rigid, providing a location and structure for mounting an outboard motor."              

(Wikipedia (2009) Inflatable Boat. Retrieved from 


2). "Fiberglass is an immensely versatile material due to its light weight, inherent strength, weather-resistant finish and variety of surface textures." According to Wikipedia. Fiberglass has been around since the 1920's, and is used in a multitude of products, like in this case, a Fiberglass Dinghy.

(Wikipedia (2017) Fiberglass. Retrieved from  


3). "High-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene high-density (PEHD) is a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum.With a high strength-to-density ratio, HDPE is used in the production of many every-day products. HDPE is also commonly recycled. In 2007, the global HDPE market reached a volume of more than 30 million tons". So as per Wikipedia, the HDPE market has grown exponentially, as it's proven how reliable it is. I can definitely say the same thing about The Oliver Boat.

(Wikipedia (2007) High-Density Polyethylene. Retrieved from

Why does this matter?

It matters because when comparing very similar products, it helps to research and learn some background on each of the subjects. (Yay school)

By now I'm sure you're very eager to know the pros and cons that separate these 3 fine Dinghies. 

Let's get down to it.


              Dinghy Inflatable Boat, Dinghy Boat for sale, Dinghy Motorboat, Dinghy Sailboat


Dinghy Inflatable Boat:


    1). Transportation:

             The major sell point of any Dinghy Inflatable Boat is it's ease of transport. They can be easily deflated and literally carried by hand anywhere you need to take it. You can store it in your trunk, on the backseat of your car, and even under your car seat where those french fries from last week reside. No need for any boat trailers, or huge trucks. 


    2). Weight:

             Dinghy Inflatable Boats are extraordinarily light in weight. They can usually be moved around with 1 or 2 people, while it's inflated. It's light weight make the Dinghy Inflatable boat also very easy to launch. The best part of it's light weight is it doesn't affect it's carry weight whatsoever. A 10' Dinghy Inflatable can hold about 1200-1300 lbs depending on it's design. 

    3). Durability:

             Newer Dinghy Inflatable models have the tubes made from PVC, making them a lot more durable than traditional Dinghy Inflatables.

    4). Flexibility:

             Dinghy Inflatables can be used for many occasions. The most common use is for boating and hanging out. They can also be used for fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, as a tender, as a tow boat and even as a row boat.

    5). Carry Weight:

             Surprisingly enough, Dinghy Inflatables being lightweight doesn't affect their carry load. A well designed Inflatable Boat can haul upwards of a 1000 lbs. That's really good considering most Dinghy Inflatables weight between 80 lbs and 130 lbs.

 And now;


    1). What makes Dinghy Inflatables so great is the same reason people tend to have nightmares about them. Since Dinghy Inflatables are filled with air, any puncture, rip, or tear will leave you and your precious Inflatable sinking. Not to mention the cost and time for repairing it, if you're lucky, if not you'll have to fork over the cost of having to replace your Inflatable Dinghy. In other words, it can get really expensive, really fast. 

    2). Like stated earlier in the Pros section, many Dinghy Inflatable Boats now have their tubes made from PVC to increase it's durability as well as protecting it from rips, tears, and punctures. These Same Dinghy Inflatables also have their hull made out of aluminum, PVC, or plastic to prevent the Inflatable Dinghy from sinking in case of the tubes capsizing. This does make the entire Inflatable more durable but at the cost of it's greatest asset, it's transportation. With the hull made of aluminum, PVC, or plastic, it means the Dinghy Inflatable can no longer be collapsed and put into a bag for easy transportation. The Inflatable Boat now has to be transported like any other conventional Dinghy. Even with the tubes being made out of PVC, they can still tear, rip, or get punctured. At a much lower rate albeit compared to a regular Dinghy Inflatable, but just as expensive.

    3). Another variable that tends to rapidly decline the life expectancy of a Dinghy Inflatable Boat are UV Rays. I don't know where you live, but here in Miami, FL. there's no hiding from the sun. Even in the shade you're getting constantly bombarded. So extra care must be taken unless you want your investment to go down the drain in about 3 years.

