The paper investigates statics and dynamics of neutrally buoyant inflated viscoelastic tapered cantilevers used as structural members in underwater platforms. In the beginning, the static flexural behavior of the beam is studied using the three-parameter viscoelastic solid model which yields material properties for the mylar-polyethylene-mylar plastic film used. Results of a detailed experimental program are also presented to substantiate validity of the analytical model. This is followed by free vibration analyses of the inflated cantilevers in the ocean environment. The elementary beam theory is used to predict their natural frequencies. Finally, the dynamical response of the uniform and tapered cantilevers to root excitation, at the fundamental wave frequency and its second harmonic, is studied. The governing nonlinear equations are analyzed by taking two terms of the assumed Fourier series solution. Results suggest that for the case of the simple harmonic excitation, the nonlinear hydrodynamic drag introduces no superharmonic components into the response. For low forcing frequencies typical of the ocean environment, an increase in taper ratio tends to reduce the tip amplitudes. However, for frequencies above the fundamental, the response characteristics are completely reversed. The analysis provides valuable information concerning the system parameters leading to critical response and hence should prove useful in the design of such inflatable members.

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