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Old 23-05-2012, 17:13   #1
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AquaPro Inflatable Boats

I don't know if this forum would accept a multi post history critique of one cruiser's experience with 3 AquaPro boats.

Me, being that cruiser purchased the first boat in march 07 from a local NY and now out of business distributor of inflatable boats. it was an 9' alum bottom. I had seen one or two somewhere and researched them on the www went to see them and bought it. Loved the boat and had no complaints.

Sadly it was stolen in mid summer 09. I was insured for the loss and decided to get another one... being so pleased with the boat. Unfortunately I had to use the only dealer I could find who was in CA... Called Trade Winds Inflatables. I ordered the next size up a 10' 3 chamber alum bottom.

I used the boat for the balance of the season and hauled it out for winter storage and put it in a warehouse which was heated under a cover.

Launched the boat and sailed for a year.... no bottom paint. In Fall 2010 after 1 and half seasons in the water upon inspection I noticed signs of corrosion which looked like it was the alum under the epoxy paint. YIKES. It was at the seams were the hypoalon was bonded to the hull. I took photos and sent them to the dealer in CA with a request that they replace the boat because if the condition advanced the hypalon would separate from the boat. YIKES! See photo.

The CA dealer got back to me that there was apparently some sort of issue with preparing the aluminum to receive the paint and so they agreed to replace it... but wanted me to pay the return cost of shipping the boat back to CA. THAT WAS EXPENSIVE and pissed me off.

I gave them explicit instructions to ship to... and pick up the day at the yacht club where I was in winter storage. I wanted to re use the shipping container so I didn't have the additional expense and time dealing with that. The new boat did not arrive when I was waiting for it. I called and found out that Trade Winds had given the ORIGINAL ship to address 100 miles to the East in Greenport. The new address would mean additional charges to me... it came to almost $700 in the end. The second delivery appointment was missed as well because the driver went home because of too much traffic. Another lost afternoon waiting

He arrived the next day. The truck had no lift gate and the driver had no means to offload the boat. I managed to persuade the yacht club... of which I was not a member... to use their forklift and pick the new boat from the truck and then after I packed the damaged boat in the box... place in the truck. And of course that driver would not take the return as I had arranged... that came a few days later... another truck who couldn't get the boat in his truck... sat around waiting for me to load it... Fork lift again. Another day wasted.

This all was in early June and the season was well underway... months of use of the boat lost without the dink as I use a mooring.

I inflated the new boat and went home to get the provisions for a 2 week cruise. When I returned the boat had lost air! YIKES. I checked it for visible damage. NONE... I bubble tested it and found air leaking from the a seam where the tow rings are attached... very close to the seam of the bottom. A bitch to patch to say the least. I did my best because I was going a cruisin'. I would deal with this later.

When I returned I began a battle to get the replacement boat replaced or my money returned. The dealer was inflexible and intransigent. This was a manufacturing defect, not shipping damage and it was not the vendors fault but the maker's fault.

Getting no joy I contacted AquaPro in NZ and communicated my problems to the owner. I received sympathy, but was told that the design was licensed to.... a Chinese company! They had no control or liability. Go after them. Yea right.

Note that the boat had a manufacturer's origin plaque affixed to the transom indicating it was manufactured in NZ. FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After tens of hours of wrangling with Trade Winds the owner Kenneth Leveritch... said he would come to NY and personally repair it as he had relatives in LI. I would have it done in the Fall.

Fall came and went, winter too an by Spring no news from Mr Levritch. More calls and emails and their plan was that I should find a local repair service.. to do their work and they would pay the tab. But I would have to pick up and deliver the boat to the shop. They sent me some tel numbers... none answered. Finally I got them to give me one that answered. And what do you know? It was the dealer who had sold me the first boat, who had gone out of business and was in the repair/service biz mostly for emergency and coast guard boats... so I had low priority for service. I had to get the boat to LI... and was able to use a friend's Outback and it was quite the trip with it tied to the roof. Two more days lost delivering and picking up the boat. No leaks. The time invested by me was worth thousands dollars in billable hours lost!

