I was looking for an upgrade to my current 2 man boat for my dungeness crabbing hobby. There were tons of inflatable boats to choose from when looking for one. There were a few qualifications that a boat needs to meet before I made my purchase. Is it big enough? Is it durable? Can I store it? Can I transport it? Can I mount a trolling motor to it? Is it expensive? All of these questions were raised when I was looking at the different boats that were available. After looking online and in store, I narrowed it down to a few boats such as the Intex Mariner, Intex Excursion, Sevylor fish hunter, and of course, the Intex Seahawk 4.
Is it big enough? I really enjoyed dungeness crabbing but my 2 man boat was not big and durable enough so I often find small pin holes that I had to repair and water is always present inside of the boat. I did manage to have a friend and me sitting inside the boat but it was uncomfortable and it did not leave much room for any crabbing pots or any other gear. So I started looking for a 4 man boat and noticed the Seahawk 4. I went onto Youtube and watched as many videos on the Seahawk 4 as I can find. From what I had gathered, a 4 man boat would be perfect if I wanted to take up to 4 people with me.
Is it durable? Being a new crabber, I did not know much about inflatable boats and their durability levels. I was leaning towards the Intex Mariner 4 because of its thicker vinyl and rock guard pads but the price was very steep and out of my budget. I compared the vinyl from the seahawk 4, Excursion and the Fish Hunter and found that they all use 30 gauge vinyl which is very strong and durable.
Can I store it? Since I do not have much room to store a boat, a fiberglass boat was out of the question. the only option was to upgrade to a bigger and more durable inflatable boat for crabbing. With any inflatable boat, I could deflate it and store the boat neatly in my garage and will not have to worry about the boat taking up room.
Is the boat easy to transport? With an inflatable boat, I do not need to buy wheels and haul it with my small sedan. The inflatable boat should be able to be deflated enough to fit into the car trunk with most of the crabbing gear. It takes only one person to move the deflated boat onto the beach as opposed to requiring two to three people having to put a fiberglass boat on wheels and then hauling it by hand onto the beach.
Can I mount a trolling motor to it?
Most fiber glass boats will be able to mount a trolling motor onto the back but since I could not store or transport one, I needed an inflatable boat that can mount a motor. The seahawk 4 cannot mount a trolling motor on its own but requires a motor mounting kit which attaches onto 4 holes located at the back. With the mounting kit, I can mount a trolling motor with ease.
The price range of a durable 4 man inflatable boat ranged from $100 to $400. Since I wanted a new boat and still have a budget left over for a trolling motor and mounting kit, I went for the Seahawk 4. Considering everything from durability, storage, size and price, the Intex Seahawk 4 was the best bang for my buck.
Best Boat for Dungeness Crabbing.
For its durability, storage, transportation and price, the Intex Seahawk 4 is the clear winner. The only drawback is the 30 gauge vinyl. I would love to have the rock guard of the Mariner 4 but I was not willing to pay the price of one. The vinyl was punctured a few times but I got a vinyl repair kit and some 30 gauge vinyl from a local fabric store and fixed all the holes. With plenty of budget left over, I got a Min Kota 30 pound thrust trolling motor and a motor mounting kit which is everything I needed for a new crabbing setup.