How Much Does a Dinghy Cost (With 14 Examples)

Once we bought our first real "overnight" boat, we had a wake-up call when we realized that we weren't done with the spending. If we wanted to go anywhere but a marina, we had to pony up for a dinghy. After spending more than we planned on a lovely sailboat, looking at tenders gave me a minor sticker shock.

So how much does a dinghy cost? You can find a serviceable dinghy for one person to row for as little as a few hundred dollars, but if you want something sized for a few adults or a small family to travel comfortably, expect to spend from $2,000 - $7,000 for a new boat and outboard, though you can spend much more.

That's a pretty big spread and can be a lot of money. Picking the right dinghy for your needs takes some thought and research, but we're got the basics covered for you.

In this article:

  1. The Cost of Dinghies: 14 Examples
  2. Types of Dinghies
  3. Hard Bottom Dinghy Prices
  4. Inflatable Dinghy Prices
  5. What About the Outboard?
  6. Used Dinghies & Engines

The Cost of Dinghies: 14 Examples

Here's a list of fourteen dinghy prices as stated by the manufacturers:

  1. BIC Sportyak 213 - $499.00
  2. Walker Bay 10 - $1,509
  3. Trinka 10 - $3,850
  4. Portland Pudgy - $2,995
  5. Porta-bote 10 - $2,595
  6. Whitehall Spirit Minto 9' Dinghy - $6,959
  7. OC Tender OC300 - $5,700
  8. Goplus 4-Person 10FT Inflatable Dinghy - $429.99
  9. Zodiac Wave 310 Aero - $1,595
  10. Achilles LSI-330E - $3,675
  11. Achilles LSR-310E - $3,145
  12. AB 10 AL Lammina - $6,386
  13. Highfield Classic 310 - $3,260
  14. West Marine – RIB-310 - $3,099

An additional outboard engine will typically cost between $1,000 - $3,700.

Below I'll go over the details of each dinghy, and what accounts for the large differences in price.

Types of Dinghies

When we're talking about a "dinghy," we're talking about a tender. This is a support boat to get you and your gear from land to the water and back again. These are working boats that you will use to take your spouse into town for dinner, bring the kids to the beach, carry your groceries back to the boat, and take the dog into shore for a frisk. They can be fun, but at their core, this is a tool more like the family car than a two-seater convertible.

We recommend you start with this overview of various types of dinghies. It's a guide to the basic pros and cons of each type of dinghy and talks about some elements of materials, construction, and styles.

Very few boats come with a single price and configuration. Most have optional extras and major upgrades. This guide will deal with the major options only, things like sailing kits and PVC vs. Hypalon construction with inflatables. Every vendor will accessorize beyond that, but the base boat configurations will help you get a sense of the market.

All prices will be U.S. Dollars at the manufacturer's retail price unless otherwise indicated, and do not include shipment, delivery or sale pricing. Depending on where in the world you live, you may find a better deal on a boat if it's locally built, and you may get better prices with seasonal sales or boat show promotions.

Hard Bottom Dinghy Prices

Basic construction materials are plastic, fiberglass, aluminum, and wood. Wood is harder to come by in new boats. Hard dinghies cover a broad spectrum of boats, from simple, molded-plastic one or two-person rowboats, to multi-functional sailing/rowing/motoring dinghies, which may serve as life rafts. Most have numerous options and upgrades at purchase.

Build quality, styling, materials, and function all affect price. Many hard dinghies go a step beyond a simple workboat and are beautifully crafted vessels intended to complement the looks of the larger boat. For some, the beauty and style of a hard dinghy are as important as what it can do. While inflatables have little to offer for a positive aesthetic, some hard dinghies are gorgeous little boats in their own right. Those usually do not come cheap.

Because of the range of capabilities of hard dinghies in similar sizes, we've presented a representative sampling of a few of the top styles and types of hard dinghies, with an emphasis on carrying four passengers, where possible. Most of these boats have multiple sizes and models which may be more suitable, and the price will vary up or down with the size.

Prices are for the base boat and major options, which may change the class or capabilities of the boat. Every vendor has many smaller options and upgrades available.

