After having had 2 solid floor inflatable boats previously, the Humber 13 and the Honwave T40, I thought I’d look into the air deck models. My theory was that these would be much easier to setup and manage, especially single handedly. After lugging the Honwave T40 in and out of the sea, all 100KG plus fully laden, I was in the market for something a little lighter. After doing a bit of research I decided on a Seapro 340 from Bill Higham Marine. At the time they were offering a 20 percent discount so I reserved one and travelled across to Manchester to view it then purchase. The manager\owner Simon was very accommodating and was happy to unbox then inflate the Seapro for me to inspect. I didn’t take me long to get out my debit card. It was just what I was looking for.
Once home I was keen to inflate it again to have a proper look. One thing I did notice straight away was the thickness of the material it was made of. It felt super tough and like nothing I’d had previously. The Bill Higham website likens it to Rhino hide and I can see why. The last time I’d come across material like this was on a Avon inflatable costing many times more. I’m not saying that it was as good as a £5K Avon or similar, how could it be, but it felt very tough considering the sub £600 price tag. Time will tell how tough. The valves were also an improvement over the Honda Honwave, they have a smooth finish and are easy to operate. If you’ve had a Honda Honwave you’ll know how rough the Honwave valves can be on the thumb as you push and turn the valve to open and close it.
Here are some specs on the Seapro 340 inflatable boat.
Outboard Shaft: Short
Max Persons: 5
Max Engine: 15HP
Air Chambers: 3+1+1
I paired this boat with a 6hp Johnson 2 stroke engine which I’d bought as a package on Ebay. It originally came with Avon Typhoon 3 metre inflatable boat which was in a pretty poor state but I only wanted the engine anyway, which had hardly been used. You could tell this by the condition under the hood.
I made a video of my first outing and also an assembly video at first launch in Skinningrove, UK.
The first time out in the Seapro 340 inflatable boat was a great experience. The Johnson 6hp was more than powerful enough to power this boat along. In fact it was too fast at times and I had to cut back on the throttle now and again. It would take between 5 and 10 seconds to get on the plane but once it did it really moved, it was fast for a boat this size. The following video shows this.
The main benefit of having an air deck floor, less weight, can also be a drawback. Not having the weight of an aluminium floor in a boat this size can often cause the front of the boat to rise up and the rear to sit low in the water due having most of the weight at the back of the boat. This boat is no exception although this is easily sorted by putting some extra weight at the front end. I find 20KG of kit at the front end lessens this effect. This pic below shows an example of the front lifting. Even using the outboard trim didn’t help much.
Another option would be to use an extended tiller arm then you can sit further forward. Or if the worse comes to the worst and you are feeling sociable you can even take along a couple of friends to sit at the front end.
This boat has a removable air deck floor which has plus and negative points. Great for if you manage to puncture it, maybe cannot repair it, and need to replace it. Not so great for when you need to clean the boat after a days fishing as you need to remove the floor to clean and dry underneath it. Not a major problem, I’m just lazy but still prefer this to the integrated air deck floors.
Every trip out in the Seapro has been a pleasure and I’ve had no issues with the performance. I think it’s best paired with a 6hp or 9.9 hp outboard. The 6hp I currently use with it is certainly fast enough for me. I’m keen to see how a 6hp 4 stroke would work with it so maybe a 4 stroke upgrade is on the cards for next year. I love the 2 stroke Johnson 6hp but the mixing of oil is a chore I can do without.
In summary, the Seapro is a great boat, super tough, well made and certainly the best boat I’ve come across at that price. Over the years I’ve been out many times fishing the north sea and the Seapro has never let me down. The proof is in the pudding so here’s a couple of videos of my Seapro adventures.
You can pick up a Seapro inflatable boat from Bill Higham Marine:
You won’t regret it.
Update 2017: The Seapro is still going strong 3 years later and showing hardly any signs of wear. The following video is from a recent outing at Redcar, UK: