Average Length: 5 to 12 ft.
Capacity: 2 to 5
Propulsion Type: Outboard engine, paddle
Hull Type: Vee, flat, tri
These small craft are usually less than 10 feet long and make a good companion boat for camping trips or for convenient use in fishing smaller waters. They're easy to carry on top of a car. They're also light enough to carry on board a cruiser to be rowed or motored ashore when the mothership cannot venture into the shallows.
Dinghies are intermediary boats. Usually towed or stowed by larger ships, a dinghy is any kind of small boat used to travel through shallower waters to get to your destination. When a large ship can't make it through an area without running aground, then the dinghy gets called into service. Its size does not hold it back. Indeed, the dinghy's small size is what allows it to go where it needs to go.
Activities You Can Do with Your Family on Dinghies
After a larger boat carries you and your family out on an excursion, the dinghy can take you the extra mile. If there's a small island without a dock that you want to explore or a tributary you want to check out, leave the big boat behind and take the dinghy out. These shallow water boats are also ideal for fishing in areas that would cause trouble for the larger boat. There could be a delta or shore area with calm waters that a deep hull would absolutely wreck.
Advantages of Dinghies
A dinghy can go places other, larger ships should stay away from. Some spots have shallow water or unpredictable seafloors, so a deep hull would be dangerous there. Some docks don't allow big ships. If you want to go to port there, you need to do so in a small boat. In locations where low-wake zones are strictly enforced, it might be better to take this instead of the yacht. They are good flats boats as well, able to maneuver with ease in shallow water for fishing or exploring shores and rivers.
Advice from Experts
Dinghies come in a variety of designs. They can be powered by sail, an outboard motor or oars. Some of the motors even run on hybrid solar power. There is also some variety in hull manufacture. They can have a hard hull, made of a material like plastic, wood, fiberglass or aluminum. The rubber boats are inflatable. Some people like inflatable dinghies because they take up very little room aboard the main vessel. There's even a mix called the rigid-hulled inflatable boat that combines both attributes. It has a sturdy hull for seafaring and inflatable tops to keep the boat up if it starts taking on water. Ultimately, a big part of your decision about what to get will be determined by what can be stored or towed by your boat.
Why Buy This Boat
The large boat you have is great, but its size is both a blessing and a curse. There are some places it simply cannot go. Therefore, it's important to have a dinghy available to take into shallower waters. You usually can't fit too many people in a dinghy. Often, no more than a few. If a big boat can't handle shallower waters, and you don't want to pay for a second slip or extra dock space, then a dinghy is the right choice for you.
Don’t forget to register your boat, check your state boating rules and regulations before you leave the dock. Learn more about fish and ski boats in our next section.