A Beginner's Guide to Dinghies

A Beginner’s Guide to Dinghies: Everything You Need to Know

Last updated on February 14th, 2024

If you’re new to boating, you may have heard the term “dinghy” thrown around. But what exactly is a dinghy, and why are they so popular among boaters? In this beginner’s guide to dinghies, we’ll answer these questions and more, giving you a comprehensive overview of dinghies and their uses.

What is a Dinghy?

A dinghy is a small, open boat typically used for short trips from a larger boat to shore or for leisure activities like sailing and racing. Dinghies can range in size from 6 to 18 feet and are typically made of materials like wood, fiberglass, or PVC. They are popular among boaters for their versatility, ease of use, and affordability.

The History of Dinghies

Dinghies have been around for centuries and were initially used as lifeboats on larger vessels. In the 18th and 19th centuries, dinghies became popular for recreational activities like sailing, fishing, and rowing. Today, dinghies are used for a variety of purposes, including transportation to and from larger boats, racing, and leisure activities.

Types of Dinghies

There are many types of dinghies, each with its own unique features and uses. Some popular types of dinghies include:

Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs): These dinghies have a rigid hull and inflatable tubes that provide buoyancy and stability.

Sailing Dinghies: These dinghies are designed for sailing and come in a variety of sizes and designs.

Rowing Dinghies: These dinghies are designed for rowing and are typically smaller and more lightweight than sailing dinghies.

How to Choose the Right Dinghy

Choosing the right dinghy depends on your needs and preferences. Some things to consider when choosing a dinghy include:

Size: Dinghies come in a range of sizes, so consider how many people will be using it and where you will be using it.

Material: Dinghies can be made from a variety of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Purpose: Consider what you will be using the dinghy for, whether it’s transportation, leisure activities, or racing.

How to Use a Dinghy

Using a dinghy is relatively easy, but there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Here are some tips for using a dinghy:

  • Always wear a life jacket.
  • Check the weather and tides before heading out.
  • Be aware of other boats and swimmers in the area.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dinghies

Q: How do I store a dinghy?

A: Dinghies can be stored on deck or in davits, depending on the size and type of boat you have.

Q: How do I transport a dinghy?

A: Dinghies can be transported on the deck of a larger boat, on a trailer, or on top of a car.

Q: How fast can a dinghy go?

A: The speed of a dinghy depends on the type of dinghy and the conditions in which it is being used.


Dinghies are a versatile and affordable option for boaters of all skill levels, whether you’re looking to explore new areas, participate in races, or simply enjoy a leisurely day out on the water.

By following this beginner’s guide to dinghies, you’ll have all the information you need to choose the right dinghy for you and enjoy all the benefits that these small boats have to offer.

Remember to always prioritize safety when using a dinghy and follow all safety guidelines and regulations. Happy boating!

“Dinghy.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Feb. 2023, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinghy.

“What Are Dinghies?” Discover Boating, National Marine Manufacturers Association, www.discoverboating.com
“Choosing the Right Dinghy.” West Marine, www.westmarine.com

“How to Use a Dinghy Safely.” BoatUS, www.boatus.com

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