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How to transport and secure a dinghy during navigation is left to the initiative of the ship owner – apart from common sense rules – being this closely related to single requirements and, above all, boat’s dimensions. Safety reasons and the need for open space would recommend not to have a dinghy on the deck, or towed behind the boat or hung on a davit. However, hard dinghies require a dedicated place as well as ready-to-use inflatable dinghies, which are not manually or electrically inflated and deflated whenever needed.

Generally speaking, most of inflatable dinghies on board are inflated and ready to be launched. How to carry your dinghy depends on the type you have chosen as well as the size of your boat’s hull. If towed behind the boat, you will accept pros and cons of this option: it does not occupy deck space and it is already aflot. Yet, towing requires particular precautions in order not to wear the dinghy’s equipment or to ease manoeuvring in reduced-space areas e.g. when docking.

If you choose to hoist your dinghy on board, you will have to choose among a variety of options. Bigger boats, let’s say from 45 feet or more, usually install the best and highly recommendable option i.e. a sturdy and practical stern davit like this Swivelling davit ( Careful attention will be paid during installation especially when drilling fiberglass surfaces and positioning proper counter-plates to prevent any collapsing. Once installed it ensures to launch or hoist your dinghy effortless and safely thanks to the 3-arm dinghy lift system with lift plates and buckles ( Any other option simply requires to secure the dinghy to the deck plan or to the transom in case the swim platform is wide enough.

Securing your dinghy on board is paramount as there is nothing worse than seeing it lifted at bow due to strap loosening or improper fastening. Based on your requirements and free areas on board, the dinghy is usually secured at bow, between the forestay and the mast (no doubt the most widespread option) or at the deckhouse. It is recommended to add a few counter-plated eyebolts to the fiberglass for proper fastening of the dinghy through straps or lines. These, however, would add hardware to the deck. To avoid that, (bored) toerails can be used as strap fastening point. In this case the wind contact surface should be as small as possible in order to reduce lines stress on and consequently toerail stress.

During long cruises it would be useful to slightly deflate the dinghy to flatten it as much as possible, also to ease genoa manoeuvring when tacking. A dinghy must be fastened down in (at least) four points, two on each side. In addition, also the bow should be properly secured against strong wind. In order to reduce eyebolts stress, fasten the dinghy across the whole keel (of course it is secured upside-down). It is advisable to protect it against bad weather and UV-rays with one of the many covers available on the market.

Once correctly positioned, choose how to secure it. You can use lines, of course, but the best options are straps. A wide variety of covers is available, make sure lines are UV-resistant and hooks are made of stainless steel to ensure durability over time. See Belt + ratchet 25 mm x 400 cm ( They have the advantage of quick adjustment and rubber contact surface so that no rope will damage your dinghy over time. Last but not least, their high breaking loads ensure total sturdiness of the system.

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