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Zodiac Nautic

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A Zodiac boat on the beach

Zodiac Nautic is a French company known for their inflatable boats.

A deployed Zodiac boat
Zodiac IV of the Military Emergencies Unit

Because of financial trouble, the company was sold to private owners in 2015.[1]



Zodiac Nautic was originated in the Société française de ballons dirigeables et d’aviation Zodiac (Zodiac airships and aviation French company), which specialized in the production of airships. In the late 1930s, one of its engineers, Pierre Debroutelle, invented one of the first prototypes of inflatable boats. In 1937, the Aéronavale, the French Naval Air Force, commissioned several boats from Zodiac.[2] The company started marketing to the general public in 1949. Zodiac received publicity in late 1952 after Alain Bombard made a crossing of the Atlantic in a production model of a Zodiac inflatable boat called L'Hérétique.[2][3][4]

The company eventually stopped using materials for balloon production after the creation of synthetic nylon fabrics better suited for inflatable boats in the late 1950s.[3]

Zodiac opened a temporary workshop in Courbevoie, expanded its already established factories and increased its workforce which allowed the company to begin producing 17 boats a day.[3]

In the 1960s, the company turned to the leisure industry to accommodate vacationers and their growing interest in recreational boating.[5] Zodiac boats were brought into the mainstream in the late 1960s as Jacques Cousteau equipped his Calypso with several of Zodiac's boats.[2][4]

In 2007, the company sold its Marine division to the American investment fund Carlyle.[3]


  1. ^ Armstrong, Richard (2017-07-27). "FLIBS 2015: Zodiac Nautic president maps out brand's revival". Trade Only Today. Retrieved 2023-12-20.
  2. ^ a b c Magazine, Essential (2020-07-08). "Everything To Know About Zodiac Inflatables". Essential Marbella Magazine. Retrieved 2023-10-01.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Story of Zodiac Aerospace". Safran Group. 2023-08-18. Retrieved 2023-10-01.
  4. ^ a b "Zodiac, the tire pioneer on the world's seas". BoatsNews.com. 2022-12-30. Retrieved 2023-10-01.
  5. ^ "Luxury & high-end rigid inflatable boat manufacturer". Zodiac Nautic. Retrieved 2023-10-01.