Installing a Swim Platform vs. Buying an Inflatable Swim Platform for Boats

Swimming off the side of a boat is one of the best parts of owning one. However, getting in and out of the water can be difficult without a swim platform. Fortunately, boat owners have two main options for adding a swim platform to their boat: installing a permanent platform or purchasing an inflatable one. Each has pros and cons, so this article will help you decide which is the best option for you.

Installing a Permanent Swim Platform

Installing a permanent swim platform is a popular choice for boat owners who want a durable, reliable platform that will last for years. However, permanently installing a swim platform may interfere with other water activities.


  • Durability: A permanent swim platform is made from sturdy materials like fiberglass or aluminum, which can withstand the elements and the wear and tear of regular use.

  • Customization: A permanent platform can be customized to fit your specific needs, including the size and shape of the platform, the type of ladder or steps used to climb aboard, and any additional features you may want, such as handrails or storage compartments.

  • Value: Since swim platforms are a desirable feature for many buyers, installing a permanent one can add value to your boat if you decide to sell it in the future.


Cost: Installing a permanent swim platform can be expensive, especially if you opt for a custom-built or professional installation.

Maintenance: Like any other part of your boat, a permanent swim platform requires regular maintenance to keep it in good condition. This includes cleaning, waxing, and checking for any signs of wear and tear.

Difficulty of installation: Depending on the type of boat you have and the size of the platform you want, installing a permanent swim platform can be a complex and time-consuming process.

Gets in the way: Depending on the type of boat you have, installing a permanent swim platform may interfere with your ability to enjoy other water activities like water skiing, tubing, or wakeboarding.

Buying an Inflatable Swim Platform

An inflatable swim platform is a portable, affordable option that can be easily stored and transported when not in use. Inflatable options can also be used independently if you want to enjoy some open water swimming, without being your boat.


Affordability: Inflatable swim platforms are generally much cheaper than permanent platforms, making them an excellent option for boat owners on a budget.

Portability: Inflatable platforms can be easily deflated and stored in a compact space when not in use, which is especially useful for smaller boats or boats with limited storage space. 

Versatility: Inflatable swimming platforms aren't limited to boat use only, they can be enjoyed in open water, at the beach, or anywhere you need a stable platform to relax.

Ease of installation: Inflatable swim platforms are typically very easy to install, requiring only a few minutes to inflate and secure to your boat.


Durability: While inflatable swim platforms are generally made from durable materials like PVC or nylon, they may not be as durable as permanent platforms and can be more prone to punctures or leaks.

Limited customization: Inflatable units are typically a one-size-fits-all option, so you may not be able to customize the size, shape, or features to fit your specific needs.

Make the Most of Your Summer with Tommy Docks

Adding a swimming platform is the perfect way to make the most out of your boat this summer. However, a permanently installed unit might not be a viable option for you. If not, check out Tommy Docks' COAST inflatable dock. Measuring 6.5' X 13' and constructed from the highest quality materials, This floating swimming platform is the perfect addition to any boat.

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