Friday, November 27, 2009

Introduction to Panga Boats

Definition of a Panga: boat of shallow draft, having a pointed bow and a square stern ... The Central American version of a skiff.

The pangas offer you endless flexibility, as opposed to a normal live aboard scuba boat. The Andrea Lynn piggybacks 10 of these 21 foot skiffs with 75 horse outboards to the dive locations. You can move at your own pace – you can fish, hike, snorkel or scuba dive whenever and wherever you want between sunrise and sunset. The term "Panga" was used historically for any small boat other than dugout canoes. Today it usually refers to an open "semi-dory" type skiff, with strongly rising sheer and of comparatively narrow beam.

Pangas form the backbone of the small-scale fishing effort in Mexico, Central America and much of the Caribbean. Panga-design boats have become popular fishing and workboats in many parts of the developing world. Pangas are usually between 19 and 28 feet in length, with capacities ranging from 1 to 5 tons and powered by outboard motors of between 45hp and 200hp. Their planning hulls are capable of speeds in excess of 35 knots. The hulls are made of Fiberglass or FRP, heavily reinforced by numerous bulkheads and usually have bow and stern enclosed flotation compartments. In the hands of an experienced operator they are considered extremely seaworthy. Most pangas are expected to have a working life of between 5 to 10 years if properly maintained.

In Mexico, the two words “panga” and “fishing” are synonymous. In all of history, there probably has never been a style of boat, of similar size, that has been as versatile and has caught as many fish as the Mexican panga. That statement may raise a few eyebrows, because the panga has only been around the last 50 years or so. However, when you consider that Mexico has some of the richest waters in the world for fishing, the worldwide demand for fish, the advent of the outboard engine, and the thousands of pangas fishing these waters, it is not a statement to be taken lightly.

What is a panga? A panga is a style and size of a boat that is usually 24 to 26 feet in length. It features a bow that rakes down sharply, creating a deep vee at the water line. With a squared off stern for an outboard motor, the floor is honeycombed with cross bracing, and is rarely over 7 feet in width. The rails are curved upward to help lift the bow up out of the water for a dry ride, even when running at higher speeds. Simple in design, inexpensive in it’s fiberglass construction, bulletproof in durability, the panga has become the boat of choice for fisherman on every Mexican coastline.

The panga is so popular and versatile that a new breed of fishermen was created: the pangeros. The pangeros use their boat for just about anything you could imagine. Included among the things a panga is used for on a regular basis is: setting nets, commercial fishing offshore for tuna, night fishing with a gas lantern for red snapper on an inshore reef, or taking tourists out for a day of fishing. The panga is also used as a taxi for people to get to an island or remote beach, snorkel or skin-dive for octopus and lobsters, or as a work boat to load and haul construction materials.

For a first time fisherman going to Mexico, it would probably be best to book through a reputable outfitter. He knows the boats, your needs, and the best captains. After you have been here a few times, feel free to contact the pangeros direct. You will be dialed in and will have comfort level for what you want. The only thing to remember is to book in advance during the “high season”. The really good captains are usually booked out, and are fishing every day.

The panga boats are here to stay and future generations of pangeros will learn from their Fathers. The cycle will repeat itself, because your sons will be fishing with them and enjoying the same experiences you had. And, the basic design of the panga will remain unchanged. The simplicity and versatility of the panga assures it of a place in history.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Inflatable Boat Console

According to the Guinness Book of Motor boating, the history of the inflatable goes back as far as 880 BC, when the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II ordered troops to cross a river using greased animal skins, which they inflated continuously to keep the vessels afloat. In ancient China, during the Sung and Ming dyna Inflatable boat as the name speaks is a boat made of a kind of quality polymer that is inflatable and deflectable whenever you need it. Inflatable boats are not any newly invented stuffs recent years but they have long been used in the military and emergency rescue team. Inflatable boats have only started to be introduced to the public uses a few years ago. This article will tell you how they perform and why are they recommended. If you are aware enough, you will realize that inflatable boats are getting popular and popular among fisherman and family man nowadays. sties, inflated, airtight skins were used for crossing rivers.

