Originally Posted by IRENE
Having a 13' Boston Whaler for a tender, then using many inflatables, I do not anticipate using a traditional boat as a tender again. In addition to the undesirable (pounding) ride, it was wet and prone to damage.
With the inflatable you need to worry much less about damaging either boat when approaching the mothership. They stay together quietly at anchor when desired. You are much less likely to pinch a finger (or worse) between boats. The secondary stability of a rigid inflatable boat is nice to have, and they are easier to climb aboard from in the water. When the inflatable breaks loose in choppy water, it is much easier to approach and board or secure. If you get one with an unpainted aluminum bottom, you can go ashore on a rough shoreline and simply hose out the interior when necessary. I have never punctured a sponson on a personal or work inflatable. They are very pleasant to use for your intended mission.
I have never had a flat boat (unless my Whalers or CDory count), but I would be concerned mostly with fendering and the ride in light chop.
Also having had a 13' Whaler (circa 2005, 40hp Merc) as an extremely heavily used tender, I have to agree with many of the points here, but for us the negatives far outweighed the positives of capacity and comfort. God invented fenders for most of those negative issues.
We still use it to this day as the boat to take to the various island beaches here in eastern NC and it is fine in most all seas, the chop around here being well known.Maybe that is more a matter of vintage, I don't know. Many's the time we have ferried many people, who owned inflatables, to and fro anchorages and mooring fields, our boat being stabler and having more room for people (inside the boat on a bench, not getting butt wet on a tube), luggage, groceries, bicycles, day-at-the-beach gear boat parts, etc