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There are a lot of options these days for inflatable boats? Boats sold for cheap on Ebay, Amazon, Wal-Mart, and many other retail sites. There are a lot of new brands out there, as well as old, well established brands.
It is not a secret that we all want to save money but, we all want to get the best deal at the lowest price. It is also not a secret that most of inflatable boats sold now in The United States are manufactured in China. There is absolutely nothing wrong with an inflatable boat made in China, as quality of their manufacturing has improved over the years. However, few points are important to consider. While Chinese workmanship is getting better, there are a lot of new factories popping out in China every day. Since most inflatable boats are hand glued, using so called “chemical cold welding process”, it is not as simple as just slapping glue and joining two seams together. In fact, it is an art. There are a lot of details that come in consideration when assembling an inflatable boat piece by piece, which many Chinese factories are either simply ignoring, don’t have enough experience, or simply want to make as many boats as quickly as possible at the lowest price in order to compete.
Shortcuts always lead to boat failure in very short terms. For example, in order for chemical glue to hold longer, it is important that glue application is made in a low humidity environment. That means air conditioners must be installed inside assembly rooms. And since these rooms are usually pretty large, not many factories bother to do so. Plus, humidity detail doesn’t manifest itself until 2-3 years after boat was purchased. So, they simply don’t care what happens in few years. Now, Saturn boats are only assembled in a low humidity controlled environment, in order to extend boat lifespan. In fact, production stops during July/August of rainy season back in Asia, while many other factories keep stamping boats out nonstop.
Another detail to consider is an experience of stuff that assembles inflatable boats piece by piece. It takes years of experience to understand exactly how glue need to be applied to seams and how it need to be heated to activate glue. Too much glue, and seam will fall apart in few years, too little glue and seam will not hold. Too long heat application with a heat gun, and glue will fry, too short, and seam will fall apart. In fact, best inflatable boats can only be made by women hands. All stuff on our assembly factories are only women. That is because, women pays more attention to details than men. That is how it is.
Now, another important detail that many Chinese factories simply don’t have, is experience with attaching secondary accessories. If you look close at Saturn inflatable boats, you will see that we no longer use plastic handles, plastic rope holders, or any other plastic accessories, because as it appears, bond glue between PVC to PVC is much more reliable than glue bond between PVC to plastic. But, all of these Chinese boats sold for cheap online, use plastic handles that will fall off in 1-2 years, and many have plastic rope holders, that are also not destined to stay there for a long time.
The Saturn “Budget” less expensive boat line, is manufactured in China, while regular Saturn boats are made in South Korea. Factory in China does have South Korean management that stays on top of all details, which is important to detail. But, all Saturn boats are made from South Korean PVC fabric and South Korean drop stitch fabric. We can offer lowest prices for these materials, simply because our South Korean partner also happens to be manufacturer of these same PVC fabric and drop stitch. The rest of Chinese suppliers either use inferior Chinese PVC, or buy Korean PVC from our boating factory supplier.
Because Saturn boats are made from premium South Korean materials, instead of somewhat less reliable Chinese PVC fabric, that is why Saturn can offer up to 5 years warranty, as oppose to a 1 or 2 years warranty offered by most other brands of less expensive boats sold on Ebay, Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc.
Inflatable boats are not cheap, usually around $500 and up. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the company that sold you that expensive piece of equipment will still be around for several years later when you will need support or parts to replace. All too often we have customers of other brand boats contacting us asking if we have parts for their boats sold by manufacturers that are now defunct and nowhere to be found. There is no guarantee that when you buy bottom rock priced boat on Ebay or Amazon, the same company will be around 2-4 years later. Maybe, or maybe not.
Saturn started selling inflatable boats in 2004, and we have been around for some time. We are not going anywhere. Saturn is not here for a quick buck, but to make boating more affordable. That is why Saturn can offer quality boats at affordable prices, while still offering up to 5 years warranty.