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Shark vs. Inflatable Boats: Do Sharks Attack Inflatable Boats?

Shark vs. Inflatable Boats: Do Sharks Attack Inflatable Boats?

You’ve probably heard some people say, “sharks are more scared of you than you are of them.” This bold statement may seem eye-opening and make you feel brave. However, this confidence goes away when you hear about shark attacks and learn about their gruesome details.

As inflatable boat enthusiasts, we can assure you that reading this article and watching the accompanying video of a shark biting an inflatable boat several times was not fun for us.

Despite some saying that the shark was curious about the boat and exploring it, we need to understand that such incidents are troubling and can be extremely dangerous.

Of course, this does not apply to all sharks. For example, basking sharks are usually harmless to humans since they feed on plankton.

Check out this video of sharks circling a rigid inflatable boat. At first, it may look like cause for concern, but it is simply sharks engaging in what appears to be a courtship ritual.

Drone footage shows amazing encounter with basking sharks off Co Clare coast

Watching and reading about encounters with sharks may fill you with fear. However, we firmly believe that knowledge is power, and we shouldn’t avoid learning about this important issue.

Being informed about the facts can help you manage your fears and take proper safety precautions while being out in the water.

Therefore, we have compiled relevant information and answered common questions that most individuals commonly ask when they hear about sharks encountering inflatable boats.

Read on to find out why sharks bite boats, whether an inflatable boat can be capsized, and more.

Are Sharks Afraid Of Inflatable Boats?

Since sharks have targeted inflatable boats and inner tubes, it’s safe to say that they don’t fear them. Experts have suggested other reasons for shark encounters.

One reason is that many boaters use chum to lure sharks. If this is the case, it’s no wonder that sharks try to attack their prey, and this should be expected.

However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes bait in the water attracts sharks, and they come closer to the boat to investigate whether they want to eat it.

According to Martin Graf, an expert in great white shark expeditions, sharks may believe that the vibrations from engines indicate life.

Because of this, biting inflatables is their way of checking to see if they are food. They also exhibit behavior with outboard engines that cause electrolysis for the same reasons.

Can Sharks Attack Boats?

shark attacks a boat

Unfortunately, yes.

While shark attacks are rare, this does happen from time to time.

In 2010, there were 79 unprovoked shark attacks. Despite this being the most dangerous year for shark attacks in a decade, attacks on boats remained low.

The majority of attacks were on surfers and divers, with only 3% of all attacks accounting for inflatable rafts and inner tube attacks.

Therefore, the chances of this happening are extremely low.

Why Do Sharks Attack Boats?

a shark swims under a boat

Because sharks are scavengers, their food of choice is usually smaller sharks, fish, crustaceans, shells, and sea mammals. Humans aren’t on that list.

However, over-fishing and other environmental problems may compromise sharks’ main diets and lead to them looking for other sources of food.

Those who study sharks have said that research does not show any indication of sharks actively hunting humans. They’re usually cases of mistaken identity, with sharks mistaking human movement for fish.

Attacking boats usually come from engines, with the electric pulses emitted by motors attracting sharks. According to experts, the pulses can be confused for those that marine animals emit.

Can a Shark Bite Through an Inflatable Boat?

While inflatable boats are highly durable, they are no match for a shark.

Sharks have been known to bite through inflatable boats, with one instance leaving an inflatable rescue boat losing air after the attack.

Can a Great White Shark Capsize an Inflatable Boat?

capsized inflatable boat by sharks

Sharks have also been known to headbutt boats, and this can result in the boat capsizing if the shark is strong enough or multiple sharks are attacking the boat.

Once they have bitten through the material and the inflatable boat starts losing air, it becomes very easy for them to continue attacking the boat.

Safety Precautions for Boaters

shark fin above ocean water

To make sure that you don’t have to experience shark attacks, you need to take precautions. Areas where sharks have been seen, coral reefs, river mouths, and murky waters are some places you should look out for.

Another precaution to take is avoiding shiny jewelry and watches since a shark may mistake these for fish scales. Bait should also be kept safe so that sharks aren’t attracted by the smell.

Some have suggested using shark repellents, but these have not been proven to work. We believe that instead of relying on these repellents, you should take the proper precautions and focus on safety measures.


If you’re planning on using an inflatable boat in the ocean, it’s best not to stray too far from the shore. When planning expeditions that go out further, more durable boats should be used.

Check out this article on how far out you can go in an inflatable boat and this one on fishing in inflatable boats for more information.