The following review of the Intex Mariner 4 will highlight to you the various reasons that put the Mariner 4 among the best boats you can find on the market as far as strength, performance, and practicality are concerned.
I have a lot of experience with this boat, since I own one. Naturally, I use a trolling motor with it, more on that later.
Features of the boat
The Mariner is one of the most feature-packed inflatable rafts on the market, so let’s begin with a summary:
Triple layered heavy-duty PVC material
Roll-up floor that can hold up to 1,000 pounds
Can carry a 3hp motor with optional motor mount
Nice price for the general quality, features, and build
Light duty oars
Can’t handle heavy rowing
Boat is relatively heavy and bulky for just one person
Low-quality carry bag
Build and durability
The Mariner 4 boasts an extremely rugged design that features long-lasting PVC vinyl material. It is made up of 3 (!) separate layers. There are 2 outer layers of 30 gauge PVC, which are laminated to an inner layer of polyester mesh. This inner layer provides extra reinforcement.
The resulting material is abrasion-resistant and puncture-proof.
Apart from that, it will protect your boat from harmful UV rays, grime, salt, and any other damaging compounds such as chemicals and gas, that may exist in the water. This particular type of PVC does a good job of retaining air so you won’t have to worry about re-inflating the boat constantly. The weather will affect the air in your tubes (I discuss this topic here), but all things being equal, the boat doesn’t lose air.
The Mariner 4 comes with a total of five air chambers, which is more separate chambers than you can find on any other comparable inflatable raft. The benefit of having multiple air chambers is that in the event one chamber fails, the other air compartments guarantee that you will stay afloat as you work on reaching dry land.
The floor of the Mariner 4 stands out among all other boats: this roll-up hard slatted floor allows occupants to stand on their feet and cast.
It’s also worth mentioning that the boat is surrounded by a bump-guard, which protects the fabric against abrasion.
As you can expect with Intex boats, the Mariner set comes with pretty much everything you need to get out on the water.
The accessories included with Intex Mariner boats are:
- inflatable raft
- carrying bag
- manual pump and hose
- 2 oars (54″ length)
- repair patch
- 3 inflatable seats
- 1 gear pouch
- 1 battery pouch
The 2-piece aluminum oars on the Mariner 4 are fastened together using a threaded plastic fitting which is, unfortunately, not sturdy enough to cope with vigorous rowing. These stock oars aren’t long enough for the raft’s width: they only measure 4.5 feet long, even though the width of the Mariner 4 would justify 6.5- 7 feet oars.
If you try out the Mariner 4 and experience a challenge wielding the oars, I suggest that you acquire a better set in the rage of 6-7 feet like this one. Or get yourself a trolling motor.
The Mariner also has built-in strong plastic oar locks that have been welded to the top tubes on the boat. There’s a small plastic arm that folds out to provide you with an oarlock that can rotate all the way around. This ingenious design allows a rower to navigate the boat without the hassle of a different metal rowing frame.
The stock oarlocks make rowing this boat feel quite good, and is nice for relaxed rowing on calm ponds and lakes.
Note that the stock oars lack the power to take on whitewater or withstand determined rowing for long periods.
Another great feature on the Mariner family of inflatable rafts is the inflatable keel which you won’t easily find on other similarly priced boats.
The keel sits under the hard slatted floor and a gap in the floor gives you access to the keel’s inflation valve. Inflating the boat causes the bottom of the craft to move outwards, allowing the keel to extend 6-8 inches lower at the bottom.
But what is the keel good for?
The keel provides great assistance with tracking the rafts so that it is significantly easier to maintain a straight line motion of the boat when it has been inflated. It is especially useful when used with a trolling motor.
The keel also has a rock guard layer to protect the bottom of your boat.
This beautiful, spacious, and highly comfortable inflatable boat is roomy enough to carry four people for a tight squeeze or a pair of adults, cooler, and tackle box.
It features three distinct rectangular seats that have the same size. These are very comfortable to sit in and can be taken out of the boat to create more space.
Transportation and storage
The Mariner size has a decent size but you’ll be surprised just how easy you can carry it to the water and back.
To start with, the all-round grab line on the boat allows for easy hoisting and carrying, in addition to creating an element of safety for swimmers. There is also a pair of strong grab handles that are located on the opposite ends of the boat to further simplify transporting the boat.
It will only take you 10 minutes to fully inflate the boat using a manual pump that has been fitted on the boat. Whenever you are done using the boat, you can simply deflate and roll it up so that it is small enough for comfortable storage in the hall closet.
