The real tropics are a great graveyard for inflatables as Mike has attested above. The Aussie market is flooded with Chinese versions and all seem to have very limited useful lifetimes. But the problem is not restricted to Chinese models as from other respondents it seems that welding may be better but more expensive.
Even if welding is better, it can't easily be applied by the owner if a tear occurs.
Poly craft as mentioned by Mike are often used and they are good but heavy and obviously can't be as easily stored as a collapsible tender
. Inflatables are also great for diving
as you can roll over the sides without injury.
That raises the matter of the fold up panel types. I have not seen many of them and I was wondering if there have been any developments there.
Another somewhat radical solution I saw decades ago was a home made inflatable
. I don't recall
what the bottom was made of but the two sides were actual black rubber that had been glued into tubes. The two sides were then covered (loose, not glued) with some protective PVC fabric
that kept the sun off the rubber and was removed when growth reached an unacceptable level. the claimed virtue of the arrangement was that the owner could and did do easy repairs
to the rubber when needed (car tyre repair kits).
For the yacht involved (about 35 ft) this inflatable
was very large as I recall
(over 4 m, 12 ft) and was used for diving
as well as being an over sized tender
. It had a 25 hp outboard motor
attached. The owner informed me that the downside was that it was "heavy". However, it had a very long lifetime well before I saw it in Darwin.
Many cruisers use rigid tenders (alloy or f-glass) and they are often kept on deck
and used as hatch
covers. This allows hatches to remain partly open and protected from rain ingress making the vessel more comfortable in the humid tropics. But then you have the launching and retrieval issues.