Portland Pudgy safety boat, life boat The Safety Dinghy, FAQs

Basic Specifications

Stability, Safety , and Ruggedness

Rowing Position and Ergonomics

Motor Size and Capacity

Dinghy Towing




Self Draining, Maintenance

Roominess and Storage

Versatility and Safety (Family Boat)

Pudgy or Standard Dinghy

Portland Pudgy or Inflatable Boat

Portland Pudgy or Inflatable Life raft

Fishing Boat, Hunting Boat, Work Boat


Components and Accessories

Ordering a Portland Pudgy

Other pages ( Home, Detailed Specs, other functions, and more)

Portland Pudgy rowboat, motorboat, yacht tender

Basic Specs

LOA: 7’ 8”. Width: 4’ 4”.  Height: 2’ 4”. Weight: 128 lb.

Capacity: USCG-approved, 557 lb  (motor, passengers, and gear). 4 person, 2HP. (This is greater than most 10' boats.)

Click here for dimensional drawings of the Portland Pudgy rowboat.

Material: Double hull of rotation-molded, rugged polyethylene. Closed cell foam under floor.
Click here for detailed specifications and information about rowboat materials and construction.

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My old dinghy is tippy, and feels flimsy. What about the Pudgy?

"It is a real workboat built for real world conditions. It is incredibly stable. We wouldn't use any other. In the sailing we do a dingy can mean the difference between life or death, and this isn't in reference to the lifeboat abilities of the pudgy just its stability and durability.” 
Rolland T., MI

The Portland Pudgy is extremely rugged, safe, and trustworthy, even in its simple capacity as a rowboat, motorboat, and yacht tender. Unlike inflatable boats, it is unsinkable and tough, and rows and tows beautifully. It is incredibly stable. 

A stable motorboat or rowboat.

The Pudgy is made of rugged polyethylene, which is intrinsically buoyant, and the space under the floor is filled with closed-cell foam. (See Detailed Specifications.) The European Union's consumer protection agency did a drop test of the Portland Pudgy, in which they filled the dinghy's cockpit with one thousand pounds of rock, and dropped into the water from eight feet! The Pudgy just bounced up, didn't ship water at all, and had plenty of freeboard. No harm done!  Top of page

I'm stuck with the same rowing position in my old dinghy. Does the Portland Pudgy address this?

Unlike inflatable boats, the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy rows beautifully. It has two sets of oarlocks and an adjustable middle seat (for two rowing positons).

"My wife and I are very pleased with the Pudgy. With the center seat that flips forward to shift my weight, we can row with my wife in the aft seat without the transom deep in the water and the boat trimmed nicely."
Rob L., RI

Every detail of the Portland Pudgy is carefully thought out and executed, including the built-in compass, the placement of the tow-eyes and shape of the triangulated bridle, the grab-line placement, the textured gunwales and floor, the drainage gutters and drain-plug, and much more.

"The trim little vessel…has pleasing lines and is as carefully engineered as any high-end, oceangoing yacht."  
Adrift No More, a Lifeboat that Sails,
Twain Braden, 
Ocean Navigator

Please see Detailed Specifications for information and photos showing the top quality engineering details and careful workmanship that  go into every Portland Pudgy safety dinghy rowboat. 

The Portland Pudgy was also designed with comfort and stability in mind in its function as a proactive lifeboat (for more information, see Proactive Lifeboat). Top of page

How many people can the Pudgy carry and with what size motor?

Portland Pudgy motorboat, yacht tender. Alternative to inflatable boats.

The USCG limits all dinghies under 8 feet to a 2HP motor (which moves the Pudgy along very well). The dinghy complies with US Coast Guard safety standards as follows:

  ● With no motor: 4 persons or 557 lb (persons and gear)

  ● With a 2 HP motor: 4 persons or 557 lb (motor, persons and gear.

A buoyant, roomy motorboat. An alternative to inflatable boats.

