Last article update: October 6th, 2021 (09:20 pm)
Sea Eagle 12.6SR Opinion
The 12.6SR comes with a fairly large cockpit, good lugging space, and myriad options and features that render it both work and recreation-friendly. It is exceptionally light-weight, so if you’re looking for a 6-person boat for the family that is exceptionally safe, you may have found it.
The Sea Eagle 12.6 Sports Runabout is a medium-sized, premium inflatable dinghy. Sea Eagle products have always been known for their rugged, confidence-inspiring builds. Whether you use the boat extensively or pull it out once a week or month, the 12.6SR should keep chugging regardless.
I had the opportunity to test the air floor version of the boat for the better part of a day in Fl, and have been wanting to put my thoughts to “paper” ever since to help others considering the boat.
Let’s learn more about the Runabout to find out if it’s right for you in my review of the Sea Eagle 126sr.
Features of the 126sr
Sea Eagle has been in the business of making kayaks, inflatable boats, and paddle boards since 1968. And it has been churning out motorboats under the Sport Runabout series starting 1997.
The company’s products are pretty much synonymous with excellent performance and durability, and the 12.6SR lives up to its maker’s high standards. The only negative is that this premium quality is reflected in their pricing as well.
Performance and Handling
The Sea Eagle 12.6SR is a solid performer in the water. You can put a max 25 HP engine on it. It may sound light on paper if you’re used to traditional boats, but it’s more than capable of powering the 126sr.
Offering top speeds touching the 25 mph mark, it doesn’t take too long to realize that this runabout can make some serious moves.
The boat is not just fast, but it also boasts excellent handling. The naturally stable hull serves as a solid platform for different kinds of water-based activities. You can easily stand up in the boat, so it is suitable for fishing as well.
The patented keel is unique to this boat, and I have to say it performs better than the standard V keel used on most other boats. The keel on the 126sr ensures the boat doesn’t feel even a tad unstable when making sharp turns, particularly in rough water. This nippiness comes in helpful while docking or moving around in a busy harbor.
The bow buoyancy is also impressive, which helps the boat easily glide over waves and not endure them. This helps decrease drag and increase the speed further.
Planing was very easy with the SE 126sr, as you can see in the video below.
The 12.6SR is not one of my favorite boats in terms of styling. It is very minimalist to my eyes, but you may have a different opinion.
The rounded, large rear tubes dominate the hull, they make sure the runabout reaches its plane in no time.
You get a couple of flooring options with the boat. You can either choose to have:
- An inflatable, rigid drop stitch air floor,
- Or you may opt for the optional floorboard made of rigid molded plastic.
The inflatable floor is lighter, easier to set up, far more portable, and also more fuel-efficient. The plastic floorboard, on the other hand, is virtually unbreakable.
Built Like a Tank
The 12.6SR’s hull is made of 1100 Decitex bolstered material, which is a tough fabric Sea Eagle incorporates in all of its sporty runabouts. The reinforced material has been put through trademark Sea Eagle durability tests, including repeated claw hammer blows.
Also, there are tough three-inch rubber strakes offering the susceptible lower keel and hull some added protection. Most importantly, the fabric used is said to be sun and salt-resistant, which ensures the boat doesn’t fade or wear out within months of use. I didn’t have a chance to test this over the course of years, but I would still keep it out of the sun when not in use.
The majority of the 12.6SR hull parts are glued overlapped 4x to offer superior adhesion.
Most importantly, it’s NMMA-certified. NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) is basically a trade association that keeps its members abreast of boating industry trends and standards and ensures boat manufacturers registered with the association conform to the trade group’s standards.
When a boat is NMMA-certified, it means NMMA representatives supervised and oversaw the boat building process at different stages to ascertain the boat was made to a high level of safety and quality.
The 12.6SR’s hull has four inflated chambers as standard, which ensures no tear or puncture would result in the boat losing its stance or capsizing. The chambers are:
If you opt for the air floor model, that would be the 5th chamber, equaling ultimate buoyancy on the water.
The recessed Halkey-Roberts valves provide effective and snag-free inflation.
