Bombard Boats
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The Origins of Bombard

The Origins of Bombard

Alain Bombard, French physician, 1924-2005

In 1952, the young Alain Bombard, a 27-year-old physician-navigator, left Las Palmas in the Canary Islands on an inflatable boat he christened “l’Hérétique”, with no food or water.

He set off to sail alone across the Atlantic in order to show that a
human being can survive for weeks, if not months, by drinking seawater and juice pressed from the flesh of fish.

Dr. Bombard sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in this inflatable in the hope of proving that any survivor of a shipwreck could survive on fresh water and fish. The fish that he found contained between 50%-80% fresh water.


65 days after leaving, he landed on a beach in Barbados. He was emaciated and
anaemic but still able to walk the two miles to the nearest police station.

He had endured terror, solitude, despair, storms and shark attacks. His belief that humans can survive drinking small quantities of seawater was fully vindicated. But even more important than water or food, he said, was mental attitude: “The survivor of a shipwreck, deprived of everything, must never lose hope.”

With his book, “Naufragé Volontaire”, published in 1958, he acquired worldwide fame and then took part in various research projects and the development of liferafts.

The Creation of Bombard inflatables

Dr. Bombard then oversaw the creation of a line of inflatable boats bearing his name; watercraft designed for pleasure boating as well as the 'Commando' range of boats applied to more professional uses.

In France and abroad, his name is still associated with survival at sea and, more generally, with the protection of the sea and marine ecology.

Alain Bombard forged the values of adventure and reliability of the brand that bears his name. By offering safe, robust products, Bombard boats are a living reference to this heritage

Bombard Boats in the 21st Century


Modern Fabric Technology

Bombard sportsboats are crafted from our own 1100 Decitex 'Strongan' fabric which is significantly tougher than that used in most other inflatables. It has been perfected to retain its original character even after years and years of prolonged exposure to ozone and the sun’s UV rays. It is particularly airtight and designed for the marine environment.

Thermobonding - The Bombard Guarantee

The vast majority of the Bombard range are made using a thermobonding teachnique to ensure a long lasting seal between the fabric seams.This fuses the fabric together, as well as welding the inner and outer joining strips in a fully-automated heat-fusion process. This is a very reliable construction method, making a permanent seal at the seams, which can be seen immediately from the excellent finish.

Boat Structure: Designed with Safety in Mind


The hull shape of any boat is one of the most important criteria in its' design. This is often overlooked by other inflatable manufacturers, and the public, with the result being disappointing, wet or even dangerous handling characteristics. At Bombard, every single one of our hulls is conceptualised in our Computer Aided Design programs which benefit from the latest marine software design to reproduce correct planing ability, effective resistance points, rigidity, comfort and safety.

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