"The Pudgy arrived on Friday. Attached is a photo of the happy crew!"

Howard R.,  NS, CA.

Portland Pudgy motorboat, yacht tender. Inflatable boat alternative.

“We continue to have great fun with the Pudgy.” Bob and Sheila K., Butte, MT
(Note that even over-loaded, there's still over ten inches of freeboard.)

For more information, see Detailed Specifications.

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Does the Pudgy tow well?

The Portland Pudgy tows beautifully, incomparably better than an inflatable boat or standard dinghy. Because of its buoyancy, stability, and long skeg, the Pudgy tows with minimal drag and tracks perfectly. The triangulated bridle and the placement of the two stainless steel tow eyes add to the perfect balance.

"I know a little bit about how a Portland Pudgy tows because over the last six months I have pulled the Pudgy about 3100 Nautical Miles. Towing characteristics are important, because even if you have dingy davits you still end up towing your dingy.  

The Portland Pudgy...tows with minimal drag...much less than our plywood or our inflatable dingy.  It doesn't ship water when you tow it, and if it did, it is a self bailing boat when it is empty.
Rolland T., MI  (To read more about this on Rolland's blog, go to SV Precipice.)

For detailed information on towing the Pudgy, carrying it on davits, deck, cabin roof, etc., click here.

How buoyant is the Portland Pudgy?

The Portland Pudgy was tested by the US Coast Guard at 557 lb or buoyancy.  Carrying this load, there's still over ten inches of freeboard.

USCG-approved motorboat and rowboat

In the USCG test it took an incredible 1855 pounds of weight to submerge (not sink) the dinghy (see photo above of Portland Pudgy at USCG testing facility).  Go to Detailed Specifications for more info. Top of page

Is the Portland Pudgy unsinkable?

Unlike inflatable boats, standard dinghies, or dinghies with RID kits, the Pudgy is unsinkable. It is made of polyethylene, which is inherently buoyant, and the area under the floor is filled with closed cell foam. The water-tight storage compartments inside the double hull add buoyancy. In a test, with the hatches deliberately opened and the interior and cockpit flooded, the Pudgy still remained afloat, although submerged to the gunwales. Using the optional pump, we bailed out the interior chambers, and the boat rose up out of the water. We then bailed out the cockpit.  (See Detailed Specifications.) Top of page

What  if the Pudgy capsizes?

"I haven't yet found the winds where capsize seems possible!"  
Bill K., Sausalito, CA

It's difficult to capsize the Pudgy, but if you do, it's very easy to right it, using the handholds in the bottom of the boat. (Note that inflatable boats, if capsized are almost impossible to right from the water.)

It comes up empty of water because of the thick side walls. This can be life-saving, since hypothermia is a leading cause of fatalities in boating accidents. It's very easy to climb back in, using the hand-holds in the middle seat. 

When used as a lifeboat, with the inflated exposure canopy in place, the canopy adds 400-plus pounds of buoyancy. The empty lifeboat is self-righting. With two adults inside, the Pudgy lies partially on its side; the passengers can right the boat by shifting their weight or waiting for wave action to right it. (See Lifeboat FAQs.)

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Is it self-draining? How much maintenance does the Portland Pudgy require?

The Pudgy is low maintenance. It's self-bailing when carrying less than 30 pounds (a real pleasure after a heavy rain). You can tow the Portland Pudgy with the drain plug open, and it stays dry inside.

"When you pull the drain plug, instead of filling up and sinking it drains out completely empty.  This single thing makes the Pudgy 1/10 the chore of owning compared to any other dingy we have had. "
Rolland T., MI

It's easy to clean inside and out. The gutters in the floor run to the drain, so it's easy to wash out the cockpit with a good rinse.

The UV treated polyethylene protects against sun damage.  Top of page

How roomy is the Portland Pudgy?