Here are the more important specs of the Mariner 4.
|Capacity||3-4 people or 880 lbs (400 kg)|
|Size||129″ L x 69″ W x 19″ H|
|Accessories||3 inflatable seats, duffel bag, repair patch, gear pouch, battery pouch 2 oars, U.S. Coast Guard I.D.|
|Features||2 oar locks|
|roll-up hard floor|
|2 fishing rod holders|
Now let’s look at the other aspects of the boat.
Who is the Mariner best for?
The Mariner 4 represents the high-end of inflatable rafts. Thanks to the mountable trolling motor and the boat’s overall durability and design, it is great for a number of uses.
If you want a day out on the water with your family and friends, you’ll have enough room for 2 adults and 2 kids. The all-around grab lines make swimming in the water safer for kids, but remember to put on the life vests.
Hobby fisherman can make great use of the Mariner 4 as well. The roll-up floor allows you to stand up and cast in the boat, without having to build a hard floor.
Intex Mariner 4 modifications
The Mariner 4 offers many modding possibilities.
If you are looking to spend some quality and relaxed day on the water, there’s no better choice than the Intex Mariner 4 paired with a trolling motor. This small motor will effortlessly attach to the boat’s motor mount so that you don’t have to struggle with the rowing.
You will need:
- Intex motor mount
- Trolling motor
- Optional battery box
If you are considering a trolling motor, I discuss optimal motor & battery choices for Intex rafts in this article.
Check out how fast this puppy flies with a 50 lb thrust trolling motor.
Adding a canopy (bimini) to the Mariner is a fairly simple mod. If you plan on being out during sunny days often, you should consider installing one.
Here is a guide on installing a canopy.
Hard floor, swivel chairs, supply box
The ultimate fisherman’s mod is the hard floor + swivel chair combo. You can also build a supply box, where you can put your bat and tackle, life vests, or anything else.
If you are thinking about building a hard floor like this for your Mariner, check out this article on how to build a hard floor for your boat.
Mariner 3 vs 4
The Intex Mariner 3 is a smaller version of the Mariner 4. All of the features of the 2 boats are the same.
Here is a detailed comparison of the Mariner 3 and 4. You can see the size difference between the boats on the images below. The Mariner 3 comes with a roll-up slat floor just like the Mariner 4. The image of the 3 below is of the older model, which had a pump-up floor.
|Mariner 3||Mariner 4|
|Capacity||3 people – 660 lbs||4 people – 880 lbs|
|Size||117″ x 62″||129″ x 69″|
|Vinyl||3 layer heavy duty PVC||3 layer heavy duty PVC|
So how is the Mariner 3 different from the Mariner 4?
- It is a little cheaper than the bigger model.
- It is 3 person boat, but having more than 2 adults in the boat will be cramped.
- It is shorter by 12 inches, and narrower by 7 inches.
- It has 2 (front and rear) seats, while the Mariner 4 has 3.
The boat is basically a smaller version of the bigger Mariner 4. All other features were left untouched by Intex.
The manufacturer – Intex
The company that makes the Mariner inflatable raft is Intex. It was founded in 1997, and is based out of California. During the years, it has grown to sell its products in over 100 countries.
Intex manufactures many types of inflatable products, from air beds to pools to toys to boats.
It’s good to know that they do provide support for their products, unlike far-eastern “brands”. You can buy replacements part directly on their site. So remember, if you ever lose the Boston valve cover, you can order replacements from Intex directly.
You might find these links useful if you are considering a Mariner boat, or have one already:
Opinion of the Mariner 4
The Mariner 4 provides you with a strong and long-lasting inflatable choice of an inflatable boat that you can acquire at a decent cost. You get the best value for your money out of all inflatable rafts or budget fishing rafts out there.
This boat is actually my number 1 pick on my list of the best inflatable boats of 2020.
The Intex Mariner 4 I have has performed impressively when put through a number of trials. It showed no signs of damage when we scrapped it against some small rocks with no scratches on the keel. Thanks to its inflatable keel and strong floor, the Mariner will save you handling problems. And fitting it with an engine ensures that handling it gets even easier when you are tired from continuous rowing.
Although you shouldn’t expect the Mariner 4 to offer the same performance as commercial-grade rough water rafts retailing at thousands of dollars, the Mariner still offers incredible value. The 900-pound capacity allows you to bring along a pal or two, a cooler, and fishing gear on a fun day of boating in the lake. The hard slatted floor also offers impressive stability that allows you to stand on your feet, walk about, and even cast your fishing line from a standing position.
Intex Mariner 4 opinion
The Mariner 4 is a unique SIB in many ways. It is the only one that comes with a hard floor to make it more stable, as well as an inflatable keel to improve maneuverability. If you’re looking for a top-notch boat that can handle pretty much anything, you’ve found it.