We bought ourselves a new dingy. Hurray for us. I found a great deal on a Zodiac Zoom 310s at Defender during their annual warehouse sale which we could not pass up. So about a week later our friendly UPS driver rolls up our driveway with a very large and heavy box. Everything looked great. I very carefully opened the box, so as to not cut our new inflatable with the box cutter, and everything looked OK. Fast forward about two months as it is finally warm enough to bring the dingy to our marina for her maiden voyage. But first there is the small matter of assembly. I had read quite a few reviews on the Zoom and about half of them had indicated that it was a great little boat, but putting them together was a bear! So being the uber geek that I am, I read and re-read the manual any number of times until I knew the procedure backwards and forwards.

As long as you follow the directions, as I did, I can see no reason for anyone to have any trouble assembling a Zodiac Zoom 310s. It went together exactly as the instructions indicated. There are directions to sprinkle starch along the crease between the tubes and the floor, which I did liberally. I think this is the key to making this job a easy one. Otherwise you lay the boat out, partially inflate the three chambers, assemble the floorboards as indicated in the directions and finish inflating. Took me an hour with the foot pump and talking to about 12 people about our new dingy from start to launch. I wouldn’t want to do it every weekend, but once or twice a year, no problem.

Zoom 310s Unpacked


Zoom 310s Floorboards


Zoom 310s Inflating


Zoom 310s Floorboards Added

Confessional time, like a knucklehead, in my excitement and haste to launch our new dingy I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Oops! Anyway, here is someone else having a nice ride in their Zoom. I’ll update this post with an actual photo of ours after I get back from the boat this weekend. Probably.

Not my Zodiac Zoom 310s

Alright, here is the updated photo as promised, much better looking crew if I do say so myself.

Our Zoom 310s

We also have chosen to power our new inflatable with an electric trolling motor from Minn-Kota. It is their least powerful model and of course their least expensive model, the Endura 30. It has 30 lbs. of thrust and moves the dingy along quite nicely. As we are only planning on using her for getting to and from other sailboats and a few trips to shore now and again, we think the electric motor should be plenty good for now. I am a little curious to see how well she moves upwind during a blow though. I am sure with the way this summer as progressed so far, I won’t have to wait very long to find out.

So far it has been a great improvement over our last dingy, which was a Walker Bay 8.

(Update) Having had a chance to use it a few times now, I have to say the Zoom 310s is probably one of the best additions to our sailing life we’ve purchased to date. It would be a very close tie between the Zodiac and our new on board charging system, as far as life enhancing purchases go.

(Update 2) We have since added a Mercury 8hp which has made a very nice improvement to the range and conditions in which we can use our inflatable Despite our attempts to be a little more green, the electric motor turned out to be useful in little or no wind. In 10 knots of wind it was all the little electric motor could do to hold it’s course, forget about making any headway. The new Merc has been great so far!