Because of its beamy pram shape, the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy has as much cockpit area as many 9- or 10-foot dinghies, but takes up less room on deck. The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy's roomy cockpit is 16.1 square feet. In addition, there is loads of additional storage room in the interior compartments in the side walls of the boat.

"I have found that my SR19 could use some more room for stuff when going boat camping.  My solution is to put extra stuff in our Portland Pudgy and tow it behind the Arima."  
Fred F., NY.

The interior hull storage space is accessible through five covered hatches. There's so much interior space that you can stow the entire sail kit inside (see photo below), as well the oars, provisions, and other equipment. This storage space is extremely important if you plan to use the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy as a proactive lifeboat.

The Pudgy is a roomy dinghy and yacht tender, with plenty of storage space.

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Is the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy a good family boat?

"I enjoy sailing the Pudgy around the marina and the kids love to row and fish from it. Whenever we are using it a crowd gathers and I am bombarded with questions. The old salts ask about its stability, weight and design and most everyone asks 'where can we get one'... We love our Portland Pudgy and highly recommend it to anyone.” 
Mike S., CA.

The Portland Pudgy is incredibly versatile, so you can use it as a fun sailboat, a rowboat, and a motor boat. The Pudgy's stability and ease of handling make it the best dinghy for blue water sailors or for kids, a good work deck, and a good platform for diving or fishing. Although designed as a self-rescue dinghy/tender and proactive lifeboat for blue water sailors, it's easy and fun to sail, and rows and motors well. The safety designed in for blue water sailors also makes it the best boat for kids on the market, whether for just "messing around" or learning to sail.

“My grand children can row the Pudgy very well since the seat heights are in the correct relationship with the oar and oarlocks which is critical for a starter. We had a hard time getting them out of the Pudgy when it was time for them to go home!”
George H., Bustard’s Island, ME. (He ended up buying a second Pudgy, so he wouldn’t have to share with his grandchildren!)

To learn more about the optional accessories, including, sail kit, lifeboat accessories, electrical system, rod holders, and more, click here.  Top of page

Why would I want a Portland Pudgy safety dinghy instead a standard dinghy, or a dinghy with an  RID kit?

Here are a few of the things that make the Pudgy superior to standard dinghies and dinghies with RID kits:

● The Portland Pudgy, with a double hull of rugged polyethylene, is extremely durable and can really take a beating.

● The Pudgy is unsinkable (the floor is filled with closed cell foam), buoyant, and very stable. There is no need for an unsightly and expensive RID kit (which needs to be inflated, and can deflate).

● The Pudgy is exceptionally buoyant and has a USCG capacity greater than that of many ten-foot dinghies. Even carrying the maximum allowed capacity of 557 pounds, there are still over ten inches of freeboard.

● The Pudgy is extremely roomy for a dinghy its size. With 16.1 square feet of cockpit area, it is roomier than many nine or ten foot dinghies (this is because of its beamy, pram shape).

●  It has lots of storage space in the cockpit as well as dry interior storage inside the double hull. 

●  The Pudgy is difficult to capsize, but if it does, it's extremely easy to right and it comes up virtually dry.

●  It tracks well, when rowed, towed, or motored, because of the long skeg.

●  It rows beautifully and has two rowing positions (with an adjustable middle seat and two sets of oarlock sockets).

● It moves along nicely with a small motor.

●  It's a fun sailing dinghy.

●  Unlike most dinghies, the Pudgy is self-draining when empty or carrying less than 30 pounds. Not only does this make for easy towing, it's also great after a rain storm. Top of page

Why would I want a Portland Pudgy safety dinghy instead an inflatable boat or RIB?

The Portland Pudgy rowboat, motorboat yacht tender tows exceptionally well, unlike inflatable boats.

