Well im really into boating and fishing mainly and im 14. This year I got my first boat ( a 9.2 ft inflatable) with no motor.... Now I already want to upgrade to something a little bigger.... something with a motor, and something I can take up the kenai etc. Anyways , I cant buy a full blown boat because we cant trailer 2 boats (parents have a 16'). So I've been reading alot about portaboats. They seem very sturdy, easy to transport etc. I even watched a video of one completely filled with water, guess what.... it still floated. The boat itself would be 1000$-1500$ (Used hopefully), Im kind of disappointed with the new 4 stroke rule.... a 9.9 hp four stroke (used) will set me back another 1000$-1500$.... I also was wondering if you think a 9.9 ( limit for a 14' portaboat) could go slowly but surely up the kenai keys area ( from above bings to skilak.) Any advice on previous owners or just pointers is appreciated. Oh one last thing ........ any other fun places for me to motor and catch fish with it would be appricated. I will probably buy the boat next summer----
The only time I have ever been dumped into the water from a boat, I was in a portaboat.From my experience,they are dangerous,and not suitable for cold Alaska waters. I think a nice inflatable with a hard transom for an outboard is much much better.I really do not trust portaboats.
I have over 6 years experience with Porta-botes and can tell you its one of the safest boats of its size anywhere. I’ve owned inflatables and they are stable but weigh more and require about twice the HP of a porta-bote, and rough riding in chop. I’ve taken my family out on Kenai, and Skilak Lakes with no problems.
I currently am sealing my 14th but motor is 2 stroke 9.8, a great motor for this boat but not sure of regs on Kenai River.
I’ve owned both 12 and 14 foot porta-bote and took my first madden voyage up the Kenai in the 12, no problem.
The only reason I’m selling is because we’ve grown out of this boat and wont to fish and explore salt water.
Check out my add, I‘ll sell the boat separately.
I have pictures and will upload tonight. I deleted the add because someone was going to buy but couldn't come up with the $, when I re-listed the pictures didn't.
I was looking at your boat, it would be great if it was a four stroke engine, regs change next year to 4 stroke/50hp max. Parents think im jumping the gun so ill probably have to wait til next year to get one... They suggested a zodiac but i like portabotes
Do you remember when you were a kid and watched those Saturday morning commercials? Well, that porta boat ad is just the same. They know how to make everything look way better than it is. I do not have anything to sell you. I am trying to save your life. Those boats are flimsy and dangerous. My husband tried one out is a shallow lake. When he shifted his weight to turn around in the boat, the beam collapsed when he leaned on it. The boat filled with water and capsized. He now refers to the boat as that "origami" boat. Please stick with inflatables. Get an Achilles or other reputable brand. My husband and I flew one in to hunt bear on Kodiak. A 9.8 motor was all it took to get a great bear. You will not outgrow that combination as it will still be useful long after you try and give up on the porta boat. Save your money, and maybe your life. I read this forum frequently, but I registered today just so I could respond to you. I respect you for asking people more experienced than you for information. That habit, along with some healthy skepticism will take you a long way in life. best of luck.
Last edited by bighell; 08-06-2007 at 22:19.
Thanks alot for the info... Ive switched my focus to zodiacs, Only problem is trailoring it would be nice to have a 16' boat, i think you could inflate it? but the motor would probably be far to heavy to assemble on seen, thus requiring a seperate trailor
Oh and does anyone have any zodiac stories? Or know lots about them? Do you think they can handle the ocean aswell as rivers ... such as 4 ft waves
Zodiacs and other high quality inflatables are probably some of the safest boats you can buy.
However they lack the protection and the comfort the wife and kiddios need to make you good fishing buddies.
Safe, yes........Comfortable, no.
I had a 12 foot Quicksilver inflatable with a 20 Jet. It was no problem getting it inflated (manually) and the motor mounted in 20 minutes. With an electric pump, it'd probably be quicker. I stopped messing with the trailer, as it ended up saving me enough road time that I was fishing sooner by rolling it up in the back of the truck and inflating it at the river (Chatanika off Murphy Dome).
Later, I had a 14 ft Zodiac with 40 horse prop. I think a 15 horse would be plenty, an 8-9.9 would be adequate. They do come in handy for fly-out trips, and work well in PWS too.
