What Size Dinghy Do I Need ( Boat Capacity )

What Size Dinghy Do I Need ( Boat Capacity )

Last Updated on April 20, 2022 by Amit Abhishek

A dinghy is an excellent solution for you to get ashore or explore creeks when cruising. Whether you own a large boat, yacht or even a ship; having these small boat compliment well with your sailing experience.

You can use them for short sailing, fishing, rescue operation, getting ashore or solo adventure like water sports. Being somewhat classic and simple in design they can be powered by oars, outboard motor and sails.

They came in wide size ranges, types and propulsion at different price range. So you need to choose your dinghy boat based on need, application or specified criteria.

When planning to buy a dinghy the primary question you need to find the answer to is the size of the dinghy suitable for you. According to the size, the weight carrying capacity of the dinghy will change.

We will share a guide below, which will help you understand which dinghy you should go with and what kind of weight carrying capacity it will offer.

How Much Weight Can A Dinghy Hold?

The best way to avoid overloading your boat is to not load it beyond a certain limit. A boat is designed to carry a set number of passenger; weight of cargo and its own machinery.

The amount of weight that a dinghy can hold is dependent on its dimensions. To get a rough idea, you can refer to the table below.

Dinghy Size
Weight Carrying Capacity
Dry weight
8 ft
1000 lbs
41 to 60 lbs
10 ft
1200 lbs
55 to 97 lbs
12 ft
1500 lbs
91 to 230 lbs
14 ft
1800 lbs
120 to 290 lbs
16 ft
2100 lbs
163 to 350 lbs

The best way to know how much weight can your dinghy holds by reviewing the boat capacity marked on the capacity plate placed at the helm or at the boat stern.

This metal plate generally indicate critical boat parameters like; maximum speed, max capacity, engine horsepower, and other technical details such as model number, batch and serial no etc.

In case you can’t have or find the capacity plate; you can always calculate maximum weight for your boat. To do that you have to multiply the length by the boat’s weight and divide it by 15.

That will let you know how many people and how much weight can your boat carry. For example, if the dimensions of your boat are 18′ x 6′, your boat can carry 7 people with a total weight of 150 lbs.

Bear in mind it will give you a rough estimation and is not the actual max load capacity.

The Real Score about Boat Capacity

It is important that we keep our boats balanced and afloat to avoid any accidents along the way and for a successful ride in the process. With this being said, boat capacity is the maximum amount of weight that your boat can hold before it becomes overloaded and sinks.

What’s included in the boat capacity? Let this article guide you about that.

Does Boat Capacity Include the Motor?

Yes, the boat capacity includes the motor in the calculations.

The gross load-carrying capacity of the boat includes the weight of the motor. In fact, it includes the weight of everything else on the boat. That is why, if you’re carrying any gear, you have to calculate that as well.

As mentioned earlier, boat capacity refers to the maximum weight you can load onto the boat before it topples down. This includes the people on board and the boat itself, any gear or supplies you have, even the motor.

For example, if your boat has a capacity of 1,000 pounds and you have 500 pounds worth of people and supplies onboard, you can only add a motor that weighs up to 500 pounds.

It is always better to err on caution when it comes to boat capacity. That’s why it’s important to consider all of these factors when planning a trip and estimate how much weight you’ll be carrying.

Why Is This Important?

Knowing the boat’s capacity is important for several reasons. First, it ensures that you don’t overload your boat and put yourself in danger.

Second, it helps you stay within the weight limits set by your boat’s manufacturer. If you exceed these limits, you could void your warranty or damage your boat.

It’s also worth noting that different boat types have different capacity limits. For example, a pontoon boat will typically have a higher capacity than a kayak.

This is because pontoon boats are designed to hold more weight and have more room for gear and supplies. Keep these factors in mind the next time you plan a boat trip.

Make sure you know your boat’s capacity and take all necessary precautions to stay safe on the water. Do your research and be prepared before heading out onto the open water.