    4). Space on a Dinghy Inflatable is kind of like an optical illusion. Yes, the Inflatable Boat is 10' long and 5' wide, but you lose a big chunk of that space to the tubes inner linings. Dinghy Inflatables lack leg room and overall space to maneuver around in. This forces you to have to settle for a even bigger (see more expensive) Inflatable Boat just to have the same free space a Dinghy Fiberglass, or a Plastic Dinghy Boat would naturally have at a smaller (see cheaper) size.


    5). While you can still use a Dinghy Inflatable to go fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, rowing, use it as a tender, or a tow boat; there's a certain uneasiness that stays with you in regards to the "tenderness" of your Inflatable Boat. While you're reeling in that huge snapper, your mind rushes to the possibility of your hook, or a jagged rock, or any other sharp object in the sea, maybe pinching one of the Dinghy Inflatable's tubes. Something as simple as parking your Inflatable Boat at a slip, and bumping into a pile with a sharp edge can spell certain doom and ruin the entire experience. That extra stress tends to take the enjoyment out of doing pretty much anything. 

Enjoy this very scary video courtesy of Reddit User: RickiDangerous


 Moving right along;

Dinghy Fiberglass Boat:


    1).  Molded:

             Since Dinghy Fiberglass Boats can be molded, this gives the Fiberglass Dinghy market a huge variety of differently shaped and designed Dinghy Boats, and not just 1 or 2 styles.

    2). Strength:

             Dinghy Fiberglass Boats have such mechanical strength and stiffness for its weight, that it can out-perform most of the other materials on this list. Fiberglass boats don't tend to dent, which which prevents huge destabilizing issues. 

    3).  Durability:

             Dinghy Fiberglass Boats are incredibly resilient, and thus have a very long lifespan. Fiberglass Boats are: anti-magnetic, fire resistant, are a good electrical insulator and are weatherproof. On top of that, Dinghy Fiberglass Boats are extremely low maintenance. 


    1). Since there is  a wide variety of shapes and designs of Dinghy Fiberglass Boats, it is even more imperative for you to do extensive research on each design. Certain designs will have better stability than others. While some might have an awkward shape for fishing, and others an awkward shape for rowing. The last thing you want to do is waste your money and not be able to enjoy your Dinghy Boat.

    2). Dinghy Fiberglass Boats are very low maintenance but they need to be re-gel coated about every five years. This gel coating and can result in airborne fibers which may be an issue to asthma sufferers or anyone who is typically sensitive.

    3). One draw back about Dinghy Fiberglass Boats are their weight. They are significantly heavier than their other counterparts. Heavier means harder to transport. 

    4). Dinghy Fiberglass Boats look really nice, and tend to perform well, but building a Dinghy Boat out of Fiberglass requires a lot of time and a lot work. What does all that equate to? A much more expensive Dinghy Boat. 

And lastly;

Plastic Dinghy Boat:


    1). Resistance:

             Virtually indestructible, these impact-resistant Plastic Dinghy Boats can hit anything at full force and just bounce off. Jagged rocks? Sharp piling? Pushed of a mountain side? Check, check, and check. You can take a sledgehammer and pound on it all you want, it's not going to break. 

    2). Molded:

             Similar to Dinghy Fiberglass Boats, The Plastic Dinghy is Roto-Molded. This means that there is a lot variety when it comes to the design of Plastic Dinghies. Another luxury of being Roto-Molded is decks can have molded-in compartments, and large accessories like seat bases or consoles. 

    3). Maintenance:

             You thought maintenance on a Dinghy Fiberglass Boat was minimal, wait till you try out a Plastic Dinghy Boat. They require 0 maintenance. That's right. No polishing, no waxing, no applying gel, no nothing. Just some water and soap whenever you want to wash it. Talk about convenient.

    4). Recyclable:

             No other Dinghy Boat on this list, or in the world at that, is 100% recyclable. Saving the world one Dinghy at a time.

