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Zodiac Nautic is a French company best known for their widely used inflatable boats.
Zodiac Nautic finds its origins in the “Zodiac airships and aviation French company”, specialized in the production of airships. In the 1930s Pierre Debroutelle, one of its engineers, invented one of the first prototypes of inflatable boats for the Aéronavale, who were looking for innovative and easy solution for military transport. This change from air to sea brought worldwide recognition to Zodiac. In the 1960s, the company turned to the leisure industry to accommodate the “vacationers” and their growing interest in recreational boating. With a history of unrivalled experience, Zodiac Nautic’s origin is closely tied to all major innovations in the sector of inflatable boats.
In financial trouble, the company was sold to private owners in 2015.
Made with an inflatable buoyancy tube and a rigid hull, these boats combine the advantages of traditional inflatable boats – security, stability, portability, and ease of use – with those of rigid-hulled boats – comfort, agility and speed.
Its unique combination of a very low center of gravity, a deep-V hull and added stabilization of the tubes which gives the rigid hulled inflatable speed and sea-crossing capacities without compromising comfort or safety.
The Zodiac boat has an exceptional weight / area-below-water ratio, giving the boat a load-bearing capacity such that it can carry considerable loads.
The buoyancy is distributed on the sides, the center of gravity is very low: this makes it much harder to capsize the vessel.
The buoyancy tubes of Zodiac boats have several compartments, separated by waterproof partitions. Thanks to its important air reserves, the boat keeps its ability to float and stays conceptually unsinkable when fully loaded, even with a deflated compartment.
Zodiac inflatable boats are commonly used by the United States Military, however, these are Zodiac Milpro (Military and Professional) boats, which is a separate company also created during the breakup of the Zodiac Group in 2007.
Zodiac boats were brought into American popular culture in the late 1960s. They were ubiquitous in the popular television documentary series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.
The word "ZODIAC" is a registered trademark for rigid-hulled inflatable boats.