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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. CPT2012

    CPT2012 Member

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    I've narrowed my options to the Boston Whaler 110 Sport and the Williams 325 jet RIB, which is double the price, btw. Olderboater, any additional feedback on your experience with the Williams ?
  2. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I'm a jet fan so quite prejudiced. We also have a tight garage on the 63' so pretty much has to be a jet. I'm very pleased with it given the length limitation it fits as well. I also like the fact that if the wind picks up or other issues cause the tender to come into your swim platform or hull, they're a bit like an overgrown fender. I don't get quite as anxious as I would with glass. Last, one of our primary uses is exploring those areas that just aren't that accessible to larger boats. We love following rivers and coves all the way to the end, circling islands, pulling to island beaches. Of course a Whaler can do that as well. I just don't personally want to deal with tilting the outboard when putting it on deck or when going to shallow waters.

    Now the part I'd use to balance a bit is that mine is well maintained both mechanically and interior/exterior wise. I suspect there's more effort spent on it than a Whaler would require. We do hose it well after every use and when it's used or exposed to the sea it is cleaned well each week. One advantage we have is that it's carried in a garage. When we get our next boat that won't be the case. I don't know how much the salty air will lead to required cleaning on the bridge. I'd definitely keep either covered if on a bridge. Whaler's are tremendous boats. If that's the kind of boat you really like then you can't go wrong with it. Today's outboards are very low maintenance, plus if you tear one up it's simple to replace and be on the water tomorrow. I would think it's going to be more problem free than a jet even though I've had no problems with jets yet. Also, no one should think with a jet they don't have to worry about shallow waters. If it's an area filled with moss and growth you still can't just go flying through like nothing is there or you do risk getting it all tangled in your intake. Perhaps that's a reason we haven't had issues as well. Belle and I haven't done anything with the jets that we couldn't do with the outboard trimmed. We don't suck sand or moss into it. You still have to treat it with respect.

    There's not a right or wrong choice. It's just personal preference. Now others have less positive experiences with jet ribs but I believe many of those are older ones and different engine technologies. I wouldn't want one that basically has a PWC engine and drive put in a rib. Some of the previous issues were with two cycle too and that one is outdated.
  3. CPT2012

    CPT2012 Member

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    Thanks for your opinion, I'll take a serious look at Williams next week.
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Plus you were impressed by Aquascan so might look at them again in a non boat show environment.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I just rigged a 110 Boston Whaler and it was a great boat/tender. We put a 40hp Mercury 4 stroke on it because everyone reports the 25hp won't get it on plane with 3 adults or more in it. I had to put the new Mercury 4 blade aluminum prop on it to get it on plane. 11x12". It would jump on plane with 4-5 adults in it and had a ton of room inside because it's square and has almost a 5' beam. I'd do it all over again, and wouldn't think about a rib. I think it came out to be around $14k with the 40hp rigged..... The jet is a maintanence nightmare and the engines never run right in them.
  6. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    Is that maintenance on the water jet units or the engines?
  7. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    foam collared RIB

    I don't know why someone doesn't come out with some small tenders making use of a foam collar (D-shaped) in lieu of the inflatable tube collars. In general the full rounded inflatable tubes really cut down on the interior space available in a small tender. And the 'inflatable' aspect adds to the complication/expense of these vessels.

    Here is an idea I put forward a number of years ago. Granted it is a little complicated itself, but could be simplified.

    Attached Files:

  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I agree with CaptJ about the jets, maintenance and longevity, and clogging with debri is another issue. The motors also take up interior space. They are however convenient on the top of a boat or for running in shallows. The Whalers are a lot of interior space and they're no muss, no fuss to maintain. Hose it down and walk away. What I do like about the RIBS though is the ride. Much more cushioned impact. So really, like with all boats, it's a matter of what works for you.

    RIBS have a shorter lifespan and require more maintenance than a Whaler, but they give a better ride and are softer if they go against the hull of your big boat. Jets are convenient, but shortest life of all. You don't see many people swapping out motors on them. A Whaler might get 4 or 5 motors during it's lifespan, but can be less than comfortable in a chop.
  9. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Capt J and Nycap:

    I'd have one question of both of you when you're referring to the jets and maintenance. Are you referring to the current evolution of jets? I noticed Capt J said something about the Yamaha Jets. And one of the other comments as to running at slow speed was an issue I'd seen primarily on the two cycle jets. Williams uses Weber 4 Strokes. Now Aquascan does use Yamaha 4 strokes. My experience is only with the Weber. But I haven't encountered the slow speed issues and, while admittedly too early to know, the maintenance issues.

    Otherwise I think Nycap's last post is a good summary. We love our jet ribs.

    While the manufacturer would argue over the life of today's versions, I'll say that we did not see them having more than a ten year life when we purchased them. They might but that's not the way we envision them. At that point we think of them either as dock toys for home or to be sold at very low prices. Now, personally, we'd probably think of moving on from a Whaler at that point too but far more Whaler owners intend to and will keep them for very long periods of time.

    Now cost of ownership then becomes perhaps the greatest advantage of the Whaler versus a Jet Rib. It starts with the purchase price. Second is the expected life and value at the end of that life. Then comes maintenance.

