Inflatables in alligator territory?

I have many years of experience with canoes, but I just recently bought an AE Convertible inflatable kayak, because that is the only way that I can carry a boat with my truck camper. I am planing a trip to South Carolina, Georgia and finally Florida. I would like to do some of the established water trails in these areas and I was wonder if I should have any concerns about taking an inflatable into alligator waters. Thanks for any experienced comments.

A recommendation
Might try this model, in late Spring:

Gators and inflatables
I used to use an inflatable on Florida waters with no problem. The gators will not bother you; in the worst case, they will nudge you but not actually bite the boat. Well, IMHO. My concerns with the inflatable were mostly related to hot weather or direct sunlight over a long period causing the air to expand in the boat to a dangerous level, or running aground in an oyster bed or encountering some unusually sharp underwater obstacles.

Don’t worry about gators.


Hmmm! Soft on the outside and chewy in
the middle!

Great cartoon.

Moore hens look like Gallinules.
Same fowl?

Moorhens and gallinules are in the same rail family… Wish I could see a gallinule sometime.

Purple gallinules…
I probably just misspelled that. Oh, well.

If you come down to central Florida, you can be sure to find them in Leesburg’s Venitian Gardens.

It’s just a city park on the Lake Harris waterfront, no zoo, no charge.

Lots of well-fed water fowl including those amazing little purple guys. Chances are good that they will walk up to you for a hand out.

Also currently home (in a swamp a couple miles away) to a breeding pair of whooping cranes. The young one may be starting to fledge by now.


wsdepa, doesnt sound like the gators
should be an issue, but i’d keep away from the sting-rays. I heard a news clip stating they can spike thru any kayak w/exception of kevlar…heheh

I’m very careful around springtime
Depending on where you go I’d be carry in any paddle craft with lots of gators in the spring in Florida. I’ve been places where gators have challenged my canoe. Years ago in Lake Jessup a gator attacked a canoe in the spring. My experiences are if you see one or two gators then they’ll likely leave you alone. When you can see 10 or more from your boat they seem to be more aggressive. I’ve never had a gator do more than just bump the boat though.

Also be careful of narrow twisty creeks. When you go around a corner you’ll scare the gator and he’ll rush right over or under your boat to get to deep water. Trust me you want him to rush under so stay in the middle of the creek.

My worst experiences have been with small gators under 4 feet. Some of the one near boat ramps relate people to food and fisherman to food. Those little one will try to clime right into your boat if you are near where fishermen clean fish at the ramp.

My wife and I have a Sea Eagle 370 pro and love paddling around Florida Springs and shorelines. However, last weekend we did a trip down the Wekiva river during Alligator mating season, end of May, and were doing good until we snagged an underwater branch and tore a 9" gash in the bottom of the kayak. Be careful out there. We did not have enough patch to repair completely and had to maneuver our crippled Inflatable down river through very active gators and way too many branches and logs to a remote camp site and be rescued. We managed to make it 4.5 miles out of our 8.5 mile trip! Startling a big gator can be quite wild and scary in an inflatable. Lets just say I carry more patch now, and will stay out of gator infested waters in my inflatable from now on!
Keep on paddling!