The side-running grab lines offer added security to the occupants, but for some reason, the front of the 126sr does not have grab lines.
Portable and Storage-Friendly
When deflated, the hull of the 12.6SR weighs only 43 kg. This becomes 53 kg with the inflatable floor, and increases to 68 kg if you opt for the plastic floorboards.
The air floor model is very portable. In fact, it is the lightest sports dinghy on the market in this size category.
It folds down so that you could easily carry it around during camping, yachting, or in your RV. You’ll not have any trouble stowing this boat even if the storage space available is limited.
The boat can be inflated and assembled in 20 minutes (with the air floor), which ensures you have an inflatable handy at all times. This also means you need not put up with trailers anymore. The hard floor model is said to take 30 minutes to set up, just FYI.
Here is how to assemble the plastic floor version of the SE 126SR.
The product package comprises the 12.6SR hull, along with its carrying bag. Other items/accessories bundled in include:
- set of collapsible oars
- 1 aluminum bench, which comes in handy while motoring or rowing
- high-quality storage bag (that can be kept inside the prow or the pointed front portion of the boat)
- repair kit
- A41 foot pump
When not needed, the oars neatly fold onto the hull. When needed, you can pop out the oars by sliding the innovative retracting oarlocks.
There are lots of variations to the boat, you can have a look at each on the Sea Eagle 126sr page.
Here is the instruction manual to the boat if you are interested in the specifics.
Sea Eagle gives a 3-year warranty on all of its boats. It is not the longest in the industry (which is 5 years), but it is very good.
Boats with longer warranty cost significantly more.
Who is the Sea Eagle 126sr for?
As mentioned before, the Sea Eagle 12.6SR is spacious and designed to last. It’s, therefore, best suited for people who need a roomy inflatable dinghy. It can carry a maximum of 6 passengers (3 adults and 3 kids) comfortably.
Since it’s lightweight, portable and durable, I would very much recommend it to recreational users, families, campers, RV owners.
Sea Eagle 12.6sr specifications
|Dimensions||380 cm x 165 cm x 46 cm|
|Weight||43 kg (+ 10 kg air floor, or +25 kg plastic floorboards)|
|Air chambers||4 (plus air floor)|
|Vinyl||1100 Decitex Reinforced PVC|
What SE 126SR users say
The majority of people who have bought and used the 12.6SR have highly appreciated its build quality and spaciousness.
On the flip side of things, the good amount of room feels a bit too much space for people who predominantly motorboat all by themselves. Other than that, there are no other real complaints.
The Manufacturer – Sea Eagle
Sea Eagle has been in business since 1968. It is family owned and operated from Long Island, USA.
I have only heard good things about the company. People rave about their customer service, and about how helpful they are both via email and on the phone.
This is not a Chinese manufacturer, that’s for sure…
Opinion of the Sea Eagle 126 SR
Sea Eagle makes some of the most solid and well-designed inflatable boats. With the 12.6SR, the company has another winner on its hands. As a sign of quality and the confidence it has in its products, Sea Eagle offers a three-year warranty and 180-day return policy.
With good performance, great quality, and excellent safety features, the 12.6 SR is a must-buy if you are out on the market for a reliable runabout.
The negative? Price. Sea Eagle commands a price premium over the similar offerings of its competitors.
Sea Eagle 12.6 SR
One of the best dinghies in 2023
The 12.6 Sports Runabout is one of Sea Eagle’s best products. It is probably the best dinghy in its class actually. Spacious, feature rich, stable. If this is what you are seeking, you found it.
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2 thoughts on “Sea Eagle 12’6″ Sport Runabout Review – Pros and Cons”
Actually, they are manufactured in China, as are almost all small inflatables. Even some Zodiacs are made in China. That being said, I have a Sea Eagle 10.6 with a 25hp Suzuki and it is a fantastic boat. Great customer service as well. Thanks for the review.
I’m sorry, I see why what I wrote could be misunderstood. I meant to imply that Sea Eagle is not a Far-East company pushing low-quality products that should be labeled industrial garbage. They are based in the US, and even though their boats are made in China, they are very high-quality.