"I spent about 500 miles towing my Pudgy. Never flipped over and towed very well. Takes a lot of abuse. A very strong, forgiving dinghy. I have met a lot of people who are tired of the air leaks and did like the Pudgy. It will last me a very long time.”
James V.,  FL

Here are some of the reasons the Pudgy beats RIBs,  inflatable boats, and dinghies with RID kits:

● Unlike inflatable boats and RIBs, the Portland Pudgy cannot deflate and is unsinkable, with a double hull of rugged polyethylene and floor filled with closed cell foam.

● It does not need to inflate and cannot deflate.

●  It is extremely durable and weather resistant.

●  It tracks perfectly when towed.

●  It rows beautifully and has two rowing positions (with an adjustable middle seat and two sets of oarlock sockets).

●  It moves along nicely with a small motor.

●  It's a fun sailing dinghy.

●  The Pudgy is self-draining when empty or carrying less than 35 pounds.

●  It is lighter than most inflatable boats and RIBs.

●  It has lots of dry, interior storage space. 

●  It’s aesthetically pleasing.

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Why would I want a Portland Pudgy safety dinghy instead of an inflatable life raft?

Portland Pudgy proactive lifeboat and self-rescue boat. A serious alternative to inflatable life rafts.

The Portland Pudgy is unsinkable, and its exposure canopy and other survival gear make it a proactive life boat you can sail to safety. For detailed information about the Portland Pudgy proactive lifeboat system, go to Proactive Lifeboat.

"It’s tough, functional, and practical, and if the choice came down to climbing into a traditional life raft or boarding the Pudgy, I know where I’d rather be."
Portland Pudgy, a Tender That Can Save Your Life
, by Peter Nielsen, Editor in Chief.  Sail Magazine, September 2010.

The Portland Pudgy proactive lifeboat is a self-contained unit and integrates with sophisticated safety and survival equipment (including exposure canopy, sea anchor, and sailing kit).  All of the equipment fits inside the double hull of the boat or under the rear seat. We also offer an electrical system, bailing pump, boat covers, and more (see Portland Pudgy Lifeboat Components for more information).  The mast telescopes down and the sail furls around it, and they are stored through the rear access hatch. The exposure canopy and sea anchor also fold up and fit through an interior hatch. The leeboards and the rudder stow neatly under the rear seat. (You can also store oars, ditch bags, food, water, and other equipment in the storage compartments.) 

In addition, unlike an inflatable raft, which you must have tested and repacked periodically (and must trust the competence and reliability of the testers), you can test the Portland Pudgy exposure canopy yourself. Here's a link to a Pudgy owner's blog describing his Pudgy lifeboat test: http://captmurph.com/blog (it's the May 26, 2011 entry).

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Is the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy good for hunting and  fishing?

 “We couldn't be more pleased with the handling, stability and ‘fish-ability’ of our new boat."
Jim L., Huntington Beach, CA

“The best damn bass boat in Arkansas.”
Cecil F., Little Rock, AR

"It is a real workboat built for real world conditions."
Rolland T., MI

For information on the Portland Pudgy uses as a sports fishing boat, duck hunting boat, and workboat (rowboat or motorboat), see Portland Pudgy Fishing and Hunting Boat.

For detailed information on the optional accessories available, see Accessories and Price List.   Top of page


The Portland Pudgy yacht tender and safety dinghy is available in warm white, red, sunset yellow, dark green, and charcoal black.

Please see Detailed Specifications  for more information and photos. Top of page

What comes with the basic boat and what are the optional accessories?

For detailed information on the basic boat components, go to Detailed Specifications.

For detailed information on the optional accessories, go to Portland Pudgy Sailboat and Portland Pudgy Proactive Lifeboat.

Also see Portland Pudgy Prices and Accessories Top of page

Other pages:

Optional Accessories
and Prices
About Us
Ordering Your
Portland Pudgy
Portland Pudgy
Sailing Dinghy
Fishing Boat
Hunting Boat
Portland Pudgy Owners Manual draft

Portland Pudgy, Inc., 200 Anderson St., Portland, ME 04101    207.761.2428 or 207.712.4027 info@portlandpudgy.com