Boat Test: 2018 Zodiac Pro 7

Boat Tested2018 Zodiac Pro 7
Price As TestedNot Available
Category Inflatable
Manufacturer Zodiac
Length22ft 2in / 6.76 m
Beam8ft 4in / 2.54 m
Max HP250
Drive TypeOutboard
Engine MakeYamaha Outboards
Fuel Capacity52.8
Zodiac is perhaps the most recognizable brand when it comes to inflatable boats. Well known for their rugged design and rough water capability, they are often a top choice for commercial operations. The new Pro 7 is no departure from that pedigree with a deep-V fibreglass hull and standard Hypalon tubes. What is unique about the Pro is the modular design which allows a ton of flexibility in layout and configuration. 
Starting with empty deck, you can customize the layout to suit your needs. There are four consoles available in two different widths allowing you to decide how much space will be consumed. Since they are bolted down instead of being moulded in to the deck, there is some flexibility in mounting locations. You can decide if you want more open space forward or aft and if you want the walk through to port or starboard. Our test boat had the wider H-XLS console with a moulded in forward seat, ideal for added passengers. It provides a fair bit of storage and easy access to instrument wiring. If your focus is fishing or diving however, you might opt for the smaller HL console. From there the options are quite numerous.
Our boat had the 3-wide stern bench seat which folds flat allowing easy access to the transom. Innovative new bumper cones to stern finish the tubes off nicely and allow for small optional swim platforms to either side, which make re-boarding from the water much easier. Add the optional tow bar and you have a boat well suited for watersports. Multi-fix mounts can be found on most of the big accessories and provide solid mounting points for flag, mask and cup holders. We counted ten on the tow bar alone. An optional T-Top is available to add some shade along with more multi-fix mounting points. This modular flexibility and wide range of accessories make the Pro Zodiacs the most versatile in the fleet. Our test boat was well equipped for family recreation, and you could just as easily leave it wide open for fishing, or fill it with scuba racks and run dive charters from it. But that is only half the story. 
Regardless of how you equip a Pro, they remain incredibly capable. With a self bailing deck and twenty-two and-a-half inch tubes, the Pro 7’s inshore [Category C] maximum load capacity is over 4,300 pounds! Two large sub-deck storage compartments are standard and will help keep a lot of gear stowed out of sight. Integrating the fuel tank into the hull help keeps the centre of gravity low and handling neutral, regardless of fuel load.
With winds well over 15 knots and waves approaching two feet, conditions were perfect to check ride comfort and handling. The 24-degree hull provides serious offshore capability, which translates into a soft ride that your passengers will love. So reassuring is the ride, we were tempted to look for bigger water. The compromise for this off-shore capability is a mild chine walk at speed and fair bit of lean when turning. But the large diameter tubes prevent too much lean with the added bonus of keeping spray down. Yamaha’s lightweight F200 doesn’t spoil the handling and has plenty of power for runs close to 50mph. 
If you’re looking for a highly capable offshore RHIB but haven’t found the right configuration, you might want to consider customizing your own Zodiac Pro.
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