New Dinghy and Outboard!!!

We bought a new RIB with 15 hp outboard to replace our existing tender. Due to my torn tendons in my arms, I needed an electric start engine. We could not add electric start to our current motor because it’s max hp capacity is 6 hp, and the lowest hp in electric start is 8 hp. This resulted in realizing we not only need another outboard engine but also another dinghy. 


Brian and scupper in our old dinghy a 2012 Achillies hypalon inflatable floor dinghy with 2012 Tohatsu 3.5 four-stroke. We liked the dinghy, it was adequate for our needs until I injured my arms and needed electric start.

We decided on West Marine’s Zodiac hypalon 310. (–rib-310-single-floor-rigid-inflatable-boat-gray-hypalon–14982094 ) It’s white, which won’t get so hot in the tropics ( even light grey can become too hot to touch). We also went for the RIB, which is a fiberglass bottom with inflatable tubes. This has great stability and can carry over 1100lbs in people and cargo. The tubes are 16″. I like the smaller tubes because it makes it a little easier to get into from the water. Brian loves the space of the new dinghy, he is 6’1″ and can sit like a civilized person without the pretzel or yoga positioning he had to endure to fit wife, dog, and gear onboard our old dinghy.

Specs of new WM 310 hypalon RIB

  • Tube Diameter: 16″
  • Number Of Chambers: Three
  • Bottom Shape: V-shape
  • Floor: Fiberglass
  • Transom Construction: Fiberglass and birch marine plywood
  • Seam Construction: Glued
  • Length: 10’3″
  • Beam: 5’2″
  • Max. HP: 15
  • Capacity: 1144lbs./4-Person
  • Weight: 113lb.
  • Stowed Dimensions: 9’3″ x 3’9″ x 1’7″  

You can see our old dinghy next to the new RIB. Quite a difference! It will still fit on our foredeck with staysail stay in place If we deflate it. This West Marine Hypalon 310 comes with a pretty nice stowage case too.

The first thing we do to a beautiful brand new RIB is to “uglyfy” it. This makes it blend in with the other boat tenders tied up to the docks. A nice white shiny inflatable screams to be stolen and Key West’s crime rate is staggeringly high. I painted on our boat name for insurance purposes, theft deterrent, and for easy ID. I will make a canvas flap that will flip over the bow to cover the name when we wish to remain anonymous. Some believe that if thieves see your dinghy at the dock with the boat name on it, the thieves are able to ascertain the mothership is empty and ready to plunder. But Brian and I are not totally on board with that logic, at least, not for the environments we have encountered.


I outlined the stencil in sharpie then painted an acrylic outdoor black paint. We will see how long it holds up. Yes, I painted the slash in t/t backwards and only had one capital T. Oh well. 


Locked some acco chain to the inner pad eye to use to lock the dinghy up. I’m making a soft sleeve that will wrap around the chain for the first couple feet so it won’t scuff or ding the gel coat.The outboard has a separate lock.


Added an external Racor fuel filter to help prevent fuel contamination issues.


Yamaha 15 hp decals coming off. Part of the uglyfying process :-). The Yamaha is electric start 15″ short shaft.


I sanded the cowl, then dry painted some acrylic flat black.


Progress so far. Needs the lime green paint which will arrive tomorrow. We will be back on mooring but I think I’ll still be able to paint everything in the water.


I sprinkled the cowl with water as the paint was tacking off. This will give a permanent stained look. I need to etch the shaft ( boat name) and paint it here and there.

I picked a nice lime green color to paint our logo on the stern port and starboard tubes, on the outboard cowl and add a few touches here and there. This will hopefully prevent theft and help us retrieve our dinghy easily if it is somehow separated from the mothership unintentionally. Also, I’m placing a laminated card attached to the stern, this will have our names and emergency contact numbers in case the tender was ever found adrift. All gear, oars, ggas tank etc will also be labeled with our boat name. All this work will hopefully be unnecessary, but if it is ever stolen, or more likely, gets away from us and is found adrift or on a beach, there will be several clues (including name and phone number!) to get this wayward tender back to the mothership.


Painting logo on cowl. I traced our logo from my iPad. I will put Rain Dog next to the mermaid under the dog.


I filled in the areas that needed fixing.


A little rough but lookin good :-). Will put another coat on and call it good. We will use the rest of the cowl to put decals from places we visited. I will paint smaller logos like this on our dinghy( part of uglyfying the dinghy 🙂 )

I took a screen shot of my GPS logging our speed in the new dinghy. There was Brian, Scupper and I, along with outboard, gear, about 50 Lbs of supplies. The lower left shows that we were planing at 15 knots. 🙂 yep, this dinghy is gonna work out just fine.


New T/T Rain Dog 🙂


Quick word about inflatable floors dinghies. Our old dinghy, an achillies LS-88 Hypalon inflatable floor, was a great dinghy over all but thought I’d share some shortcomings for those thinking of buying one. First off the floor is separate from the dinghy and in inflated once in place. This is great for cleaning and repair but it also creates a hazard to watch out for. Your foot, especially small feet, can slip down in between the hull and floor. This happened to me while I was washing Rain Dogs hull. The dinghy was very slippery with soap and my foot slipped down into that dead space between the hull and floor. My foot twisted during the fall and “locked” my foot in. It took me about 60 seconds to get myself big deal, and someone stronger and more agile could of gotten out much quicker, I was still pretty weak, recovering from an illness. BUT, just be aware and vigilant that your foot can slip down there. If the boat were to flip, and your foot was stuck…. Also the floor is canter


Kid that bought our old dinghy driving away. We posted the signs for the dinghy with motor and it was sold within about four hours.

We’ve had the boat and motor a week now and are very happy. We get around quicker and easier and best of all I can start the motor with a push of the button! this should help my arms heal up. Still need to install the battery box, I’d like it to be mounted next to the Racor. Brian bought a U1 battery for starting the motor.


2 thoughts on “New Dinghy and Outboard!!!

    • Yeah, I think the proper way is t/t. Lowercase and slash going the other way. I did not have any lower case Ts and I zoned out about the /. You won’t be the last one scratching their heads when they see it 🙂 oh well.
      Hope all is well with you.

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