I have a 23' trophy and normally only do day trips mostly out of Homer.I don't carry a dinghy on board.
We have decided to try to hit Whittier this year for some shrimp,rockfish and whatever else we can find and spend some more time overnighting on the boat in general.
I bought a cheap sevylor raft to try out for now. I know most guys say they are cheap junk. I figured it definetly saves space and it is a heck of a lot cheaper than most dinghy's. It should last me until I find a good deal on a better dinghy.I don't have a dog to take to shore twice a day so that isn't an issue for me either.
I think if you plan to overnight on your anchor then you will want one. For day trips it isn't really neccessary.
Chris pretty much summed it up in his last sentence. If you are wanting to get to shore, then you will want a way to do it without having to put your 26' glass boat on the beach. maybe one of those little kayaks?
To throw another spin on things..say your crusing and hit something...have ran friends and the family through drills. Takes me about 30 secs to get boat in the water, another 45secs for kids and wife along with bugout/suvival kit. (took me longer to get over the knot on my head from the boat paddle when she realized it was a drill and the boat was not sinking..lol)
Better safe then DEAD.
Comes in handy for exploring, camping etc as well.
I like the safety aspect of another boat on board. Ive got the toom for an 8'6 dingy on the front without too much hassle i may go that route. Ive got a 12' zodiac but its just to big for the front. Ill try to trade that out for a smaller one i believe. I dont think a dingy is nessecary but does open alot of doors. Thanks fellas.
I take my inflatable with me only on overnighters. I don't really have a place for mine either but I take it out deflated and rolled up. When I get to where I plan to stay I inflate and use it. I can put it in the back of the boat when I move from one place to another but it takes up most of the deck I just push it back into the water when I get to the new spot and just tow it if I am motoring slow.
I'm also thinking about the issue of a dingy. Thinking about going bear hunting this May out of Whittier in the Wooldridge. Definitely a lack of space and no need to have one to access the shore. Tides are always an issue, don't want to get stranded on the wrong beach at the wrong time. Peace of mind from having a second boat would be great.
Remember that all boats with motors, no matter how small, have to be registered in the state of Alaska. The way I read it that even means electric motors. Of course if the state had their way, every boat would be registered from pack rafts to kayaks etc. That way, when they find it floating out in the sound somewhere they know who to notify or something like that.
I'm going to +1 my vote for a dinghy for safety's sake, if nothing else. Or gumby survival suits for all aboard (and the skill & regular drills for correctly donning quickly in an emergency). In the event of a fire or catastrophic flooding situation, without at least one of these two means of abandoning ship without entering the water unprotected, there is an excellent chance that everyone aboard will perish. Sure, you might get off a distress call in time, and there might be another vessel close enough to response quickly, or you might happen to be close enough to shore when something happens that you can swim for it and not be hypothermic by the time you get there.
In the immortal words of Dirty Harry, "Do you feel lucky?"
I've got a small West Marine raft for a dinghy, but I don't carry it very often, as room is at a premium. However, I always carry my life raft. As someone already noted, you don't want to go into the water.