Friday, 19 April 2013

The Evolution of Rigid Inflatable Boats

The rigid inflatable boats that we use today were initially developed in the beginning of the 20th century. However, the principle of buoyancy aids obtained from air being squeezed in a ‘bag’- has been used for thousands of years. Some ancient pictures show men crossing water on inflated animal skins. To ensure the right degree of buoyancy and stability, there was a need for more versatile and robust inflatable boats and inflatable structures.
The actual evolution of inflatable boats started with the development of rubber coated fabrics that were used by the airship industry but several airship accidents held back the further development of hydrogen filled airships. Societe Zodiac – an airship maker based in France decided to use the rubber coated fabrics for air filled boats and in the year 1934 he manufactured 2 seater inflatable kayak followed by an inflatable catamaran. The company later added a floor connecting the buoyancy tubes and this is how the modern Zodiac inflatable boats evolved.

After World War 2, the development of inflatable boats took a major leap forward with new synthetic materials - neoprene and Hypalon - being coated onto nylon fabrics. Further, with the production of new generation of glues, inflatable boats could now cope with hard natural elements without becoming brittle, (as natural rubber does) and they also became impervious to salt, UV rays and petrochemicals.

Inflatable boats became popular, and with the progress of manufacturing techniques, boat users appreciated the possibility of combining the inherent buoyancy and stability of an inflatable boat with speed of modern planning hulls. Inboard and outboard motors were then used in these boats – this gave more speed and control to the vessel.

Manufacturing of rigid inflatable boats, tenders and kayaks has now moved into mass production era. RIB manufacturers have developed several sophisticated models of such boats and use high quality heat weld seamed PVC and vinyl materials for coating. The future for RIBs and inflatable marine structures looks bright and the support for the owners and operators of these products is also excellent.


  1. I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post.
    inflatable boats

  2. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post. The whole blog is very nice found some good stuff and good information here Thanks.

    Boat Licence testing

  3. Awesome post. Thanks for sharing, I really learned and realized a lot of things. Keep it up.