safety of inflatable canoes

HELP!!! For many summers, our Summer Camp program had access to canoes, which we used with our campers, and both the parents and the kids loved it! But, all the canoes were stolen before last summer, the parents and kids were very disappointed that we could not go canoeing on the pond, and I’m trying to figure out a way to replace them. Whenever I mention the possibility of inflatable canoes, which we could store much more securely, responses have been that they are unsafe (ie. will tip easily, kids fall in water, etc.) Can anyone give me some feedback, based in experience, about their safety?

unstable? Ha!
They are inherently more stable and buoyant than a hardshell. They have plenty of minuses, stablity isn’t one of them.

A bigger issue is their durability. They require more maintenance than a hardshell and may not hold up to a lot of rough use. Might not get more than a couple of seasons out of them unless they’re well taken care of.

Well made ones are safe.
A well made inflatable canoe is as durable as a whitewater raft. They require a different skill set to maintain them, but an easily learned one.

They will not be as durable as aluminum canoes by a long shot.

They are stable. The well made ones. Look at Aire Traveller. There are other models. The good ones aren’t cheap.

  • Big D

I wouldn’t be concerned about safety,
because it’s easy to select those that are stable. And, falling in and recovering is a good skill set to learn in a camp pond.

I would be concerned that you select a good balance between price and durability. Cheaper inflatables may not stand up well. Also, be sure to discuss storage conditions before hand. A reasonably cool, dry room is best for long storage.

Good Brand
A friend has the Innova Vagabond inflatable canoe and loves it. Innova products are fairly pricey but great quality and stable. I’ve purchased from and was happy with the customer service. They also have a wholesale program for camps etc.