| Book Review: Inflatable Boats: Selection, Repair and Seamanship |

Book Review: Inflatable Boats, Selection, Repair and Seamanship by Jim Trefethen

Writing an entire book on the topic of inflatable boats seems to be somewhat of a challenging task.  After the first few pages, one would think that the topic would exhaust itself pretty quickly.  Making the book an easy and fun read seems almost impossible.   In fact, the author’s first written line in the Acknowledgement section of this book reads “This book was hard to write.”

Mr. Trefethen succeeds, however, in writing an informative and entertaining book,  Inflatable Boats: Selection, Repair and Seamanship.  It is laid out well and manages to fully cover the topics that readers interested in inflatable boats would find useful – without being dull and overbearing in on any one topic.

Inflatable Boats


The product description for this book dwells on the topic of repairing an inflatable boat.  Although learning how to repair an inflatable craft is important, this book contains much more content than that topic alone.

Chapter one begins with a history of inflatable crafts, from ancient times to the present day.  Did you know that the first use of inflatable boats date back to 550 B.C?  (You will have to purchase the book to find out how they did it!)

In addition to the short history of the inflatable boat, Mr. Trefethen also thoroughly discusses the types of modern materials used to build today’s durable crafts in chapter two.

Content that you will find useful is literally found in ever chapter of this book.  Chapter four deals with the topic of inflatable boat selection, which leads nicely into chapter 5: Outboards, Oars, and other Options.  Chapter six follows with a discussion on how to operate your inflatable boat safely once you have selected the model and its accessories.

The topics of maintenance and repair does not come up until chapter eight and nine of the book.  This is where you will find the most valuable information for maintaining and repairing your boat – both minor and permanent repairs.

Writing Style

The topic of inflatable boats and dinghys is not the most exciting one to write a book about, but this author does a good a job as any to make it as interesting and fun to read as possible.  Writing style is light and full of humor, with many “story” lines scattered throughout the book.  Mr. Trefethen does not simply spew out inflatable boat facts, but weaves personal stories and anecdotes into the factual information.

Another nice touch is the use of penciled illustrations and charts to offset the text.  No color photography is used.  Jim’s writing style is light and often amusing, but it is clear that he is an experienced sailor with a lot of knowledge to share.  At the end of the book, you will find lists of major manufacturers of inflatables and their contact information.


We found this book to be highly informative as well as very entertaining. It is intended for someone who is either looking to purchase an inflatable craft, or who already owns one.  If you are in the market to purchase your first inflatable boat, it will definitely make your buying decision alot easier.

If you are an experienced inflatable boat owner, the chapters on maintenance and repairs are worth the price of the book alone.  And if you simply want to read an informative and entertaining book on a fun topic, this book is also highly recommended.

We give this book 4.5 stars out of 5.  Find if at your local library, bookstore, or get a great discount on a new or used copy on amazon.com.

Reviewed by: Jonathon Mendleheisen