BIC Sportyak 213 - $499.00

molded plastic

There are many small plastic rowboats at this price point, though availability through major marine channels may be limited since they're often sold in sporting goods stores or mass retailers. Some take small motors, and all are suited to get you out to your mooring and back to shore.

  • Overall Size: 7' x 3'9" beam
  • Material: Plastic
  • Max Load: 300 lbs (2 adults) + 74 lbs of gear.
  • Net Weight: 71lbs
  • Max Horsepower: 2 HP with optional engine mount

Check it out at WestMarine.com.

Walker Bay 10 - $1,509

injected molded hull

The Walker Bay 10 is the larger of two plastic rowing/sailing/engine capable dinghies in this line. They're popular, and a good rowing boat, and have a few nice features like a wheel on the bottom to aid beaching. The RID (Rigid Inflatable Dinghy) tubes are a popular upgrade to increase stability and capacity for regular use as a tender.

  • Overall Size: 9'8" x 4'9" beam.
  • Material: PVC, aluminum or fiberglass
  • Max Load: 449 lbs (3 adults), 562 lbs (4 adults) with RID kit.
  • Net Weight: 126 lbs, 149 lbs with RID kit.
  • Max Horsepower: 3 HP, 6 HP with RID kit.

Different models:

  • Performance Sailing Kit ($1,195)
  • PVC RID tubes ($839.95)
  • Hypalon RID tubes ($1,099.95)

Check them out at WalkerBay

Trinka 10 - $3,850

fiberglass hull with wood trim, rowing ($3,850) or sailing ($5,350) options

The Trinka is a well crafted, pretty dinghy which sails and rows well and is available in an 8' or 10' model.

  • Overall Size: 10' x 4'6" beam.
  • Material: Fiberglass with teak trim
  • Max Load: 640 lbs (4 adults)
  • Net Weight: 135 lbs
  • Max Horsepower: 2 HP
  • Source: U.S.A. (Florida)

Check it out at Trinka.com

Portland Pudgy - $2,995

roto-molded boat for rowing and motoring ($2,995), with optional sailing kit and life raft upgrades

The Portland Pudgy is a rugged, versatile boat which rows well, tows nicely, motors, and sails acceptably. It's unique in that it serves as a four-person USCG certified life raft with an optional upgrade. The Pudgy is a well thought out, practical boat. We carried one halfway around the world as a second dinghy for our kids, and they loved it.

  • Overall Size: 7'6" x 4'5"
  • Material: Rotomolded UV-resistant polyethylene
  • Max Load: 476 lbs (4 person with motor), 501 lbs (no motor)
  • Net Weight: 128 lbs (basic dinghy), 168 lbs (lifeboat option)
  • Max Horsepower: 2 HP
  • Source: U.S.A. (Maine)

Different options:

  • Sail Kit: $1,530
  • Exposure Canopy (Lifeboat): $2,275

Check it at Portland Pudgy

Porta-bote 10 - $2,595

folding collapsible polypropylene rowboat

The Port-a-bote has a following because it collapses to a flat, long shape when not in use, and is easy to store and get out of the way. They are reported to be stable and quick to unfold or stow and motor well.

  • Overall Size: 10'8" x 5' beam
  • Material: Polypropylene copolymer
  • Max Load: 585 lbs (3 person with motor)
  • Net Weight: 78 lbs (not including seats)
  • Max Horsepower: engine eight to 56 lbs (approximately 4 HP 4-stroke)
  • Source: U.S.A. (California)

Check it at Porta-Bote.com

Whitehall Spirit Minto 9' Dinghy - $6,959

fiberglass hull, teak woodwork and bronze trim

This is a fine example of a beautiful, classically styled dinghy. Built with a lapstrake pattern in the hull, it captures the classic look of a hand-built wooden boat with the weight and strength advantages of modern materials.

