Port Credit Marine Survey
& Yacht Delivery
8. Dinghies
Another area of disagreement (milder this time) among cruisers, but we are all limited by size of the mother ship, weight ( of the dinghy, silly) or money. Regardless of your limitations, there are a few things to consider. And as usual I have my own opinions but c'mon, you wouldn't have read this far if you didn't want to hear them.

A reliable dinghy is indispensable as it is your basic transportation to & from shore and will add immeasurably to your experience especially in the Bahamas or Dry Tortugas where a dinghy you trust and enjoy will encourage exploration among the keys.

anchors, size does matter…… an 11’ dinghy will be more enjoyable than 8 footer in a stiff chop and your butt will stay drier. Many cruisers with little dinks (c’mon now) stay aboard while those with larger ones are out enjoying life.

Some prefer hard dinks (sigh...) of fiberglass or even plywood. Ours is a 9’ RIB with aluminum bottom and I have always wanted a larger one but our stern davits just will not permit it. Power matters, with two adults, two folding bicycles, a dog and 11 bags of groceries. An 8’, soft bottom dinghy with a 5hp motor is not a lot of fun when you consider you will often be anchored a mile from the dinghy dock.

Hard also matters, the photo below shows an oyster bed off the bow of our dink and these succulent morsels can shred a soft bottom (the dinghy, the dinghy !) in seconds.
Our dink has an aluminum bottom, which has stood up to numerous unplanned encounters with razor sharp oyster beds and with only a few scratches to show for it.

Another benefit of aluminum versus a fiberglass bottom is weight, our 9’ dinghy weighs only 79lbs. which means our 8hp outboard Suzuki can drive it at 29mph with two aboard. Wide and thick rub rails are also advised for rubbing up against oyster encrusted pilings. Don't forget to get a good quality lock and 20' of cable or chain for the motor and dinghy as unfortunately there are places where dinghies tend to go walkabout.

Flying dink, another option

Oyster beds like this can rip your soft bottom :)

Dink against oyster encrusted piling

Chapter 9. Reading The Water.

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