You will eventually come to a decision such as choosing between an electric air pump or a manual air pump when gathering your crabbing gear. A few things to consider: cost, time, storage, and transportation.
Mr Dungeness Crabber tip: Manual Air Pump
When beginning a crabbing hobby with an inflatable boat, one of the cheaper items you need to have is an air pump to inflate and deflate your inflatable boat. Without an air pump, you will have to blow into your inflatable boat which I strongly recommend against. Even for a 1 person inflatable boat, blowing into it is extremely exhausting and can cause a headache. For the price, a manual air pump would be the cheaper choice because manual air pumps require you to pull and push in order to inflate a boat. Many other manual air pumps require different techniques for inflating your boat. But all will agree, manual air pumps require substantially less effort then blowing into the inflatable boat.
An electric air pump will cost a little more but will exhaust much less energy than a manual air pump. There are essentially 2 options on the market right now for electric air pumps: a 12 volt air pump or a rechargeable air pump.
Mr Dungeness Crabber tip: 12 volt Air Pump
By choosing a 12 volt air pump, you restrict yourself to inflating your boat wherever there is a 12 volt charger. Most individuals will utilize the 12 volt outlet located in their car. By relying on the cars 12 volt charger, you must inflate the boat at your cars parking location. After inflating the boat, you will need to bring the boat onto the water. This might be a cumbersome task depending on how far the beach is from the parking lot.
The 12 volt air pump is small which means storage and transportation will not be a concern. The 12 volt air pump will also inflate faster than a manual air pump without over exhausting you. Usually a 12 volt air pump can fully inflate a 4 person inflatable in less than 10 minutes.
Mr Dungeness Crabber Tip: Rechargeable Air Pump
If your parking spot is far from the beach, your next option will be a rechargeable air pump. These air pumps are a little bit more expensive than a 12 volt air pump but is highly recommended if you wish to inflate your boat close to the beach. Like all other air pumps, the pump will be small so storage and transportation will not be a problem and you can inflate your boat fast so you can spend more time on the water than on the beach.
Mr Dungeness Crabber’s Recommendation
Which one of these air pump works best for you? I highly recommend picking up an electric air pump. They are not much more expensive and will save you tons of time pumping your inflatable boat which means more time spent on the water than on the beach. The choice of which electric air pump is up to you. I went with the 12 volt Coleman Air Pump because I had one laying around in my garage from years before. The trip from the parking lot to the beach was a bit far for me but luckily my dungeness crabbing set up requires a Battery box that house my marine battery to operate my trolling motor. The battery box has a built in 12 volt inverter which I use to blow up my boat on shore. I also bring the Coleman Air Pump onto the boat as a precaution. If my Intex Seahawk 4 inflatable boat starts to loose air after a few hours, I can use the air pump to inflate the boat while on the water. My boat has a Boston Valve which allows air to go through one way and not vice versa which allows me to inflate the boat on water. I do not recommend inflating your boat on water without a Boston Valve. I also recommend storing your 12 volt air pump away and inside a large ziplock bag to protect it from any unwanted liquids.