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Portabote Fold-flat Boats

  • portabote_Rescue_uk_09
  • £107.00£3,200.00


Product Description


JULY 2020 – PLEASE PHONE OR EMAIL TO CHECK STOCK BEFORE ORDERING. We currently only have 1x Portabote 8 (Aluminium/Silver colour) in stock UK. We are unlikely to get more this year due to EU/US Trade spat, which means there would be an extra 25% duty on any that we imported now.

Portabotes have four-panel fold-flat hulls with an integral, fold-in transom. Built in the USA – for over 30 years – and with close to 100,000 sold worldwide they are almost certainly the most numerous folding boat ever produced.

As with most of our boats, improved portability and storage is their major feature, but their construction from a special copolymer plastic also makes them virtually indestructible. You can (mis) treat a Portabote like no other boat, folding or not.


portabote, folding boat

There are four models of Portabote. The variable characteristics are listed in the table below, but the common features are:

– All models are approx 4″ (11.4cm) thick when folded, over most of their length, increasing over the last metre or so (aft end) to a maximum of 7″.
– All sizes have a folded width of 24″ (0.61m)
– All models take a short/standard shaft outboard motor. Information on appropriate motor sizes is included

portabote, flood, rescue, fire service

further down page.

The stock situation is currently difficult, as the EU has imposed a “retaliatory tariff” (against US steel/aluminium tariffs) of 25% on many imports from the USA, including unfortunately boats made in the USA. This tariff is not included in the prices above, which are for stock we purchased prior to imposition of the tariff. As of July 2020 we only have Portabote 8 in stock, and don’t think the market will stand a 25% increase. So we don’t know when we’ll import more. What happens after Brexit at end of 2020? If you can tell us that then you can probably use that knowledge to go and buy a Sunseeker instead of a Portabote!

Portabotes are available in the following colours; White (which we’d call cream), Aluminium (silver) and Olive (green).  Please make a note on your order when you check out telling us what colour you would like.  Or give us a call to talk about a customised Portabote, accessories and engine package.

portabote table of specifications

NOTE ON ASSEMBLED SIZES… the “PB8″ is more like 9ft long; the PB10 is actually 10ft 6”; whilst the PB12 and PB14 are approximately the length you’d expect. We’ve decided to stick with the manufacturer’s official names, as if we start selling them under different descriptions to everyone else it will be even more confusing!

Yacht owners tend to specify the 8 or 10 models as tenders, depending mainly on what length they can store on deck. Anglers typically choose between the 10 and 12 – the 10 is easier to launch/assemble/carry on your own, but the 12 has a bit more space when you’re afloat and is just about perfect if there’re two of you.


The Portabote 14 is B-I-G, a bit of a handful on your own (that is when manhandling on land – not a problem once afloat), but easy for two or more.

This latest Alpha 1 Series of Portabotes have various tweaks to the design hull but the main difference is a patented integral folding transom, rather than the removable bolt-in type on previous models, making this series even quicker to put together, and reduces the amount of stuff you need to carry around separately from the hull.


Because Portabotes fold flat, they can be carried on the roof of almost any car – there’s no need for a trailer. And no time spent trying to find an extra space to park your trailer, nor extra parking fees.

The fact that you don’t have to launch from a trailer also frees you to visit waterways that don’t have a slipway – you can slide the boat in over the river bank, and explore or fish where other boats can’t.


Folded up at home you can hang them up – completely out of the way – on the wall of your shed or garage. Compared with a non-folding 14x5ft boat for example, the space saving is huge. Now you can store your boat indoors, without losing all your storage space…

Portabotes are also increasingly popular for use as yacht tenders. The folded package can be strapped to your cabin roof or guardrails/ lifelines – we would put them inside as shown in this photo, rather than outside as seen in some others.



Portabotes are REALLY TOUGH. You can do stuff to them that you couldn’t to any other boat, folding or otherwise… Like drag it over rocks; or drop it from a great height full of concrete (the Japanese Coastguard did); or even take it up Everest as a tool for crossing melted glacier water (the RAF did).

Compared with an inflatable they will take much more abuse – without worries about punctures – and because the hulls are easily driven you won’t need such a large outboard motor, so there is a saving in money and weight there too.

The flexible sides and bottom might seem “wrong” at first, but in fact they are one of Portabote’s best features, because when you hit a wave, or move about in the boat, much of the energy is absorbed by the plastic flexing, rather than tipping. Similarly if you hit something more solid the energy tends to be absorbed into the Porta-Bote’s hull material, rather than cracking/denting (rigid hulls), or puncturing (inflatables).

Another advantage of a Portabote compared to an inflatable “of the same size” (ie length) is that it has a lot more internal space. That’s because nearly half the footprint of an inflatable is its tubes… and with a Portabote you definitely sit inside it, rather than on it – so you feel more comfortable and stay drier.



Their portability, stability, and the fact that they are almost impossible to puncture with hooks etc, makes them very popular with anglers. Some swear by the green boats for fishing, but others champion the white ones… we think it probably depends on the type of fish, and whether they’re biting that day!
Here is a review by a US-based fisherman owner: PB12 fishing review


Porta-Botes will plane more easily than almost any other craft on the market. During a Yachting Monthly Magazine “tender test”, using a 2.5hp outboard motor – and with the same driver each time – the Portabote 8 achieved 11mph, whilst the fastest of the inflatable dinghies only reached 8mph. The only other boats we’re aware of that offer this sort of performance (and maybe a little faster), whilst also folding up, are our own SpearFish efficient inflatables

“I’ve taken the Porta-bote out on my own and got it to plane {with 3hp}, something I never achieved with our old [inflatable] dinghies… We can leave it anywhere, and its indestructability has been a blessing against the harsh concrete and rocks in India. Any liveaboard will know that trying to mend punctures is a challenge, especially in places where spares are not available… major headache removed with Porta-bote.” SAILING TODAY review of the Porta-Bote 10 (July 2012)


We also stock or can get most of the popular Portabote accessories including:

porta-dolly, portabote

– Oars/rowlocks. Custom made, to fit the rowlock sockets supplied on all Portabotes; oars are two-piece (for storage in boat) and float. £107

– Land transport wheels (pictured right) The official name is “Porta-Dolly”. These clip on over the black tubing rails at the top and bottom of the hull, one each side, and the position is infinitely adjustable so that you can achieve a perfect weight balance with or without a motor on the back, and to compensate for any other gear inside the boat. £236

Additional Information


dinghies-sub-category, Row, Paddle, Motor


£2,000 – £3,000, £1,000 – £2,000

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