PRODUCT REVIEW: Newport Vessels Inflatable Dinghy Boats
To continue our series reviewing the latest inflatable boats to hit the market, today we’re going to take a look at what Newport Vessels has to offer.
This 12-year-old company has made quite a mark in the industry, releasing a wide range of affordable inflatables, paddleboards as well as some high-quality trolling motors.
Based out of California, the outfit is run by a team of outdoor enthusiasts that actually practice what they preach, (or in this case sell).
This is evident in the high level of customer support that they offer (more on that in a bit).
Newport Vessels Inflatable Dingies
In this review roundup we’re going to be looking at the Baja at 11 ft 9 in, the popular Newport at 10 ft 6 in and the Del Mar at 9 ft 6 in.
Although the specifications differ slightly between each in terms of max load, and what size motor you can attach, the actual construction material, build quality and included accessories is the same throughout.
Therefore, we will be reviewing the series as a whole, leaving you to decide which size best suits your needs.
So if you are ready? Let’s take a look…
Newport Vessel Dingy Boats – Material Quality
One of the most important issues to look at when buying an inflatable dingy is the quality of the material used.
Durability is key, and not just from the perspective of being puncture-proof. If you guys are anything like me, your inflatable will see a lot of action.
Clearly the boat has to be able to take the inevitable knocks that occur both in the water and while in storage, however, there are also the elements to think about.
Sun and salt all take their toll, and I use my inflatable (I own the Baja model) in conditions that offer both in abundance. I must confess that I very often fail to hose my boat down after use too.
Anyway, I am going off-topic a little but I am sure you get my point; an inflatable dingy has to be made of the “right stuff”.
To increase the anti-corrosive properties further, the whole thing is specialty coated. That’s why these boats are so forgiving in tough environmental conditions, (or under slack ownership).
The base of the boat is made from a hard-wearing material too. The 24mm thick, aluminum-framed plywood floor will not perish anytime soon. This is also custom hard marine coated to withstand rotting and general moisture decay.
In short, the material used is to ensure that the inflatable will stand the test of time.
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But what about the construction quality?
Okay, so we’ve covered the material used. And while it is all well and good using high-quality PVC, wood, and coatings if the manufacturing process isn’t up to scratch, we still have a problem.
Materials are only one part of the story.
While I can’t say that I have taken a tour of the factory to see how these inflatables are put together, Newport Vessel’s explanation of the process does sound impressive.
Not only are the seams fused in a process of hot air welding, but accessories and other relevant components are also sealed to the frame using high-quality German-made adhesives.
As Newport Vessels state: “(their) meticulous manufacturing process focuses on quality control, including pressure, leak, UV, and stretch tests throughout the boat’s construction.”
We don’t have to take their word for it on this, however, as the finished product actually speaks for itself.
From my own experience and as cited in a large number of Amazon customer reviews that say the same thing, these inflatables really are a high-quality product.
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Does the performance live up to the same standard?
Performance is clearly another important area that you need to consider when buying an inflatable dingy.
To deliver in this regard, Newport Vessels have made some interesting design choices.
First off is the fact that these boats have such a low center of gravity. This is excellent for stability, especially during times of high speed and turning.
Each of the boats in this particular series has oversized 18-inch tubes, again helping to increase the overall sturdiness of the ride.
My Baja inflatable also has a wide footprint at 11ft 9inch. This too makes for a vessel that is easy to get in and out of making it suitable for all members of my family.
Max Specifications between models
The full list of specifications can be revealed in the tabs below, however, let’s take a quick look at the recommended loads for each inflatable:
The Del Mar (9′ 6″):
The maximum amount of people you can take in the Del Mar is 4 people, (max Load: 1248 lbs). The manufacturers recommend that the engine should be no more than 10HP.
The Newport (10′ 6″)
5 people can fit inside the Newport as it is a foot longer than the Del Mar. The maximum load on offer here is 1,248 lbs.
With regards to the engine, it is recommended that you opt for something no larger than 15HP.
The Baja (11′ 9″)
The Baja will safely accommodate 6 people. The maximum load on this one is 1,519 lbs.
Likewise, the size of the engine can also be increased to 20HP.
The list of accessories that Newport Vessels provide with their inflatables is impressive.
Minus the engine (and you wouldn’t expect this to be included at the price point), you have everything you need for a safe and comfortable boating experience.
The boats come with 2 aluminum bench seats; I would recommend bringing cushions when you go out in the dingy, however; especially if you have low tolerant passengers.
Two aluminum oars are also provided.
Handy additional accessories such as towing D-rings and topside D-rings for Biminis etc all come in the package.
The carrying & storage bag is well made and durable.
The foot pump is okay and you might want to think about getting a more efficient after-market electric one if you’re lazy like me. (That being said, it doesn’t take long at all to pump up using the manual option).
I would also like to have seen an anchor supplied. If you don’t have one, you’re going to need one, especially if you intend to fish. On windy days you will not hold your position for long.
Finally, the boat comes with oarlocks and oar holders for when the engine is in full swing and you’re sitting back, enjoying your ride along the water.
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The Pros and Cons
Overall, the Newport Vessel’s range of inflatable dinghy’s comes highly recommended. The materials and build quality are all top-notch and actually belie the price point (there’s definitely more expensive options around that do not match the performance and durability on offer here). You won’t be disappointed; just make sure you’ve got a mate around to help put the floor panels in. 🙂