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Finding the Right Tender for Your Boat


Top 10 Tenders

By Chris Caswell

Whether you do your boating on a big-time sportfisherman or a pocket cruiser, boaters typically have two things in common, a love of the water and use for a solid, reliable tender. We scoured the boat shows across the country in search of the best new tenders.

The challenge when assessing yacht tenders isn’t always just what the tenders have to offer, it’s the yachts themselves. Yachts come in all sizes and shapes, and that is what usually determines your tender of choice.

Sportfishermen can carry large tenders on their long foredecks, many Euro-style yachts have garages to tuck away mini-tenders, some yachts put them on hydraulic swim platforms while others hoist the tender to the upper deck, and more than a few yachts choose to tow larger tenders.

Even the planned use of the tender can dictate a size and style, with some serving simply as waterborne taxis to carry guests to and from shore, while others are pressed into service for waterskiing, towing tubes, fishing, or diving.

What we’ve assembled here is a new and interesting mélange of tenders: big ones, small ones, and lots of in-betweens. All of these designs have features you should take into consideration when choosing your next tender. We have one that can cruise on land, jet-powered tenders with the safety benefit of not having propellers, compact tenders to fit into yacht garages, and we even have a towable center console.

When choosing your tender, you’ll need to balance your needs against the size tender you can comfortably manage aboard your yacht. You won’t regret buying the largest tender that fits your budget and your yacht. Then it comes down to the details of choosing the engine size, the various options, and don’t forget that many tenders can match the color of your yacht. It’s a new world of tenders.

Walker Bay Gen 450

Walker Bay Gen 450

The “gen” in the name of this deluxe tender reflects a new generation of Walker Bay tenders, and the 14-foot 9-inch sport boat has been updated and upgraded in a number of ways, including a new look, thicker fabric, a wider rear bench seat, and better leg room beneath the console. Designed to be stylish and offer high performance, the Gen 450 has room on the dashboard for GPS/chartplotter displays behind the smoked windshield, and the high-back seat has rounded sides for support on sharp turns. The L-shaped bow seating is large enough for three people and doubles as a sunpad with dual-layer foam cushioning. Two generous stowage compartments in the bow and under-seat stowage are augmented by a push-button hydraulic hatch in the stern to free the Gen 450 of clutter. With the fuel tank forward, this Walker Bay runs flat and, with a 60-horsepower outboard, tops out at better than 30 knots

Walker Bay, 888-315-1410;