Newport Vessels inflatable dinghy review

Newport Vessels Inflatable Dinghy Review
  • Features
  • Durability
  • Stability
  • Speed

Newport Vessels inflatable dinghy opinion

Newport Vessels makes good quality, rugged inflatable boats that can be used as a tender, for fishing, or just for fun. Getting it on plane with over 400 lbs was hard, but that is my only complaint. It is PVC, so don’t store it in the sun. Otherwise, it will give you years of service.

In this review of the dinghies made by Newport Vessels, my focus will be on the different specs and features that make them the remarkable inflatable sports tenders they are. I’ll also consider their production process, how they stack up against the competition, as well as what comes with a Newport Vessels sports boat.

I have ridden in several models, and have a definite opinion on the boats. Let’s have a look!

Features of the boat

The various boats Newport Vessels offers differ by size, but are basically the same with regard to durability and construction.

They have 2 lines of boats, one with a high-pressure air floor, and the other with marine plywood hard floor.

Let’s have a look at the features of their boats.


Rugged PVC
Great build quality
The larger ones can go really fast and remain stable
Nice big tubes that are comfortable to sit on
2-year guarantee


The larger ones are a bit heavy for 1 person to handle on land
Hard wood floor could be slightly thicker

Build quality

Newport Vessels Fabric

Newport Vessel inflatable boats feature a triple layer of 1,100 denier PVC in their construction- this is the same material used to make top-grade white-water rafts. While launching the company in 2008, Newport’s founder knew very well that purchasing low-grade products from sketchy producers is not a sound decision.

Newport Vessels strictly employs the highest quality PVC in the manufacture of their inflatable boats. Their fabric assures you of protection against sun, salt, corrosion, and any other destructive elements.

Keep in mind though that they are PVC, so do not store them in direct sunlight. They are coated with a UV resistant material though, and applying 303 UV protectant helps as well.

The quality that each Newport Vessels boat provides doesn’t end with the high-grade PVC material. They make use of ultra-high-end adhesives from Germany. These adhesives have been made in such a way to avoid adhesion breakdowns, chemical corrosion damage, and delamination. It may be expensive, but this is exactly what you expect from an industry-leading product. If you asked me, I’d prefer a dinghy that stays intact when I get on the water with it.

The dinghy I use has been ground onto rocks, plowed into rocks, and pummeled into tree limbs (not that you should do these), with nothing to worry about. The three-ply PVC is all the worthwhile! And as much as some people may feel it’s excessive, at least get to enjoy your sleep at night.

Newport Vessels boats have 4 air chambers altogether. The main tubes, plus the keel. It is reassuring to know that in case of an issue with any of the vessel’s chambers, there are still three more to keep you from capsizing.

Quality testing

Newport Vessels demonstrate their dedication to quality over profit with this boat. The production team at the company is taking the idea of quality control on inflatables to a whole new level.

Each boat’s production process features pressure testing at various stages:

  • temperature tests
  • glue adhesion tests
  • component and seam tests
  • 2-day inflation pressure test


Newport Vessels opted to use the Halkey-Roberts valve systems on their boats, This is a simple yet rugged valve system that allows for simple inflation. The design of the inner valve enables air to get into the hull without coming out, while the external valve closes off completely.

The boat easily deflates when you press the plastic stem in the inner valve. You only need to push it in and turn to free the air. This makes deflation and packing up super quick. In fact, I would never recommend getting a boat without a valve system that makes this possible.


Being a sports boat designed for motorized use, all Newport Vessels boats come with an inflatable keel.

Newport Vessels Bottom

After inflating the keel, the bottom of the boat takes on a V profile, which greatly aids in maneuvering the boat, and keeping straight.

Newport Vessels boats generally offer great handling and are easy to get on plane, which is very important if you are out on open water, where conditions may be choppy.

Warranty on NV boats

Newport Vessels provides a 2-year limited warranty on their inflatable dinghies. This is considered long in the industry. For example, an Intex Mariner has a 90-day warranty.

Here are the details, you might want to read through the limitations:

The most important one is that the warranty does not apply if the boat is damaged due to improper protection against UV light, the Sun. As you might know from my article on inflatable boat materials, PVC is prone to damage from the Sun. You should always keep it out of the sun when not in use, and apply 303 UV protectant every so often.


As I mentioned, NV sells 2 classes of boats. There a lot of common characteristics in the boats, namely:

  • Number of chambers: 3 main + keel
  • PVC material: 1,100 denier PVC
  • Air valves: Halkey Roberts directional locking

And here are the specs unique to the various models.

Newport Vessels air floor dinghy specs

NV makes 3 dinghies with high-pressure air floors. The air floors become very firm when inflated to the recommended pressure of 8.0 PSI, so you can stand on them just like you would a hard floor.

