TRIED & TESTED
€ 4,950 (ex VAT)
The Nautibuoy 800 inflatable platform, Love Anchor dog bandana and quick-dry Helly Hansen shorts
We had a lot of fun testing the Nautibuoy 800 inflatable platform. First impressions were that this is a very high-quality product – the materials and construction matched what you would find on an expensive RIB. In addition, ours had the optional teak deck which provided great grip and looked fantastic. After inflation, the platform was pretty rigid and didn’t deflect much when people stood on it. Once launched, the platform did exactly what the manufacturers claim, with plenty of style. Children loved playing on it, and it is more stable than you might think, especially with the ballast bags deployed. Adults loved just lounging and sunbathing on it, and it made an appreciable addition to the overall sunbathing space on a boat. The accessories are great: the pair of loungers were supremely comfortable while the swim ladder allowed everyone to exit the water gracefully.
The platform is incredibly versatile. We used it as a buffer/dock for the tender, Seabobs, sailing boats, SUPS and kayaks. Children used it for wrestling matches, football headers, gymnastics and other games. It made a great mini dock for people waiting for their turn at waterskiing and flyboarding. Everyone loved just letting it drift from the mothership attached by a pair of lines for quiet sunbathing, and putting a plate of canapés and a loaded ice bucket on board was very easy. You can even put a protection cover on it and use it for cleaning the sides of the hull, and Nautibuoy supply cleats attached to those suction-cup handles so you can tie up to your top sides and work your way around the boat.
It is important to choose the right size of platform for your boat. We had the 800 model, which is the largest at 4mx2m inflated, on an 80ft boat. It weighs 42kg but rolls up into a sort of 2m-long bodybag, so can’t easily be carried up and down staircases, and we had no deck locker that we were prepared to sacrifice to store it in.
Outside the superyacht world, I think one of the smaller models would make more sense and would be more likely to ‘justify’ the storage space it takes up. For our Squadron 78, I think I would look at buying the smaller 375 or 525 model. It’s worth remembering that when you deflate it, you have to roll it up and either squeeze the air out or use the electric pump supplied to suck it out, and to do that you need a swim platform that is almost the same size as the inflated platform.
One improvement the manufacturers could make is to fit a bigger valve to allow it to deflate faster without using the rather slow pump. It’s not cheap, but it’s a lot of fun and an easy way to add more deck space to your boat without the cost of a permanent extension. John Wolf Contact www.nautibuoymarine.com
The Nautibuoy platform proved a big hit with the kids as well as a relaxing chill-out spot for adults