The Sea Eagle 9 Inflatable Raft is the slightly larger and redesigned version of the raft I currently own, the now discontinued Sea Eagle 8. And well, what can I say, I love my raft. My Sea Eagle raft has, despite constant use, never developed a hole or any sort of rip, and still functions as well as the day I got it (which was back in 2001). Moreover, these inflatable rafts from Sea Eagle are just incredibly versatile – they make very good fishing boats and are excellent vessels for just floating on down a river.
Thus, the moral of the story is, if you are looking for an inflatable raft with a huge capacity (1200 lbs) that can pull triple duty as a river floating vessel (Class III whitewater), a fly fishing boat (good, but not the best), and a lake fishing boat (using the motormount package with floorboards), look no further – as the Sea Eagle 9 is an ideal boat of choice.
On the rest of this page, I’ll provide a summary of the features of this boat and how to use them safely.
Best Uses for the Sea Eagle 9
The Sea Eagle 9 is an incredibly versatile little vessel. While straight out of the box it may not look much different than a cheap Wal-Mart thingy, on the water, the Sea Eagle 9 trumps any inflatable raft that you can get for the price you pay. So let’s take a look at some of the uses of this raft and the benefits it provides floaters and anglers.
Whiterwater : The boat is rated for Class III whitewater. If you plan to run Class III whitewater, it is no longer necessary to bring along something to bail the boat due to newly installed floor drains. Just be sure to open the floor drains before you run Class III rapids.
Fishing : Works very well for fly fishing (but there are better dedicated fly fishing rafts). And for spin fishing, by using a motor/motormount, optional floorboards and attaching the rod holders, the raft makes for a great vessel for lake fishing as you can stand in the boat without capsizing it.
Day River Floats : The most comfortable boat around for leisurely river voyages. Seriously. It’s like floating down the river in a recliner. I usually just sit on the floor with my legs sticking out over one side of the boat. Or I’ll just hang out on the side of the raft. The rafts stability makes it nearly impossible to capsize unless you really work at it.
Extended River Trips : Massive capacity allows you to take along the kitchen sink if you want. Make sure to use it in above freezing weather, though. Below is a video of a couple who used this raft to haul themselves and 700 lbs of gear on a 750 mile float down the Missouri River.
The Sea Eagle 9 was recently redesigned. The new design offers several features that I can only wish my older Sea Eagle 8 had. These include:
- New high pressure seats.
- New high pressure floor with a tough nylon covering to prevent hooks or other sharp objects from penetrating the fabric.
- Floor drains – to allow waters that enters to boat to drain off. This feature makes this raft much superior to mine when it comes to use in whitewater.
Other Tidbits of Information
Here’s some other random information you might find useful.
Capacity : The Sea Eagle 9 has a capacity of four people or 1200 pounds. Truthfully, consider it a boat for 3 people with limited gear or 2 people with lots of gear if you want to be comfortable. However, the weight rating is true – the boat won’t sink even with 1200 pounds in it.
Set Up Time : Using the manual pump, allow about 15 minutes from the time you unroll the boat to the time it is fully setup.
Durability : You can poke a hole in it if you work at it, but it isn’t easy. Generally, the raft “bounces” off obstructions. Best way to puncture the fabric is by dragging it across the rocks along a river (to avoid this, carry it over rocks and on land – it isn’t that heavy, just a bit bulky).
Weight : Out of the box the SE9 weighs 35 lbs and packs down into its own small carry bag. Once packed down, the raft easily fits inside any trunk or quiet corner of an RV.
Options & More Options : The SE 9 has a multitude of options available. These include floorboards, rod holders, motormounts and even a canopy. With a motormount, the SE 9 can use either a trolling motor or gas motor (up to 2.5hp).
Good Accessories to Have : Get a dry bag. Get a dry bag. Get a dry bag. Need I say more? A dry bag will keep your stuff dry (like your wallet/purse/lunch). The raft has a ton of tie downs on it. Just tie the dry bag to the raft and you won’t worry about your wallet sinking into the depths of a river. Another thing I got was the Storage Bag for kayaks. Yeah, its meant for kayaks and doesn’t fit on the bow of the boat that well. But it does fit – and makes a perfect place to carry the bellows pump, repair kit, hose and anything else “boat related.” (like the rafts storage bag). Storage Bags for Sea Eagle Products.
Overall, the Sea Eagle 9 Inflatable Raft is an awesome choice of a vessel for anyone who wants a raft that can do many things beyond just fishing. It works equally well for recreational floating, fly fishing and for lake fishing if you are smart and get the motormount option.
If your plans include hard core fishing and you don’t mind spending extra money for a dedicated inflatable fishing raft (which includes many niceties such as swivel seats, much more rigid frame, rod holders, etc..), you you might be interested in several new Sea Eagle boats specifically designed for fishing: The Stealth Stalker Raft and the Fishing Skiff.
Read the Inflatable Fishing Rafts Article for more information about these two rafts.