  • Overall Size: 10'8" x 5' beam
  • Material: Polypropylene copolymer
  • Max Load: 585 lbs (3 person with motor)
  • Net Weight: 78 lbs (not including seats)
  • Max Horsepower: engine eight to 56 lbs (approximately 4 HP 4-stroke)
  • Source: U.S.A. (Maine)

OC Tender OC300 - $5,700

carbon fiber high performance motor tender ($8,500 NZD, ~$5,700 USD not including shipping)

The OC Tender has been taking the global cruising community by storm. It's a lightweight, stable and fast dinghy build to exacting stands which planes with low horsepower engines and has excellent carrying capacity. Though built in New Zealand, they ship to the U.S. regularly and other places in the world.

  • Overall Size: 9'11" x 5' beam
  • Material: Carbon fiber
  • Max Load: 781 lbs (4 person)
  • Net Weight: 92 lbs
  • Max Horsepower: 8 HP
  • Source: New Zealand

Check it at OCTenders.co.nz

Inflatable Dinghy Prices

"Inflatable" covers a broad range of boats, and the low end includes a number of "boats" that are little more than pool toys with delusions of safety. Anything which doesn't have multiple layers of rugged cloth, fixed oarlocks, multiple air tubes, and a little weight to it should stay in the back yard.

There are a few safer low-cost inflatables, but you can't expect the same level of quality and durability you'd get from a more expensive, better-built boat. That doesn't mean they aren't options for the budget or space conscious, but know what you're getting for your money. A more expensive inflatable like an AB, Highfield or Zodiac can last a decade or more with care. A boat coming in at 1/10th the cost may only be good for a couple of seasons and will take less abuse.

Most boat vendors have several product lines, and many of the boats are available in multiple configurations, like a choice of air floor, hard floor, roll-up floor, and so on. We're only picking one or two boats from each class to give a sample, but please explore the vendor web sites for more options.

In general, soft bottom boats aren't designed for high-speed planing but are lighter and more easily stowed. Rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) can take higher horsepower engines and are designed to plane, but they are heavier and do not break down for storage.

For consistency, this guide will be price out boats in the ten-foot (3.1 meter) range, a typical size for a family of four. Smaller and larger models are available from most makers and will be priced accordingly.

Soft Bottom Dinghies

Goplus 4-Person 10FT Inflatable Dinghy - $429.99

PVC, very low-cost dinghy

This is included as an example of a very low-cost dinghy that is a step up from the "pool toy" products. The construction on a boat like this is light - PVC seams will be glued, not welded, and hardware may be lightly attached. They may not stand up to abuse or long use. Check as many reviews as you can before buying this or similar boats. They can be budget entry point to get you on the water now.

  • Overall Size: 10' x 4.1' beam
  • Material: PVC, wood and aluminum
  • Max Load: 900 lbs (4 adults)
  • Net Weight: 71lbs
  • Air Chambers: 3
  • Max Horsepower: 10 HP

Zodiac Wave 310 Aero - $1,595

PVC Dinghy available with air floor ($1,595), aluminum floor ($1,595), or compact RIB ($2,295)

Zodiac is a reputable French inflatable maker, and this entry-level PVC boat comes in several configurations, including a hard bottom. Note the weight differences in the options.

  • Overall Size: 10'2" x 4'11" beam.
  • Material: PVC, aluminum or fiberglass
  • Tube Size: 16"
  • Max Load: 882 lbs (4 adults)
  • Net Weight: 60 lbs (air floor), 90 lbs (aluminum floor), 79 lbs (compact RIB)
  • Air Chambers: 3
  • Max Horsepower: 10 HP
  • Origin: France

Check it at Zodiac-Nautic.com

Achilles LSI-330E - $3,675

Air Floor - Hypalon

With 18" tubes and a wider beam, this air floor boat has more holding capacity than narrower boats with smaller tubes like the Zodiac Aero.

  • Overall Size: 10'8" x 5'6" beam
  • Material: Hypalon (transom)
  • Tube Size: 18"
  • Max Load: 1,340 lbs (5 adults)
  • Net Weight: 79 lbs
  • Air Chambers: 3 + floor and keel
  • Max Horsepower: 10 HP
  • Origin: Japan

Check it at AchillesBoats.com

Achilles LSR-310E - $3,145

Rollup Aluminum Floor - Hypalon

Another Hypalon boat and a good example of a rolling floor dinghy. Achilles makes a wide range of RIBs and soft bottom boats.