Choosing The Right Dinghy Type

Now that you are aware of the weight carrying capacity of the dinghy, it is time to understand which one you should choose. These three dinghy types ( Rigid, Inflatable, RIB ) have very specific advantages.

That is why you have to look at the advantages they offer and choose accordingly.

Rigid Dinghy

The most basic dinghy type by comparison they come in a variety of shape, size and material. Based on oldest of design they carry less people and gear for their size but are generally bigger and larger.

But they often provide superior quality, towing ability and comfort lacking in performance and versatility. A few examples of these types would be “Portland Pudgy” and “OC Tender“.

Most of the rigid dinghies are certified by Coast Guard. That is why the level of safety which they have on offer is excellent. Thanks to sturdy frame and large size the weight carrying capacity of these type is also substantial.

The rigid one is a good choice when you want to go with the safest dinghy and large size, which offers a high weight carrying capacity.

Inflatable Dinghy

This is the type most used for sailing and recreational fishing. available in both small and medium size they are known for their stability and carrying capacity.

After all its tough rubber tube structure when filled with air is tough to beat in terms of buoyancy and stability. On the downside the same rubber tube offers a lot of drag moving forward.

After all many times, portability is even more important than high weight carrying capacity or even some drag / water resistance moving forward. If that is the case, rigid dinghy will not serve you well.

On the other hand, the inflatable one will undoubtedly serve you well. It is lightweight and easy to inflate on the shore. Moreover, when deflated, it will occupy little space so that you can store it with ease.

A major advantage of all inflatables is that you can jump off to seas anytime and in an instant; be it from a mother ship, shore or platform. And their is no issues of gel coat / paint getting off.

While the weight carrying capacity of the inflatable dinghy might not be as high as the rigid one, it has a reasonable weight carrying capacity. It, therefore, is easily suitable for 2 to 4 people depending on the model you are buying.

Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB)

While the inflatable dinghy is the go to choice for casual rides, RIB is the de-facto choice for serious cruisers and sailors alike. In fact they are used on large ships as rescue boats.

Apart from that these are also popular among coastal sailors and enthusiasts; thanks to its simple design, ease of use, high speed and comfort.

The rigid inflatable dinghy on its face provides you with the best of both worlds.

An inflatable design means that you can inflate it on the shore. However, it will not be as compact as the inflatable boat once you deflate it.

However, it is smaller when deflated than the rigid dinghy. That is why carrying it around is going to be easy.

Having a rigid hull made from lightweight material such as fiberglass or aluminum reduce drag and allows for higher horse power and thus greater speed.

It has a frame inside which doubles up as the floor. That is where the rigidity comes from. It also ensures that the level of safety on offer is much better than the inflatable one.

Of course, the internal frame means that the weight carrying capacity of the rigid inflatable dinghy is higher than the inflatable one. The frame also means that it is available in larger variants.

If you’re looking for a dinghy that can accommodate 5 to 6 people, you will easily find the same in this category.

Best 3 Dinghy Boats For Fishing

Want a dinghy, which is best for fishing? We will cover the three best options below, which can serve you well on your fishing expeditions.

BRIS Inflatable Boat Rafting Fishing Dinghy

1 ) BRIS Inflatable Boat Rafting Fishing Dinghy

The dinghy on top of our list is a RIB. However, the USP of this dinghy is that it consists of 1100D 0.9 MM material. The material is PVC along with polyester support.

Combining both these fabrics makes it easy to create a sturdy exterior for the dinghy. That is why you will not have to worry about wear and tear, breakage or tension affecting the exterior of the dinghy.

To strengthen the weak points, it is heat welded at the seams. For further safety, there is overlap over most of the seams. This redundancy is unparalleled, which is what makes this dinghy such a good choice.

That is why, whether you use it in saltwater or freshwater, it will withstand humid conditions.

We haven’t spoken about the solid aluminum floor it offers until now. Aluminum material makes it lightweight to move but also corrosion-proof. That is why, apart from fishing, you can use it for snorkeling, diving, etc.

