Crewsaver has launched a new inflatable dinghy range. Theo Stocker tests the Crewsaver Air Deck 230 and looks at how it compares with other inflatable dinghies on the market

The Crewsaver Air Deck 230 is the first boat in Crewsaver’s new inflatable dinghy range.

Crewsaver, long known for lifejackets and liferafts, has made the logical step into inflatable dinghies, the ubiquitous cruising tender of choice.

With slatted floor and air-deck options, sizes range from 2.0m to 2.6m, and from 17-32kg.

We tested the Air Deck 230, (17kg boat only, 23kg with accessories). Almost 10kg lighter than my last dinghy, I could move it around on deck singlehanded.

At just 17kg, our tester could manoeuvre the Crewsaver Air Deck 230 around with ease. Credit: David Harding

At just 17kg, our tester could manoeuvre the Crewsaver Air Deck 230 around with ease. Credit: David Harding

The design is fairly standard. Sponson tubes are 36cm in diameter and have two chambers with solid end caps for standing the dinghy end on, while the flat inflatable floor is made of a drop-stitch panel.

A moulded GRP seat slides onto beads with a range of adjustment.

Lifelines with solid fixing points double as lifting handles, with davit and towing beckets (including a lifting handle) on the bow.

A rubber rubbing strake includes a lipped spray rail.

The oars are mounted with thole pins and screw caps; usefully, the rowlock mounts include horns to cleat a line around– useful for holding a boat alongside.

Verdict on the Crewsaver Air Deck 230

The boat isn’t the lightest of the lightweight tenders available, but it is far from the heaviest and feels a good deal more robust thanks to some of the solid fittings and tough PVC fabric.

Its packing size is fairly small, but careful folding helps.

We liked the bag with a top rather than side opening, and back straps made carrying it much easier, though it lacked compression straps.

The high volume foot pump worked well, but a modern SUP pump would be more efficient and achieve higher pressures more easily.

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On the water, the 36cm sponsons gave reasonable freeboard, and she was easy to row and handle. The transom will take outboards up to 4hp.

Our 2.3hp didn’t quite get her up on the plane.

The Crewsaver Air Deck 230 is an impressive debut for the company’s first inflatable dinghy.

It does everything you would want it to in a neat, small package, and at a reasonable price (£470).

Specifications of the Crewsaver Air Deck 230

External: 230cm x 130cm

Packed: 95cm x 55cm x 35cm
Weight: (inc accessories) 23kg
Weight: (boat only) 17kg
Bag: Rucksack
Price: £470

Buy the Crewsaver Air Deck 230 from Escape Watersports

Also on the market

Seago Go Lite 230

Seago Go Lite 230

This air-deck dinghy is about the lightest around, saving weight with fabric rubbing strake and soft attachments for the lifelines.

Packs down to 90cm x 50cm x 24cm and is 18kg all up.

Price: £470

Buy the Seago Go Lite 230 from Jimmy Green Marine

3D Tender 230 Air Deck

3D Tender 230 Air Deck

A high-quality dinghy with a V-shaped hull.

A solid rubber rubbing strake and reinforced keel band make it tough and durable.

Reduces to 90cm x 45cm x 40cm and weighs 23kg.

Price: £669

Buy the 3D Tender 230 Air Deck from Marine Superstore

Quicksilver Tendy Air-Floor 240

Quicksilver Tendy Air-Floor 240

A heavier, pricier boat, it has a floor slat and inflatable V-keel under the air floor, plus a fuel tank and the seat slides almost the full length.

Packs to 110cm x 50cm x 31cm, and weighs 28.5kg total.

Price: £608

Buy the Quicksilver Tendy Air-Floor 240 from eBay (UK)

Buy the Quicksilver Tendy Air-Floor 240 from eBay (US)

Can’t find what you are looking for? Head to Amazon UK for more sailing products

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