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Rib inflatable vs. fiberglass hull

Discussion in 'Tenders & Dinghies' started by Pelagic Dreams, Dec 6, 2011.

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  1. Pelagic Dreams

    Pelagic Dreams Senior Member

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    I have been looking at several options for a useful tender for a say 65' trawler. Are there any differences between upkeep between a rib tender vs. a complete fiberglass hull boat? I know that the weight difference is huge. We are looking for something that can both transport guests to shore, do some skiing, maybe bay fishing, scuba diving....but nothing out in the deep blue. We would use the big boat for that.
    Is one more stable than the other in terms of ride quality, at anchor, sea spray etc?
    I think something in the terms of 12-16' in length with a certer console, with room for say 5-6 people.
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Rib inflatables are a real bear to keep clean. The tubes start leaking air after 5 years and are basically high maintanence. They also need to be re-tubed after 7 years usually. Also a 16' RIB would barely fit 5 people and it would be tight, because the tubes take up a few feet of the length.

    Personally, I'd go for a Carolina Skiff. Not the prettiest, but will easily hold 5 people, shallow draft, self bailing, light weight, very stable, economical,unsinkable, and great for bay fishing. A boston whaler would be a good choice also, but heavier.
  3. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    On many of the boats I worked on in the early days we had Boston Whalers as the main tender and a rubber duckie Zodiac for running about.

    These days the modern RIB does it all. The fabrics are much better, you can get any lay-out you want and the quality is much better. The only word of warning is do not buy a water-jet RIB. They are horrible.

    I got a new white RIB this summer but wish I'd got a grey or red one; if you know what I mean. :rolleyes:
  4. nilo

    nilo Senior Member

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    ribs vs solid boats

    i've ben going through a similar exercise and have moved between ribs and solid boat alternatives lately. i was trying to finalize the choice for an explorer yacht and my parameter was to have a stable rib with diesel inboard (not willing to carry large quantities of gas on long hauls) with a long range and to be capable for cruising in choppy weather. i was looking for a size of 20' / 6 meters. of course i also considered my options with compromises in mind.

    i tried several ribs and boston whalers. initially i've liked the internal space on the boston whalers and i have thought that they would be better sea going boats.

    however, finally i decided to stay with ribs, because they are much more stable when you are stepping on the boat from the yacht; they are just as good in bad weather; you have better seating arrangements for traveling with more people on board; they are lighter, weight limitations for diesel inboard can be achieved; you don't need fenders when you are approaching the yacht.

    hope this gives you some more insight in making your choice.
  5. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I ve used both and prefer the RIB. With minimal maintenance (cover when stored) they last a lot longer than 5 to 7 years and can carry higher load.

    We have a 15' Rendova on the 70 footer i run which seats 6, and up to 8 if really necessary. It s fast, smooth and dry

    On the other hand I find whalers to be harsh and wet, and limited in capacity and stability.

    That said it is true that some RIBs are poorly designed with limited seating capacity so pick carefully. Unfortunately Rendova went out of business...
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The life span is considerably longer for a Whaler or such, but either bought today will probably outlive the use of it's first owner. The Ribs have a much more cushioned ride in rough water, and as Nilo pointed out aren't going to scratch or chip anybody's boat. Not sure how I'd feel about fish hooks and gaffs on board though.
  7. Pelagic Dreams

    Pelagic Dreams Senior Member

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    15' Nautica International RIB?

    From the suggestions I started looking at some RIBs....Both Zodiac and Nautica had nice features. I was drawn toward the Nautica 15 widebody RIB because of its center console design.
    Does anyone have experience with the Nautica International products? I need real fist hand knowledge.....all the ads and brochures look great, I want real world facts.
  8. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I take care of a Nautica right now, and took care of another one before. The build quality is ummmm well average and personally I'd look for a better brand.
  10. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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  11. 'RoundTheHorn

    'RoundTheHorn Senior Member

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    Just for fun, let me suggest (no personal experience or relationship - just see them around here) these two companies for something different. They are both built up here in the currently rather chilly PNW. Hulls from both firms are aluminum for durability.

    Munson Aluminum Boats - Custom welded aluminum boats, landing craft, workboats, patrol boats, fire boats, passenger boats, dive boats, research boats, fishing boats, boom boats

    Northwind Marine - Aluminum boats, seafox, sea fox boats, aluminum boats, aluminum boat builders, aluminum hull inflatables - (Offers RIBs with foam collars so punctures are a thing of the past).
  12. Pelagic Dreams

    Pelagic Dreams Senior Member

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    What would one expect to pay for say a 15-17' center console type RIB from the topend venders? I know you can get into a CarolinaSkiff 15 with motor for around 12K. All in all, it should be well under 15K?
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Around $40k for a 15-17' center console rib from a topend vender with engine.
  14. Soozell

    Soozell New Member

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    Plan to dock Solitude VI at Marker 1 in Dunedin an
    Rigid Boats

    Here is a link to a vendor we met at the St. Pete Boat show. He makes an interesting product! Looks like a rib but is rigid!

    Rigid Boats
  15. Pelagic Dreams

    Pelagic Dreams Senior Member

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    That is an impressive boat! Love the idea of full floatation and the extra storage on board. Their prices seem to be very competitive and the fact that they are less weight is even better. Do you know of an owner who has some longer term experience with a Rigid Boat? I am very impressed until I hear otherwise.
    Thanks for the link.....
  16. 'RoundTheHorn

    'RoundTheHorn Senior Member

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  17. missnmountains

    missnmountains Member

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    We did a ton of research on this and ended up with a 13.5 Rigid with a 40hp motor.

    It is AWESOME!

    It is lighter than a comparable inflatable, and runs at 50MPH GPS.

    There is tons of storage in the tubes which you do not get on an inflatable.

    I have only one gripe. Because it is all fiberglass, it must have a capacity plate. I removed ours as it only shows a capacity of 3; yet is sits and fits comfortably 6.

    It is impossible to sink as the bottom half of each tube is filled with foam.

    Hope this helps.

    PS: I am selling our WM 310 (10.5 feet) rigid bottom with a 4HP 4 stroke.

    Ken
  18. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    That seating capacity seems very low for a 13.5. I'd look into the reason for it before removing that plate and putting 6 on board. You could also have a serious liability problem should anything happen.
  19. missnmountains

    missnmountains Member

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    What I was told is that the capacity is determined by length by beam. This is not required for an inflatable. You could line up 6 to 8 on the tubes of an inflatable.

    We have actual seats for 6 on our Rigid. No one needs to sit on a tube or on the floor.

    You are correct in saying I could have liability if something happens if we had more that 3. I suspect that same liability would exist on an inflatable even though there is no capacity plates on inflatable tenders.

    Ken
  20. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I believe it has more to do with weight and safety than seating capacity, and there was a fairly recent change in the standard for passenger weight. I read recently (possibly on YF) that a passenger used to be considered to be about 160 lbs. and that is now changed to about 190 lbs. Also RIBS do have a passenger rating although you are correct that there usually or often isn't a plate. We have a 10 inflatable (not RIB) that can easily fit 6. It took some explaining to the boss why I would only take 3 (liability for exceeding the max load as stated by the mfg.). Even if the CG never checks you can be assured that a lawyer for someone who goes over and gets hurt will, and removing the plate goes to intent.