  • Overall Size: 10'2" x 5'2" beam.
  • Material: Hypalon
  • Tube Size: 17"
  • Max Load: 1,190 lbs (4 adults)
  • Net Weight: 101 lbs
  • Air Chambers: 3 + keel
  • Max Horsepower: 10 HP
  • Origin: Japan

Check it at AchillesBoats.com

Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB)

AB 10 AL Lammina - $6,386

Hypalon aluminum hull

Italian dinghy maker AB offers a range of top-quality RIBs, but does not sell soft bottoms or PVC tubes. This is one of their lighter boats. The similar double-hulled fiberglass RIB is forty pounds heavier. This was our family dinghy cruising the world for years; it took a lot of abuse and performed well with a 15HP engine.

  • Overall Size: 10'6" x 5'6" beam.
  • Material: Hypalon
  • Tube Size: 17"
  • Max Load: 1,519 lbs (5 adults)
  • Net Weight: 128 lbs (bow locker model, 117 lbs without locker)
  • Air Chambers: 3 + keel
  • Max Horsepower: 20 HP
  • Origin: Italy

Check it at AB Inflatables.com

Highfield Classic 310 - $3,260

Aluminum, PVC ($3,260) or Hypalon ($4,921)

A well-built boat from Australia, the Highfield is comparable in price and quality to the AB line and are a premium boat. Note the price difference between the PVC and Hypalon model. We replaced our AB with this boat, and have been very happy with its solid construction.

  • Overall Size: 10'2" x 5'8" beam.
  • Material: Hypalon
  • Tube Size: 17"
  • Max Load: 1,213 lbs (5 adults)
  • Net Weight: 136 lbs
  • Air Chambers: 3 + keel
  • Max Horsepower: 20 HP
  • Origin: Australia/China

Check it at HighfieldBoats.com

West Marine – RIB-310 - $3,099

Double Floor Rigid Inflatable Boat Hypalon

West Marine has a wide offering of inflatable boats on offer, sometimes at better prices than major brand boats. They do not manufacture their own inflatables but have worked with companies like Avon and Zodiac (the parent company of Avon) to build house-brand boats for them. It is sometimes difficult to find out who the builder is.

  • Overall Size: 10'2" x 5'2" beam.
  • Material: Hypalon
  • Tube Size: 16"
  • Max Load: 1,102 lbs (4 adults)
  • Net Weight: 130 lbs
  • Air Chambers: 3 + keel
  • Max Horsepower: 20 HP

What About the Outboard?

If you will not row or sail exclusively, you will need an engine. In North America and much of the world, the market is limited to four-stroke engines. Your options will run from two horsepower, up to as high as twenty-five or even forty horsepower for larger ribs with steering consoles. For the boats in this guide though, you'll rarely use more than a fifteen, though some boats will take a twenty.

Options for outboard include:
  • Shaft length, either 15" (short) or 20" (long). Short is standard, but a few boats like the Portland Pudgy prefer the long shaft.
  • Manual or electric start. Electric starts are heavier and require a battery and wiring.
  • Horsepower, from 2 -15 HP for most applications.

Be careful to pick the right engine for your needs; bigger is not always better. Too big can be dangerous, waste fuel, and is more expensive than you need to spend and heavier than you need to wrestle around.

Rough price ranges for some short shaft four stroke engines are:

  • 2-3 HP - $1,000 - $1,200
  • 5 HP - $1,700 - $2,200
  • 9.8 HP - $2,500 - $3,700
  • 15 HP - $3,100 - $4,500
  • 20 HP - $3,500 - $4,800

Used Dinghies & Engines

These prices are all for brand new boats and engines. And you will spend a little more on extra accessories, so the numbers can look quite daunting.

If you are looking to save a little money, know there are always used dinghies and engines available for sale. Be careful to ensure that hard dinghy hulls are solid and safe, inflatable tubes stay inflated overnight, and outboards start easily and stay running.

But if the price of a brand new dinghy is too much on top of your new-to-you boat, try Craigslist, the classifieds, and the bulletin boards at the yachts clubs and marinas in your town. You just might find a deal.

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