I don't know how much a 4 stroke 8 horse weighs, but I wouldn't imagine it'd need a separate trailer, or be too heavy to mount quickly.
(take this with a grain of salt, I'm from Montana, not Alaska)
I had a 12' Zodiac style boat for many years. It was made of hypalon and was some off-brand made in Japan. My step father bought it new and used it on rivers and lakes for about 15 years. When he bought a bigger boat (retirement) he gave it to me and I used it for over 10 years. It was great to not have to have a trailer. I put the boat and a 9.9 in the pickup and went whereever. Increadible stability, I put 4 guys and a bunch of deer we'd shot in it and floated a river with no problem. Duck hunted, fished and deer hunted out of it for years.
We get some aweful waves in our shallow lakes when the wind kicks up. One time it was nasty and I was booking it back to shore and I was amazed at the stability. People in regular skiffs were scared for their lives and I was enjoying blasting over the tops of the waves.
I abused that boat by dragging it through places it shouldn't have been. My friend used it last year during the fall to scuba dive in Yellowstone lake. He was very impressed with its stability. Two guys and all their gear and it floated like a cork.
Finally, after all the years (at least 25) of abuse and fun it had a gillion pin hole leaks and it was a drain to keep pumping it when out on a trip. The wooden floor boards and cheesy wooden three peice keel had held up well but it was time and I chucked it.
An Alaskan boat will get 20 times more use that one here, but I'd never let my kids out in anything else if they were to go on their own.
I had a Zodiac mark 2 GT and loved the boat, took it out of Seward a number of times. I also used it for water skiing and river running while living in Fairbanks.
You really canít compare the porta-bote and a comparable sized inflatable, they are apples and oranges.
The porta-bote is what it is, a portable boat made for fair weather conditions on lakes, slow moving rivers, and calm inland bays. The reason I went with the porta-bote is its quick setup and lightweight portability, plus its practically built proof and requires not maintenance; you can leave out in the sun for 100 years. Pump it full of holes from a shotgun and it will never sink, say that about an inflatable.
Before you bad mouth this boat go to the Yahoo Porta-bote Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PortaBote/ with 1639 members at last count. Sandy the president of porta-bote monitors the site and will answer your questions, and when you call the company he usually answers.
Iíve commercial fished on set net sites, long lined out of Kodiak, engineered on a 75 foot fishing vessel, had numerous boats over the years, and love this boat for what it is.
Please donít bad mouth this wonderfully engineered vessel, its unique and fits a unique set of user applications for what it was designed.
Iím not trying to convince anyone to buy this boat; you need to asses your needs and make that choice yourself.
Porta Bote Fan
We have been using a 12' Bote for 4 years now. We use it once we get to Moose Camp for our daily skiff. I find it easy to drag through shallow water and over short sandbars when necessary to portage around logs, etc.
The Bote is stable when driving carefully, but it turns wicked fast with an 8hp Tohatsu on the back. We usually run with 2 adults and day gear. When hauling moose, unless we have to drag it through the shallows, we run with one person and keep somebody at each end to help carry.
If not put together correctly the sides will fail. The design of the boat helps to limit speed if you use too big a motor, but I would bet you could still get yourself in trouble with extra power.
I also don't have to worry too much about something chewing on it or punching holes in it on sharp rocks or sticks. Just my experience. Hope you find a good fit for your needs.
From The Manufacturer of Porta-Bote
We have been manufacturing Porta-Bote folding boats for the past 35 years. We now have over 78,000 boats in use around the world.
It's being used by rescue organizations worldwide because of it's stability and its ability not to puncture.
Go to: http://www.porta-bote.com/rescue.html
70% of our owners are former inflatable owners who were weary of the punctures and other problems inherent with inflatable type of craft.
The boat is basically unsinkable unless overloaded beyond Coast Guard maximum capacity.
It was chosen by the British RAF to climb Mt. Everest and cross a partially frozen lake 20,000 feet above sea leverl. They didn't use an inflatable because it would probably explode at that height. They didn't use an aluminum boat because it was much to heavy, For the full story please click on: http://www.porta-bote.com/history.html
We've heard of other type of boats capsizing under the right circumstances. With a 5 ft beam Porta-Bote is extremely stable and doesn't take almost an hour to open up or close.
Said my piece. Can't wait to read the responses.