The benefits of these boats are quickly seen in increased performance and handling, coupled with versatility, stability and passenger comfort. The smaller rigid-hulled inflatable make excellent yacht tenders for larger yachts, while the larger inflatable make perfect water sports or fishing boats, particularly because of their flotation, stability and safety. Many rescue and military agencies have recognized the seaworthiness, safety and stability of RIBs and use them in many applications. Also, many of the RIBs offer removable collars making storage, maintenance and repairs much easier and convenient.

Load Carrying Capacity

A key feature about all inflatable boat is their incredible stability. Conventional dinghies and small sport boats rock almost uncontrollably whenever anyone moves about. Inflatable, with their buoyancy tubes, sit flat in the water and are almost impossible to flip over. This offers a feeling of security to even the most nervous boaters and allows swimmers or divers to slide back on board without upsetting the boat.

More buoyancy means bigger load-carrying capacity. Inflatable boats are designed with built-in buoyancy. The inflatable collar, or tube set, is the key that allows inflatable boats to carry very heavy payloads in a safe and stable manner. An added benefit is that they are virtually unsinkable, and can generally operate even with one or more chambers of the collar deflated.

High performance

Most of today's modern inflatable easily match conventional runabouts for speed and handling, while some of the more sophisticated rigid-hulled inflatable are clearly superior to ordinary fiberglass or aluminum boats.

Non-marking features

Inflatable boats are the ideal yacht tender because of all their basic advantages including: lightness, stability and buoyancy. Unlike regular dinghies, they're easy to lift on board. With special rub strake glued or thermo bonded to their sides, inflatable won't damage or mark your yacht's hull or deck. Purchasing an inflatable tender almost guarantees the elimination of scuff marks and scratches on your yacht forever.

Stow ability

Inflatable tenders are much easier to store than conventional dinghies. When deflated and folded into its carry bag a typical 8 foot inflatable measures about 3 feet x 2 feet and weighs about 80 lbs. At this size, you can see that an inflatable tender is easily stowed in a locker on board, below decks or in a closet or shed at home. They're also very convenient to take on picnics or on vacation, even in a small car.

Collar (buoyancy tube) design

A unique feature incorporated into many inflatable is the removable collar. The collar is securely attached to the fiberglass hull using a tongue-and-grove method and can be easily slid off whenever necessary. This system allows for convenient storage, maintenance and repairs.

Lightweight air-floors

Some of the more advanced inflatables, like Zodiac's Fastroller, feature a special High-Pressure inflatable air floor. Made of two layers of fabric, connected by thousands of tiny "drop stitches", this floor can be inflated to a high pressure, creating a floor with rigidity equal to sheet of plywood a fraction of the weight. Best of all, they can be completely deflated and stowed in only minutes without removing any parts. This high pressure air floor is softer on knees and backsides too.


Given the size, weight and power of outboard engines today, the transoms of inflatable boats must be strong enough to withstand enormous vibration and stress. Many inflatable use multi-layer wood transoms that are glued or "thermo bonded" to the collars. The result is a high degree of structural strength that reliably absorbs stresses exerted by outboards.

A major component of an inflatable is obviously the fabric. Fabric technology has evolved greatly over the last 20 to 30 years, and now includes plastomers, polyurethanes and other fabrics, which can sometimes be stronger, lighter, thinner and less expensive to assemble than the original rubber fabrics. Of course it costs a great deal of money to develop new fabrics or even to switch manufacturing processes to use them. Many manufacturers, big and small, don't have the will or the resources to do this, and that's why they generally hide that fact by resorting to condemning new technological advances in fabrics.

Most fabrics consist of a strong, close-weave mesh of polyester or nylon material which is sandwiched between 2 coatings to provide extreme flexibility, superior air and water tightness, as well as resistance to abrasion and the sun's UV rays. Zodiac uses a polyurethane fabric called "Strong an" and assembles their inflatable boats by thermo bonding the fabric.

Heavy Duty Fabrics

Some inflatable boats are still made from a rubber-based fabric called Hypalon. While this is still a very good material, its major downfall is that it can only be joined by gluing, done manually. Problems including poor bonds, delimitation of seams or fabric can still affect these glued fabrics. Today, many inflatables are manufactured from polyurethane fabrics, although larger inflatables use hypalon because thicker hypalon fabrics are still considered to be stronger and more durable than polyurethane.