Newport vessels CarmelNV Carmel
Newport vessels SeascapeNV Seascape
Newport vessels Santa CruzNV Santa Cruz
(inside length)
91" (57")111" (77")123" (86")
(inside width)
52" (23")60" (24")60" (24")
Tube diameter14.5"18"18"
Weight70 lbs93 lbs99 lbs
Load capacity850 lbs1067 lbs1124 lbs
Max passengers234
Max engine HP4 HP9.8 HP9.8 HP
Max speed10 MPH20 MPH20 MPH

At 91 inches long, the Carmel model is by far the smallest dinghy that Newport Vessels makes. It is the only one with smaller diameter tubes as well.

Newport Vessels hard floor dinghy specs

NV makes 5 versions of their hard-floor inflatable sports boat. The Catalina has a 5 piece floor, the others have a 4 piece floor. It is made out of marine-grade plywood and comes with stringers to hold the floor together.

The pieces are numbered and must be installed in order.

Newport vessels DanaNV Dana
Newport vessels Del MarNV Del Mar
Newport vessels NewportNV Newport
Newport vessels BajaNV Baja
Newport vessels CatalinaNV Catalina
(inside length)
106" (59")114" (77")127" (91")142" (106")150" (112")
(inside width)
60" (24")60" (24")63" (27")66" (30")66" (30")
Tube diameter18"18"18"18"18"
Weight107 lbs116 lbs132 lbs160 lbs165 lbs
Load capacity1067 lbs1124 lbs1248 lbs1519 lbs1603 lbs
Max passengers34566
Max engine HP9.8 HP9.8 HP15 HP20 HP20 HP
Max speed20 MPH20 MPH20 MPH20 MPH20 MPH

The Catalina is their largest inflatable dinghy, it is a very popular model. I have ridden in it many times, it is very stable even out on the ocean with chop. It is one of the few SIBs that can fit 6 people. The trade-off is that it is heavy, so you will probably want to install launch wheels to make it easier to move around on land.

Newport Vessels boat accessories

In case you are wondering what is included in the package, you get the following:

Newport Vessels Accessories
  • boat
  • carry bag
  • aluminum seat
  • hard floor (either air floor or wood, depending on the model)
  • 2 aluminum oars
  • air pump
  • repair kit

I highly recommend you get a UV resistant boat cover separately, so you don’t have to worry about the harmful effects of the sun on PVC.

Setting up a Newport Vessels dinghy

It will take 10-15 minutes to get a Newport Vessels boat fully assembled, and under 10 minutes to pack it.

Start by unpacking it from its carrying bag then lay it out. Proceed to inflate the chambers to around 40% before inserting the floorboards and seats.

The separate pieces of the hard floor are numbered to make for quick and accurate installation. Once the stringers on the floor’s side have been installed, the floorboards are converted into one solid unit. Of course, if you get an air floor model, you don’t have to play LEGO with the pieces 🙂

Finally, affix the bench seats and fully inflate the boat tubes.

Leave the keel for last, and you’ll be good to go.

The oars also attach to the boat with the help of thole pins and a safe locking mechanism to prevent from coming off while paddling.

Recommended air pressure for Newport Vessels dinghies

Please find the manufacturer-recommended pressure for NV vessels below. When you inflate your boat, these are the exact pressures you are aiming for:

Main tubes3.6 PSI
Keel4.5 PSI
Air floor8.0 PSI

The foot pump provided with the boat does not allow for overinflation.

If you are looking for a more convenient electric pump, these are my recommendations.

Registering a Newport Vessels boat

If you need to register your boat, the company has made it easy.

Each NV vessel features a unique Hull ID/HIN number, as comes included with DMV registration papers, with most of the paperwork having been taken care of.

You can also request registration documents on this page.

To find out if you need to register the boat in your state, check this article.

The manufacturer – Newport Vessels

Newport Vessels is a company based out of California. It was established in 2008 with the aim of selling high-quality watersports products directly to the consumer at an attractive price, by cutting out the distributor and the retailer.

Newport Vessels Logo

The company makes inflatable boats, trolling motors, and SUPs. They provide good support for their products, as well as spare parts in case you need them.

The guarantee period on Newport Vessels boats is 2 years.


You might find these links useful if you are considering an NV SIB, or have one already:

Opinion on NV inflatable boats

All things considered, Newport Vessels dinghies get a seal of approval from me. In fact, they made my list of 2024‘s best inflatable boats.

Their inflatable boats are made for professionals, although they have a price tag that most people can afford. The sturdy three-ply build and huge payload ensure that the boat will perform to your expectations.

Depending on your preference, you can opt for a hard-floor model or a high-pressure air floor. I have an article describing the pros and cons of each here. I personally prefer air-floors, since they are lighter and easier to set up. But if you need to mount things onto the floor (fish finder, swivel seat, etc.), you will obviously need a hard floor.

Whether you go out diving, fishing, or just decide to cruise, you can expect years of fun from a Newport Vessels boat. Perhaps a lifetime, if you take care of it.

Are you new to the world of inflatable boats? Then my Getting Started Guide is for you. You’ll find tips, tricks, and how-to articles to start off right.

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