By the way they found a second *pinhole* on the top .. see the round patch over the state registration.

In 2011 I painted the bottom and noticed the same corrosion signs under the paint in a few places. Could this be from aggressive Long Island barnacles which eat epoxy for breakfast?

In 2012 this past week I finally got to the dink which was stored in a rack on it's bottom under other boats... partly protected. Dirty, but held air. But the paint was seriously coming off. See the photos.

Sent a letter to... the NZ company, the Chinese licensee, Trade Winds demanding my money back.

No response.

I would easily win in court. I am in NY, Trade Winds is in CA, the licensee MFG (who also committed fraud by placing the plaque on the boat) is in China.

Collecting the judgment will be impossible. My recourse is to advise others of the disgusting incident. Trade Winds are unethical and should loose whatever license they have to operate a business in CA. The Chinese don't even respond.

The design is superlative. The manufacture now sucks and the dealer is a disreputable outfit.

Now you know ... the rest of the story.
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Old 24-05-2012, 05:32   #2
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

Bump... not a single comment about this experience?
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Old 24-05-2012, 07:30   #3
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

I have an original NZ manufactured AquaPro, Absolutely brilliant and no paint issues at all. It would seem that like Rocna, these designs are then manufactured in China to increase profit margins and the quality goes out the window. Its almost a bait and switch tactic

Dave
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Old 25-05-2012, 13:36   #4
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

I think it IS something like that. In this case the owner of the brand only makes them in NZ for NZ sales and all other sales are licensed and they have no interest or control or I suppose liability. The sold the license and who knows what the revenue stream is from it.

The mfg plate is fraud and I wonder if the NZ people simply sent them their inventory or the Chines just copied them.

It IS a great boat but the manufacture in China destroyed that. Good design... unacceptable execution.
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Old 25-05-2012, 14:16   #5
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

I have an electric car that was built in China. It is 3 years old now and looks 30. Paint faded, screws and other fasteners rusted, interior trim sun baked and splitting. It is obvious China manufacturing does no aging tests of any kind. There is an inflatable called Takacat that I am interested in, but its production has been farmed out to China, and after yours and my experience with expensive goods made in that country, I think I'll pass.
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Old 25-05-2012, 14:24   #6
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

UPDATE

Tradewinds tells me on the phone... they didn't respond to my emails... that the Chinese Company has lost their license... and there is no North America dealer for the boats... He's not of the mind to do anything and he can't get the mfg to do anything either.

He claims its and electrolysis problem related to the lead or copper in the bottom paint.

Suggests I remove all the paint, grind away all the corrosion and apply a 2 part epoxy barrier coat and the bottom paint... and put a zinc on the boat as well.

I'm thinking this is BS but I don't have any options as I will get no joy from him. It's not a weekend project so it has to be done next year... except I was going to winter in the caribe... Lovely.
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Old 25-05-2012, 16:43   #7
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

RDF Australia no longer sell aquapro ,now they sell plastimo.RDF NZ still sell aquapro.
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Old 17-06-2012, 10:00   #8
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

Good to read this thread, as I was considering buying a new Aquapro. I won't now.
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Old 17-06-2012, 10:38   #9
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

Never used just out of the box, was repaired under warranty took more than a month, lasted two weeks. By the way the inflatable floor cut length wise in half make good wheel cover for the caravan, the floats make good mast cover when the mast is stored and the rest make good floor cover for the tow truck. Still a bit expensive at $1800.-
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Old 19-06-2012, 23:04   #10
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