How I see Portabotes
I've owned a 14' Portabote for two years. I think the only way it could collapse when on the water is if it was assembled wrong--seriously wrong. It does tend to oversteer (in automotive language), but that is easily controlled. Is it perfect? Of course not. Is it a good boat? Yes. It would be great if you could find a nearby Portabote owner who would take you out in it and let you find out about it yourself.
Pulling Tube With Porta-bote
youtube link of pulling son on tube at Keani Lake
Zodiaks don'tr need trailers
I used to throw a 15' Zodiak on top of my old VW bus. The 15hp motor was thrown into the back. Worked fine even with a family in the rig.
Originally Posted by Fishwhacker
I bought this boat from a set netter who used it for herring roe harvesting in Togiak. He brought it around Cape Constantine in messy spring weather to Nushagak Bay, a distance of about 80 miles. I'm talking real open ocean stuff in the Bering Sea. Try that with any other 15' skiff!
I personally don't like the ride of an inflatable, as I like a solid boat under my feet.
Maybe check Craigs List.
HP and Assembly
Perhaps the problem with handling a 12 footer with an 8 HP is that I believe that 6 HP is the max recommended by the manufacturer.
As well, the potential problems with assembly.....the seats 'lock' in with a linchpin...or cotter pin. I instead use SS bolts with lockwashers and SS wingnuts. Doesn't take that much longer to assemble or disassemble, but sure adds an extra feeling of security to it....no slippage at all.
For those badmouthing Porta-botes...well, the ONLY time I was rear-ended I was in a Suzuki Sidekick.....still have residual injuries....so I won't ever buy a Suzuki again! Same logic!
I've had 4 Porta-botes...my first one was some 21 years old, didn't leak a drop, and still worked fine....I don't believe most inflatables last like that. I've had a Genesis 3 10 footer, and a Genesis 3 12 footer, and now have a Genesis 4 12 footer...and FOR THEIR PURPOSE...they're a great little boat. I've taken my 10 footer with a 4 HP Merc out in protected saltwater around Vancouver with no problems at all. It handles the chop and waves just fine, as well as the wake from passing yachts. However, I decided that the 12 footer gave me a bit more confidence, so changed sizes...then models to the latest one.
Bottom line...try them out.....maybe it's for you....maybe it's not. Don't think it's some ocean-going traveller, or built to cart 1000 lbs of gear. Use it for what it is, and what it's designed to do.
Originally Posted by Ak River Rat
Pilgrim is right
I have to go back and look at the hp rating on the 12'. I thought we had gone to the max and not over. As I recall, the video and information describes the hull design as a limiter in overall speed regardless of hp used. Still, no need to put a big motor on it as the bote moves right along and seems like less is more, so to speak.
I found an old porta bote that looks different than the newer one we have, so there has been some modifications and improvements.
And have to repeat what he said, durability is par exellence! Can't wait to use it again this moose season.
If you get a 12' bote you wont be dissappointed
I've had my Bote for almost a year now and have had it on a lake and three different rivers many times this year without any problems. I love my bote and other than an inboard jet really wouldn't care to have anything else for the kind of fishing I do. I've been hard on it also. The rocks I've hit would've put a hole in a inflateable as well as an aluminum boat. It does great in shallow water and with my 6hp 4 stroke Nissan I can go back upstream easily. I don't live in Alaska but I fish the New River around the Radford VA area. It can be a mean stretch of water. I once hit a stump at full speed and would've flipped a jon boat but since the hull on my bote has flex it absorbed the shock. I am not affiliated with the Porta-Bote company, just a very satisfied customer.
I bought a 16 foot inflatable "Made in Korea" from Marita Sea & Ski a couple of years ago for a little over $2K. Kinda' wondered about my investment, but it's served me well in PWS on bear hunts and on the Kenai River dipnetting. It top ends at 23 mph on with two 'mature' men onboard on flat water with an old 35 hp Evinrude. I wonder how the porta-bote would do on dipnetting the Kenai at low tide with me and 20,000 friends. They'd all be in their own boats of course. I think Porta-botes look great strapped to the side of motorhomes.... headed for the lower 48.
Fishwhacker, I think a 12/14 ft inflatable could be secured to the top of your folks boat fairly easy....
Practice wearing a life jacket, no matter which boat you buy....