You might already know that this dinghy is designed for excellent safety. That is why it consists of multiple air chambers rather than a single one.

Even though the exterior is pretty durable, numerous air chambers certainly provide higher safety.

Marine-grade plywood in the panel available for installing the motor ensures excellent durability. Not only that, triangular splash guards ensure that you remain dry inside the dinghy.

You get two aluminum bench seats, a repair kit, aluminum oars, a carry bag, and a foot pump in terms of accessories. All the accessories you need to use this dinghy are included.

The design of the boat is such that it can accommodate 4 adults quite easily. Even when you calculate the weight carrying capacity, you will conclude that it can carry 4 persons easily.

Apart from that, you can install a 15 HP motor as well. Considering its safety, it is certainly one of the best options for fishing and boat rafting.

BRIS Inflatable Boat Rafting Fishing Dinghy: Check Its Price on Amazon!

Intex Mariner Inflatable Boat Set Series

2 ) Intex Mariner Inflatable Boat Set Series

If you need an inflatable dinghy, this one meets your requirement fully. For starters, it can accommodate 4 people. The reason for the same is that it measures 129″ x 57″ when fully inflated.

While it is made from plastic but the strong molecular composition of plastic ensures that it is abrasion-resistant, impact-resistant, and UV rays resistant.

That is why, even when you use it consistently, the wear and tear is almost negligible.

There are four different valves for the hollow chamber. That is why inflation and deflation are quick. You won’t have to wait for 30 minutes to 40 minutes to inflate it.

Moreover, you get a pump for inflation, so you won’t have to buy it separately.

Overall weight carrying capacity is 1100 lbs. That is, however, the gross weight handling capacity. If you’re looking at the weight handling capacity for the individuals, that is around 880 lbs.

It comes with guidelines and a nylon grab line to make it easier for you to take this dinghy for fishing. That is why; it is easy even when the water around you is not stable.

Since it comes with oarlocks and oars, rowing around will certainly be easy. Apart from that, it has a gear pouch and battery pouch incorporated. That is why, if you want to carry certain accessories, doing so is easy.

In terms of sturdiness, it uses heavy-gauge PVC mesh for enforcement. There are two such layers of the PVC mesh which certainly increases the durability.

Heavy-duty plastic flooring ensures that you get a stable surface to move around in the boat. With handles on both sides, it is easy to be in control on your fishing trip.

Another accessory which you get along with it is the repair patch. If you experience a puncture despite the reinforced outer surface, you will be able to repair it in no time.

With all the necessary features on offer, you cannot go wrong with this dinghy.

Intex Mariner Inflatable Boat Set: Check Price on Amazon!

Yocalo Inflatable Dinghy Boat

3) Yocalo Inflatable Dinghy Boat

The advantage of this inflatable dinghy is that it is available in the 1/2/3/4 person variant. Accordingly, the size of the dinghy changes as well. Today, we will be looking at one which can carry 3 to 4 persons.

The length of that variant is 106.3 inches. The maximum weight carrying capacity when it comes to occupants is 573 lbs. That is why 3 adults and 1 child can be accommodated easily.

The 0.6MM PVC construction ensures that it uses Eco-friendly materials. Also, PVC material is highly durable as well. With 5 independent air chambers, it is quite safe to use.

You get 2 cushions, ropes, aluminum oars, repair patches, and pump in terms of accessories. Inflation will undoubtedly be easy with the help of the pump you get.

The boat is suitable not only for fishing but also for kayaking. Thus, if you’re looking for a versatile dinghy that you can use for fishing, you can go with this one.

Yocalo Inflatable Dinghy Boat: Check Its Price on Amazon!


Using the guide above, you can determine what size dinghy you should get and also the type.

Since we have covered the 3 best dinghies for fishing, you can now choose one right away without having to compare hundreds of options.

It is now time to enjoy your fishing experience rather than worry about the dinghy and the technical specifications associated with the same.

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