The Sea Eagle 8 Inflatable Raft (SE 8) is an ideal inflatable fishing boat that also pulls double duty as an excellent recreational river floating raft. The Sea Eagle Inflatable Boat is rated to handle Class III whitewater, has a huge capacity and is incredibly upgradeable - it can even have a motor attached to it.
This page includes our review of the Sea Eagle 8 Inflatable Raft as well as detailed technical information about it.
Technical Information about the Sea Eagle 8 Inflatable Fishing Boat
Sea Eagle 8 Inflatable Fishing Boat : Review
For an inflatable raft, the Sea Eagle 8 is really tough to beat, considering it's very affordable price, upgradeability and quality. An angler who needs a fly fishing boat for both lake and river fishing, and wants to have the ability to add numerous options onto the boat, will be hard pressed to find a better inflatable raft than this one.
Paddling Characteristics and Stability
The Sea Eagle 8 Inflatable raft is incredibly stable. With the optional floorboards (not to be used on rivers, only on lakes), you can actually safely stand up in the raft. And, when not using the floorboards, the flat bottom of the Sea Eagle 8 raft and low profile makes this inflatable raft incredibly stable. I've had some pretty nasty encounters with waves and have yet to even come close to tipping it. This inflatable raft is so stable, in fact, that a person in the boat by themselves can sit on the far edge of the raft without fear of it tipping.
Paddling is pretty straight forward on the Sea Eagle 8 Inflatable raft. Paddling is done with oars. In essence, paddling this inflatable raft is just like paddling a row boat, although you can paddle forward or backwards (not just backwards like with a rowboat). Now, since this inflatable raft is so light, paddling the Sea Eagle 8 is pretty easy. For short paddles, a person can easily maneuver this raft into position or quickly cut across a moving river.
However, this boat is not designed for long distance paddling as it does not have a 'V' hull that cuts through the water or a rowing frame that provides additional paddling power. Because of this, if you plan on doing lots of lake fishing - strongly consider getting a motormount and then attaching a small motor to it. Your arms will thank you.
The Sea Eagle 8 Inflatable Fishing Raft is designed to handle Class III whitewater - and it handles it with ease. Class III whitewater, in case you're not familiar with river ratings, consists of large, standing waves with lots of holes, along with a scattering of rocks in the river to negotiate around. As I've used my Sea Eagle 8 on many Class III rapids, I can attest to the fact that it handles it with ease. Just keep the front of the boat pointed forward and you'll plow right through all the waves without problems (don't hit the waves sideways!).
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the Sea Eagle 8 is not self-bailing. This is good for spending time on lakes or sedate rivers, as the inside of the raft keeps perfectly dry. However, when running rapids, if you happen to hit a wave wrong, water will come into the boat and stay (not drain away). While you don't have to worry about sinking or capsizing due to the massive capacity of this inflatable fishing raft, you'll still want to bail out the raft to get rid of the water. This is simply solved by attaching a milk jug to the raft and then using it to bail out any water that happens to find it's way into the boat. Of course, you can always put ashore and just tip the boat upside down, too.
Durability of the Sea Eagle 8
The Sea Eagle 8 (and other Sea Eagle Inflatable Rafts) are extremely durable. Made of a thick and tough polykrylar material, this raft literally bounces off obstructions. I've had some really mean encounters with rocks and logs, and have yet to put a hole of any kind in my Sea Eagle 8. The fabric these inflatable rafts are made of is also completely immune to UV rays, mold and mildew. Most importantly, the seams on the SE 8 inflatable raft are also specially sealed, which will prevent holes and tears from developing in the seams. This is very important, since once a hole develops in a seam, that's the end of the boat, since seam tears and holes really can't be properly repaired.
In fact, the best way to put a hole in your inflatable Sea Eagle raft is to drag it across the ground or the road. These inflatable rafts are designed to bounce off obstructions in the river, but are NOT designed for being dragged across sharp rocks or the cement. Happily, the Sea Eagle 8 only weighs 32 lbs, making for an easy carry over obstructions on the ground or over a road.