Tenders are small watercrafts that get you between your anchored vessel and the shore, but they are more than just a work vehicle, they can be great fun in themselves. Put an outboard motor on a tender and it can be used as a fishing or diving boat, or you can navigate the more shallow waters you come across when you’re out boating. There are basically two types of tenders, hard or inflatable. Generally, the hard category includes tenders made of wood or fiberglass. Boaters who support hard tenders believe that they handle better in adverse weather conditions. Boaters who choose inflatables contend their choice is lighter and easier to handle both in and out of the water. Proponents of inflatable tenders also point out that a comparable size inflatable will carry more weight, provide better stability and won’t scar your topsides when it bumps into your vessel. Finally, you may want to consider a combination of the two. There are a number of small, hard-bottom inflatables on the market today that are light, sea worthy, easily stored and stable.

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