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3. Built for Fun

What You Need to Know About Tenders

By Jason Y. Wood

Some tenders are suited to ferrying guests and gear, but if you buy a small boat designed for recreation, you may find yourself using it more. While owners of larger yachts have the space and resources to create the ultimate tender, the rest of us can learn from their choices. Take the case of the custom McMullen & Wing tender on the 78-meter Lürssen TV, a yacht prepared to host scuba-diving guests. “It’s just a wide, solid dive platform,” says TV’s Capt. Chris Kennedy. “Because it’s aluminum, I think it is a bit heavier but it actually works in our favor because a lot of the newer fiberglass boats are using S-glass or carbon fiber, and they’re actually too light—they bob around a bit too much if there’s any sort of swell.” The boat’s console is slightly forward of center to allow more space for guests and gear, while a wide beam means the inboard engine boxes aft are spaced widely enough to walk between them—key for diving. While custom-built tenders should have plenty of features, the point is that you have needs that should be taken into account when looking at upgrading your tender. If you enjoy fishing or tubing, it just makes sense to get a tender that helps you have fun, rather than hindering you.

Other design elements can make a tender more user-friendly on excursions. Swimmers will appreciate the latest design from Rendova Boats, which features a swing-down door in the bow equipped with a telescoping, stainless steel ladder to keep kicking legs as far as possible from the outboard. The design should also allow shorebound guests to step directly onto dry sand.

Another option for beachgoers looking to make a grand entrance is the SeaLegs 7.1m RIB ($99,000), which deploys wheels powered by hydraulic motors that allow it to drive onto a beach or launch ramp and reach speeds of up to 7 mph on land. All beach-bound cruisers should be sure to know local regulations regarding boats and beach vehicles before attempting to make landfall in a way that will draw a great deal of attention.

Click here to view our Photo Gallery of Tender Choices