    5). Usage:

             Plastic Dinghy Boats, more Specifically The Oliver Dinghy Boat, are incredibly stable Dinghies. So stable in fact that they're great for any activity; fishing, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, rowing, tendering, and even as a tow boat. From my experiences, I've seen may Inflatable Boats being towed away by Plastic Dinghy Boats. It always brings a smile to my face.

    6). Carry Weight:

             Plastic Dinghy Boats have a high weight threshold. The Oliver Dinghy Boat for example, standing at 8.6' long, can hold 1075 lbs. That's over half a ton. Yikes!

    7). Ease of Mind:

             The best part of using a Plastic Dinghy, is the ease of mind you have when you take it out. No matter what you do, or hit, you know that Dinghy isn't going anywhere. You can be carefree out in the middle of the water, although we still ask for you to be safe and follow boating protocols. 

   Shout out to Wally for this Incredible Video showing how durable Plastic Dinghy Boats are!


    1). Polyethylene isn’t as structurally stiff as fiberglass, so plastic boats are limited in size. There are few over 20’ and many of the relatively large models require structural hull supports built from different materials.

    2). Molding tolerances are not as exact as they are with fiberglass, so items like hatches may not fit as perfectly as they would on a fiberglass boat. Luckily the Oliver Dinghy Boat has a hatch that fits perfectly on every Dinghy made. 

    3). Plastic Dinghy Boats don’t tend look quite as nice as fiberglass boats, and that's because they don‘t have a glossy gel coat. 

    4).  Unlike Inflatable Boats, Plastic Dinghy Boats tend to have some weight to them. The Oliver Dinghy Boat for example weighs in at 140 lbs, it's only about 20 pounds more than your conventional Dinghy Inflatable Boat. 


Good news! There's no more reading!

Well, just my final thoughts.


From my experience, I'd definitely go for a Plastic Dinghy boat over the other two. This isn't to say that the other two were outperformed in every way. I like to have peace of mind when I go out in the water, and only have to worry about what's in front of me. I like being able to bring everything I want with me and still be in a highly stabilized Dinghy Boat. I like feeling safe, and knowing that i won't capsize in the middle of the water. Finally, I also don't want to pay a fortune, especially for 8'-10' Dinghy. This is why I bring my Oliver Dinghy Boat everywhere with me, and will continue to do so.

                    Here's a Review of The Oliver Dinghy Boat done by our good friends at

                                              Lets Go Fishing! South Florida

 Please make sure to drop in on their Channel and give them a Like and a Subscribe. They deserve it for all the hard work they put in reviewing all kinds of marine products, that way you the customer never gets a bad deal. 


  • Grant Glover

    The passage about PVC being the more durable material in Pros (3) is just misleading. PVC is not a very durable tube material, especially against UV light. The other, preferred, material the tubes are commonly constructed from is CSM, commonly known by the old trade name Hypalon. The difference is that CSM is rubber based, where PVC is plastic based and so the materials age differently. PVC tubes are notorious for failing quickly, whereas Hypalon (CSM) can last a decade or two easily.

    I cannot comment definitively on which material, PVC or CSM, has a greater abrasion resistance because that is largely dependent on the construction of the tubes: number of plies, rub rails, etc.

  • Jacob T.

    Not sure where you guys got it weighed 148 lbs when everywhere it’s stated it’s 140 lbs. Heck even weighed mine to see if it was wrong, and it came out to be 140. Anywho, best decision i’ve ever made with a purchase, already recommended it to many friends!

  • R. Stein

    There are many Dinghies that weigh almost 200 lbs and only have a carry weight of about 400-500 lbs. The fact that the Oliver only weighs 148 lbs, can be moved by 1-2 person(s), AND be able to hold 1075 lbs in weight is ridiculous.

  • J. Santos

    Hello: I certainly like the Oliver boat. The major reason why I am not sold on it is the weight. 148 lbs is a little heavy for me.

Leave a comment