Never buy an Aquapro! I can't say a good word about Aquapro I have had 3 of their "commercial quality charter series" now and very one before 4 years old every glued attachment has fallen off (handles, row locks you name it) considering the cost of them one would expect a long lasting product, all I can say is the main inflated tubes have lasted but all seem to slight leak all the time. Much to my embarrassment I have friends who have bought Chinese inflatables that have outlasted my Aquapro's. After 3 attempts I will never buy another one. As for dealers out of warranty mate? tough luck. But for a huge invoice to repair still fell apart again anyway. After 10 years of being silly enough to believe the dealer story they have been sorted out now? I'm over them big time.
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Old 25-06-2012, 14:58   #11
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

I travel to china every month and recently started detailing [as I need a new dinghy the different factories ], I visited the facility that makes WM dinghys and the other marine on line supply supply house .....
here is the bottom line
all material is either China , Korea or german made
all glue is either china , korea or german made
material made in china and germany have the same MDS sheets
Glue from China and German is the same mixture same label
cost between the two ...made with china material verses German material is 3 times as much
The process Fema or production method is identical in all factories for a PVC 270 , or 300 cm boat
Production facilities in china offer a 2 yr warranty for manufacturing with German material
and offer a 3 yr warranty by using the local China made product
in testing I could not see or tell ANY difference between the material or glue
I went 8 production facilities that are manufacturing under approx 27 different dinghy names world wide
Of the 8 ..... 2 facilities were what I would call good , honest facilities running a good honest fair priced ISO / QS facility
5 were ok
1 was ......not so good ....
if you have any more questions contact me
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Old 25-06-2012, 17:59   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poppyduc
Never buy an Aquapro! I can't say a good word about Aquapro I have had 3 of their "commercial quality charter series" now and very one before 4 years old every glued attachment has fallen off (handles, row locks you name it) considering the cost of them one would expect a long lasting product, all I can say is the main inflated tubes have lasted but all seem to slight leak all the time. Much to my embarrassment I have friends who have bought Chinese inflatables that have outlasted my Aquapro's. After 3 attempts I will never buy another one. As for dealers out of warranty mate? tough luck. But for a huge invoice to repair still fell apart again anyway. After 10 years of being silly enough to believe the dealer story they have been sorted out now? I'm over them big time.
I have a 9 year old NZ built aqua pro. It's brilliant , puts up with hard work, nothing but nothing has fallen off.

Dave
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Old 26-06-2012, 06:50   #13
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

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Originally Posted by paddyd View Post
Production facilities in china offer a 2 yr warranty for manufacturing with German material and offer a 3 yr warranty by using the local China made product
When the cost of freight is the responsibility of the owner the warranty offered become meaningless.
In regard to Aquapro, if it is for the foot pump, there is nothing that indicate that the inflatable was a made in china product. The repair glue read Made in USA. The valves are made in Taiwan. The Warranty Registration Card requires to be sent to New Zeeland. The placard is made by a firm in New Zeeland. What I find curious is that the Queensland Government will endorse a product that fails so miserably. The welded plastic is still in good repair and just few hours ago I was making a drip gutter with some of the floor and was surprised at the resilience of the materiel. Anyway it made me wonder about the quality of RFD products. So I bought a made in china life raft. After inquiring about the emergency rations, the agent assured me that they where not made of Chinese noodles, you never know some crews can be fussy about what they like to eat.
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Old 27-06-2012, 14:00   #14
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I have a 9 year old NZ built aqua pro. It's brilliant , puts up with hard work, nothing but nothing has fallen off.

Dave
Thanks for your reply I only wish I could be in the same position When you spend the large amount to purchase an AquaPro this is exactly what I expected from the product. After 3 failed boats I can't recommend the product. If Aquapro wishes to step up and actually back their product I might be willing to reverse my comments, no dealer seems to want to help in any way.
So I still repeat never buy an Aquapro inflatable.
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Old 27-06-2012, 14:32   #15
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Re: AquaPro Inflatable Boats

If your looking a inflatable I am going back to china in 2 weeks and I am picking 3 boats 300cm for myself and 2 other guys at the marina if you want mds sheets , process FEMA reports from production runs or pictures I will send them to you
these are great boats if you have questions call me tks Paddy
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