Inflatable Boater is reader-supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more
The Newport Vessels Catalina inflatable sport tender is a heavy hauler: 12 feet of stability with an impressive 1600 pound payload. If you’re in the market for an inflatable dingy or tender, the Catalina is a category killer that should definitely be on your radar.
The Newport Vessels Catalina is capable of carrying up to six people, and it utilizes an ultra-durable triple-ply PVC material. The boat is easily deflated and stores neatly into a convenient duffel bag when you are done.
A category C craft designed for voyages in coastal waters, the Catalina can handle gale force 6 with 2 meter waves. With the gigantic 1600lb payload, you’ll be able to carry pretty much anything you want.
In our Newport Vessels Catalina review, we’ll be looking at the features and specs that make this such an outstanding inflatable sport tender, some of what is involved in the production process, how it compares with the competition, what is included with the boat, and more.
Newport Vessels Catalina Review: Materials Used
The Newport Vessels Catalina is made out of triple-layered, 1,100 denier PVC—the exact same stuff used for high quality white-water rafts. Newport’s founder knew when he started the company over a decade ago that buying low-quality goods from sketchy manufactures is not sound judgement.
Newport Vessels uses only the highest grade PVC for their inflatable boats. The Catalina’s fabric is made by one of the world’s most reputable producers, and it ensures protection against corrosion, sun, salt, and all destructive elements.
The Catalina’s quality measures don’t stop with the best PVC material, and the company turns to who else but the Germans for ultra-high-end adhesives. These German adhesives are formulated to avoid delamination, adhesion breakdowns, and chemical corrosion damage. Yes, it is more expensive, but if you were making a boat, wouldn’t you use the best products? Personally, my dinghy needs to stay together when I’m on the water.
The Catalina has been ploughed into docks, ground onto rocks, and smashed into trees limbs (Newport doesn’t encourage this), without worry. Is three ply PVC worth it? You bet, and even though some might say that it’s overkill, you’ll sleep better at night with it.
It’s also nice to know that in the event that there was a problem with one of the body’s chambers, the Catalina has three others to keep you above water.
It’s refreshing to see a company dedicated to quality and not just the quick buck. The guys at Newport Vessels are trying to rewrite the codebook for quality control of inflatables. The production process of the Catalina includes multi-stage pressure testing, glue adhesion tests, temperature tests, seam and component stress tests, a 48-hour inflation pressure test, and more.
For the valves, the Catalina utilizes Halkey-Roberts valve systems—a simple and rugged one-way valve system that makes for easy inflation. The inner valve design allows air to flow into the hull but not out, and the outer valve cap seals off completely. Pressing the plastic stem on the inner valve allows the boat to be easily deflated. Just push in and turn to release the air.
With all that durability, one knock against the Catalina is its weight. It does make the boat heavy out of the water. At 165 lbs., you are going to need a friend to carry it. You might even find it best to use a dolly or cart. And as with all PVC boats, you may need to occasionally repair small leaks to the Catalina if the boat has hit a nail or a piece of sharp metal. Users report this being a straightforward matter. A little soapy water to find and mark the leak, then a patch with the provided epoxy.
Newport Vessels Catalina Rating
- Customer Service
Dimensions and Specs
|NUMBER OF CHAMBERS
|4 (1 keel, 3 tube)
|RECOMMENDED KEEL PRESSURE
|RECOMMENDED TUBE PRESSURE
|Aluminum framed marine wood
|MAX MOTOR POWER
|1,100 Denier PVC (Korean)
Setting Up the Catalina – VIDEO
If you are a bit lacking in the patience department, like me, you want an inflatable that is easy to set up. Hello Catalina!
The Catalina only takes about 15 minutes to fully assemble, and less than 10 minutes to pack it away. Unpack it from its carrying case and lay it out. Inflate the chambers to about 40%, and insert the floorboards. The floorboard pieces come conveniently numbered for correct and quick installation. Installing the stringers on the side of the floorboards transforms the floor into a single, solid unit. Attach the bench seat, fully inflate the boat and rigid keel, and off you go.
It’s that easy. The oars attach to the boat with thole pins and a locking mechanism so you won’t lose them when paddling.
Inflatables with a solid-panel floor can typically handle a larger outboard engine and can plane. The solid panels of the Catalina are made out of a 24mm thick aluminum-framed, hard marine coated plywood.
We all know what it’s like being in a dinghy with a soft floor, it’s unnerving. A solid floor allows you to, well, be solid. And this solid floor means a larger motor.
Newport sells its own brand of trolling motors, so you don’t need to worry about getting the right fit for your Catalina or other installation issues. They have a wide range of both fresh water and saltwater electric trolling motors from 32lbs through to 86lbs. A 20hp motor can get the Catalina to speeds of 26 mph. The high-pressure inflatable keel allows the vessel to comfortably bank and turn at speed.
What Comes with it?
Unlike some other brands, the Newport Vessels Catalina comes with all the necessary accessories: a bench seat, a set of oars, a foot pump, a carrying and storage bag, a repair kit, and DMV registration.
Newport Vessels has also designed an optional cover for the Catalina to block direct exposure to sunlight. This canopy is easily installed.
Each Catalina comes with unique and original Hull ID/HIN numbers. The boat also comes with DMV registration, where most of the paperwork has been taken care of (saving you loads of time).
Lastly, the Newport Vessels Catalina is backed by a 2 year warranty against manufacturer defects.
Newport Vessels Catalina Pricing
So how can Newport offer such an impressive vessel at about half the price of their competitors? Simple: they cut out the middlemen.
In order to make a high quality boat affordable to the public, Newport Vessels sells their boats direct from their San Francisco warehouse to your doorstep. By cutting out the middle man, they are able to sell their products at a lower price point than their competitors, and yes, they ship to Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada.
Overall, we give the Newport Vessels Catalina two big thumbs up.
This inflatable boat is designed for professional use, but Newport sells it at a price that is within most people’s price range. With the tough 3-ply construction and 1600 pound payload, this boat will do whatever you need. Whether you are out on patrol or doing some diving, you will get a lifetime of enjoyment out of this boat.