- Activities: Tender for larger boats, Explore near the shore
- Length Range: 5 - 12 ft.
- Average price: $3,900
- Up to 5 passengers
Unlike many other classes of boats, dinghies don’t come in all different sizes—their defining factor is that they’re small. In fact, many dinghies are appropriate for only a couple of people. Dinghies are, however, quite prolific. Some people own them simply because they’re so easy to store and transport, but more commonly dinghies are carried aboard by larger boats, and are used to shuttle people and supplies back and forth to land in situations where the larger boat can’t dock. In case of emergency, they may also serve as a lifeboat. And in areas where larger boats are kept on moorings, fleets of dinghies line the docks and shorelines waiting for their owners to use them to get out to their bigger boats.
Many sailboats tow dinghies astern, while plenty of large powerboats carry theirs on a hydraulically-lowering swim platform. Some larger yachts can swing a dingy aboard with a crane, and still others have a “garage” in the stern which opens up and swallows the dinghy whole. In any of these cases, a dinghy may be motorized (usually with a small outboard engine) or rowed with oars. There are also sailing dinghies which have tiny masts and booms and sometimes daggerboards (small removable keels that side through the bottom of the boat) or leeboards (similar to keels but they hang from the side of the boat).
While it’s less common, some people do own a dinghy as their primary boat. People who fish in small ponds or simply enjoy gunkholing their local waters may be able to get by with one of these micro-boats. And many dinghies are inflatables, which can be deflated, rolled up, and stored in the closet of an apartment. Whichever use you may have for a dinghy, one thing is for sure: since they’re incredibly inexpensive, simple, and more or less maintenance-free, owning a dinghy is a joy.