70 Years of Innovation



70 Years of Innovation

Since its birth as an aeronautical company in 1896, Zodiac has enjoyed an eventful history which has led us to be the world leader in inflatable boats for over 70 years.

Back in 1934, when Pierre Debroutelle – Zodiac’s brilliant engineer – designed the prototype of an inflatable 2-seater kayak, the company could never have imagined that it was opening the door to a market that would expand enormously with the dawning of the leisure society.

In 1937, interested by its research, the Naval Air Force entrusted Zodiac with the task of developing a craft capable of transporting torpedos and bombs.  Pierre Debroutelle came up with a new, U-shaped prototype, comprising two side air chambers joined by a wooden dashboard.  This was the true forerunner of the modern inflatable boat, leading to many future pleasure craft.

Since then, Zodiac has continually developed its boats; firstly for the military market then, in 1952 Dr Alain Bombard crossed the Mediterranean from Monaco to Tangiers and the Atlantic from Las Palmas to Barbados in a Zodiac Mark III boat. This now legendary feat popularised the Zodiac as a pleasure craft among the boating community.

Through patents and awards, Zodiac’s innovations enabled the company to meet the pleasure-boating fraternity’s demands for ever-increasing quality and safety.  This explains how – for 70 years Zodiac has retained its place as the world leader in inflatable boats. The term “Zodiac Boat” is now a generic phrase used to describe all inflatable boats, but the real Zodiac boat is the ultimate in quality inflatables.