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.