FAQs

Kolibri Boats frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What fabrics are inflatable boats made from?
For many years all inflatables were made of Neoprene/Hypalon (or rubber) materials. Today modern materials and construction processes have made it possible to make inflatable boats out of strong plastic materials called PVC fabric. So, today most inflatables are made out of PVC or Hypalon. Each fabric is different and requires different fabric and glue for repairs.

Are inflatable boats safe and stable?
Yes! Inflatable boats are said to be the safest and most stable boats in the world now with the patented construction methods, technology used and the innovative designs allowing redundant safety systems to be in place (ie. multiple chambers in the tubeset in case 1 gets punctured, other still stay inflated). Because of their safety reputation, inflatable boats are now essentially the standard for use by the military, coast guard and other rescue agencies worldwide.

How big a boat do I need for my family?
There are too many criteria to consider for us to answer this question accurately for each user, but generally criteria include, number of people to go in the boat, their average weight, how much cargo will you have, for use in lakes or oceans, calm water or rough water, size of engine, personal safety peace of mind needed, tow it, put it on the roof or fold it up, and your budget. When you know the answers to these check our boats that meet your needs.

What size tender do I need for my yacht?
There are too many criteria to consider for us to answer this question accurately for each user, but generally criteria include, number of people to go in the boat, their average weight, how much cargo will you have, for use in lakes or oceans, calm water or rough water, size of engine, personal safety peace of mind needed, tow it, put it on top of your boat, put it on davits or fold it up, and your budget. When you know the answers to these, visit a dealer and they'll show you boats that meet your needs.

How do I find out who manufactured my boat?
Inflatable boats will have a logo, decal or other branding on them most of the time. If not, they should all have an I.D. plate or patch identifying the boat brand, model, serial number, length, width, weight, capacities, manufacturer contact info and more. This plate is often located on the transom (back) of the boat.

I recently bought a used boat and need parts for it.
Go to a Supplier's Index and search for the listing of the manufacturer of your boat. Click there to go to their website for information and parts. If it isn't listed, they probably don't have a website. Our Shopping section offers a wide selection of parts and many dealers of different brands stock universal parts also.

I want to repair my boat. What do I do?
Repairing a boat yourself is a difficult and often costly task. It is a complex procedure and the glue, solvents, fabrics and tools required are not easy to get and are usually expensive. However, most dealers stock these items and will sell you them, some will even offer directions and advice. Be warned though that "self repairs" may end in a visit to the dealer anyways, so a dealer evaluation before you try is always the best idea to determine the difficulty of the repair.

I want to build my own inflatable boat. Does anyone sell patterns and supplies?
Building an inflatable boat is complex, and expensive and is best left to the professionals. Building your own boat will likely cost more than buying one and could prove to be a safety hazard as well. Insuring it or passing government inspections/regulations my be difficult also. Patterns for the sections of the inflatable collar are hard to get and it is unlikely a manufacturer will supply them or that a dealer would have them. However, if you really want to try, a dealer will likely sell you the fabric, glue, parts, etc.

How Do I Find A Leak In My Boat
Use a soapy water mixture (dish soap) and spray it all over your inflatable while it is inflated. Watch for small bubbles, hissing and other telltale signs. Works every time!

How to match correct outboard motor
One of the most important factors when buying an outboard motor is to match the correct horsepower with the boat you want to power.  It is very easy to under power as well as overpower your craft.  Under power your boat and you will be putting unnecessary drag on the motor and performance will be sacrificed.  Too much power can cause damage to your boat or even cause personal injury.  The most important factor in deciding on the amount of power to use on your boat is to always stay within the recommendations of the manufacturer’s horsepower maximum limit.  As a general rule of thumb, you should go with around 75% of your boat’s maximum horsepower rating.  If you plan to be fully loaded when you use your boat, try to get as close as you can to the upper horsepower limit.

 

Small Outboard Engines:
2 hp – 4 hp (Less than 35lbs)
Most engines with this horsepower rating are two stroke motors with a few exceptions being four stroke. These motors are perfect for nearly any small boat. Some of the normal applications would be to use them on canoes, other portable boats, small sailboats, 8-12 foot aluminum jon boats, and even on inflatable boats.  If the boat you are using will draft in 4 inches of water when loaded – which usually means the capacity is one person with gear this size motor would be a good choice.  In many cases the gas tank is built into the cowling, where there is no need for a separate gas tank and fuel line.  When deciding on a motor in this class, you will need to consider its weight.  Motors of the same horsepower can vary greatly in weight, so depending on the boat you are planning to use it on; it may make a difference in performance.

Pros
- Boats can reach speeds of about 5 – 10 mph depending on the weight of the boat and the power of the motor.
- These engines will push a boat faster than trolling motors will.
- You can use the motor as a ‘kicker’ motor and push a much heavier boat at respectable trolling speeds.
Cons
- With a heavier boat power is dimished and you will be disappointed
- Small gas tank limits range without extra fuel being brought along

5 hp – 8 hp (From around 40lbs- 60lbs)
These are portable mid-range light-weight outboard motors. These motors will plane out canoes, jon boats, portable boats, and small inflatables. These engines are nice because they are powerful and still light enough to transport with ease.  A perfect uses for these motors are on just about any small to midsize sailboats and to use as kickers on boats less than 20ft. These outboard motors are great for boats that weigh 50-250lbs, range from 8 to 14ft, and can be carried with two people or less.
Pros
- You can expect to have a top speed of around 18 mph with one person on a light boat – the general range would be 10 – 18 mph
- Will work great for trolling, sailboats, and emergency back-ups
- Sometimes motors of this class will perform differently with several people on a boat or if the boat is fully loaded with gear.
Cons
- Performance is great unless craft is fully loaded.  You tend to not be able to plane out.

9.9hp-18hp(From around 65-100 lbs)
Also called the powerhouse of small outboard engines, these engines are very versatile and are used in almost every small boating application. These motors are very popular for those needing the power to get to distant locations. They are also popular among fisherman who have at least 2 occupants aboard or have heavy gear to transport. They can be used on large sailboats ranging from 16-25ft with no problem and are an excellent choice for jon boats, large canoes, 9-12ft inflatables, and small fiberglass boats ranging from 11-16ft. Boats in this class usually weight from 120-600lbs+. These engines are still very portable and transported and moved around fairly easy.
Performance
- You can expect to go about 15-25mph on light boats
- If a 6-8 hp is not powerful enough usually a 9.9hp-18hp will be enough of an upgrade. 
- Motors this size sometimes have an electric start option and battery charging capabilities.

20-35hp (From 100lbs-150lbs)
These outboard motors are very popular outboards.  They bridge the gap between small and medium size fishing boats. These engines will move your light fiberglass skiffs and large jon boats at decent speeds.  For those who need to travel 5-30 miles, the best way to go is with no less than a 20 hp outboard motor. These motors are great for light boats ranging from 13-18ft as well as sailboats and pontoons. You can also use these engines on large inflatables, large canoes, 14-18ft aluminum jons, and large sailboats. If you carry 3 or more people and wish to get up on plane you should go with no less than a 20 hp outboard.
Performance
- You can expect to go about 20-30mph on most light boats.
- If a 9.9hp-18hp barely planes your boat a 20-35hp will be a sufficient upgrade.

Large Outboard Motors:
40hp -75hp
These engines are perfect for your 14-18ft fiberglass fishing and cruising skiffs. They work well on 16-22ft pontoon boats and 20ft+ aluminum heavy-duty jons.  These motors can get you to your destination at 30+ mph, which could easily pull a skier or inner tube.

90hp-140hp (V-4 or less)
These are your powerhouse midrange outboards.  They are used on just about any boat ranging from 16-25ft and will push bass boats and flats boats 55mph with ease.  They will work on 20ft-25ft offshore boats, and are ideal for your pontoon boat as long as it is rated for the hp.

150hp-300hp (V-6 and V-8)
These outboards are your big guns and will push your 22-28ft fishing craft and can also be used as twin outboards. They will run bass and flat boats at speeds of 60mph +. These motors are more common in the 25? shaft length since they are found on the largest outboard personal watercrafts.

Shaft Length:
The length of the shaft should be considered when purchasing an outboard motor.  Shaft lengths are standardized to fit 15-inch, 20-inch and 25-inch transoms. All KOLIBRI boats are designed to 15-inch (short-shaft) outboard motor. If you choose a shaft that is too long it will extend farther into the water than necessary creating drag.  This will greatly impair performance and decrease fuel economy. If the shaft is too short, the motor will be prone to ventilation or cavitation. What is worse, if the water intake ports on the lower unit do not fully extend into the water, engine overheating is likely, which can result in engine and shaft damage beyond economic repair.

Summary:
Overall, when buying a ‘small’ outboard, we recommend that you get the upper end of horsepower recommended for your boat.  If you don’t you will be setting yourself up for disappointment.  As an example, I have a 10ft aluminum jon boat and put a 5.0hp Briggs and Stratten 4-stroke on it.  While the motor runs great, I took it out on a slough of the Mississippi river.  There was very little current and even less traffic.  My GPS told me that my average speed was about 8 mph, even with the boat overloaded with gear and myself (pushing the upper limits of the boat’s weight limit).   You would be surprised how slow 8 mph feels, even in a very small boat.  The recommended max hp for that boat is 9.9hp, which I will get if I decide to keep that boat. I guess my point is that you should get close to the upper end of the hp max rating or you will be disappointed.

 

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