    I was honestly shocked when first quoted the price of a jet tender. Well, except then when comparing to the Carbon Craft and then even the Castoldi. To think I could purchase a 17 foot runabout for 30-40% less than a tender at first made no sense. But then I realized what a tender would do that the runabout wouldn't and what it takes to build a 10 - 13' boat that I can feel safe using in the way one uses a tender. Frankly, I was a bit scared of something so small. Belle and I had neither one ever been in any boat shorter than around 20' unless you count paddle boats at the park. I was then amazed at how the rib performed and how it handled moderately rough conditions. Just how much it surprised me in how I felt in it. I'm sure the Whaler gives the same. But my point is that once I realized how well designed and built it was, the sticker shock wore off a bit.
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    My experience was with the Yamahas, and on Long Island's south shore. I wasn't intimately associated with their maintenance, but what I saw was a lot of electrolysis, and cylinder issues, and they clogged a lot with the eel grass here. Nobody tended to keep them long.

    Got a kick out of your small boat comment. I grew up on 9' hydroplanes, 12' Skimmers and 14' runabouts. We considered 18' a big boat. The smaller it is the faster a given speed feels. So you can get a real rush at 40 mph. Now that I'm older though I like a comfort factor. 50' is ok.:D
  11. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Well, prior to 2013 nearly all my boating was on Lake Norman in NC. Even today the boats you see there are Bass Boats 18' and above, Pontoons 20' and above and runabouts 18' and above, tons of ski boats 20' and above and a few Sea Ray Sundancers. The lake on a weekday morning is beautiful and peaceful. On a summer Sunday afternoon it's really a bit of a nightmare. Lot's of boating accidents now. And I'll take any 4' ocean seas over the main channel on those days as the waves there are equally rough but coming from all directions. Take a windy day where there would be a normal chop, add a Wake boat (yes boats designed to create nice wakes for jumping also create large ones for everything else) on your port with a pontoon creating it's sizable wake behind it and a runabout starboard running not quite on a plane followed by a Sundancer at the same speed. Then realize that's just the boats closest to you but they are stacked three four and five wide to one side or the other. Oh and five or six just crossed in front of you. At one time you'd see the small skiff's and fishing boats, but they've pretty well disappeared, only occasionally seen during the week now. Rules of navigation? No one follows any. Oh and add to that lots of drunken operators.

    Totally off topic, add to those conditions, that this past spring (we had already sold our home there), the fish from the lake were declared unsafe to eat due to high PCB levels in the water. Sadly navigation markers aren't kept in good repair and shoals often not marked. Then we never saw the lake drawn down more than 4 or 5' during the winter until the last five or six years, but right now many ramps are closed as it's up to 9' down in many areas. And jet skis everywhere. Three drownings on the lake over labor day this year.

    Actually thinking through all that has made me sad. The Lake we loved so, just isn't the same anymore. It hit us hard the first day we went out on the ocean here. We were only five miles or so offshore and it was suddenly like we had the entire ocean to ourselves. One day we used our tender in Beaufort and someone commented to us as to wasn't it a bit rough. To us it was quite calm compared to boating on a Sunday afternoon on the Lake.
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Several issues. The wear ring in the impellor housing is stainless steel pressed into an Aluminum housing, you get corrossion between the two and the wear ring grows into the impellor and has to be changed, which means taking the entire jet apart. This occurs every 2 years on the waverunners I manage that sit on floating docks about 12" above the water. The engines are usually waverunner engines just thrown into the boat, and they're problematic in and of themselves and especially if you're not running a tank of fuel through them a month. Basically high performance engines with multiple carberators, or complicated fuel injected with a lot of parts that can and do break. The engines themselves are run a minimum of 4500rpms with the jet if not 5000 rpms or more just to keep it on plane. Also, if you don't flush the engines it's a big corrossion issue, and if you keep them in the water for several days at a time, you have electrolysis issues. Not to mention nothing comes apart when you need to fix it, because you have s/s bolts into aluminum castings. And the chances of getting something (grass, plastic bag) on the intake grate is good and you have to jump in the water to clear it off. My biggest gripe with the jets is at 7 knots, the engine is at 3500 rpm's noise and vibrating everything and they don't track with a darn at slow speeds.

    Whereas with a 4 stroke yamaha, just keep fuel stabilizer in the fuel and start the thing up everytime you want to use it. Without any of the issues.

    Brian- They did. Boston Whaler had a 13' Alert that had a foam collar all of the way around the boat and it was a great little boat in the early 2000's. For some reason it never took off and they discontinued it.

    RIB's= They do have a softer ride, but do get very wet when you put 4 people in them. The other problem is the lifespan of the tubes is realistically 7 years (if that on some), and they get expensive to re-tube. The whaler has little to no maintanence in comparision to keeping a white RIB, WHITE. The whaler is also unsinkable and the ride actually is pretty good on them with 3 or 4 people in them or 2 guys. They're also very stable. The downside is you have to be careful around the big boat with them, but nothing that a few fenders doesn't fix. But you have a lot more interior room in the whaler for it's length. Keep in mind a 11' RIB is really a 9' boat. And, if you have kids fishing off of them you don't have to worry about puncturing a tube. You still have the wear liner issues and engine issues of the jets and finding parts for the engines (like a weber) can be very difficult travelling. Whereas you can find 4 stroke Yamaha outboard parts darn near anywhere.
  13. CPT2012

    CPT2012 Member

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    CapJ, very good point, looking at the performance of the Boston Whaler 110 I have to agree that it is underpowered with the standard 25hp Mercury provided. But the specs for that boat also list a max engine weight of 180lbs, and they don't show the 40hp Mercury (200+ lbs) as a "factory" option. I'm interested to know how you got to the decision and installation of the 40hp engine, it's something that I'd definitely have to do if I end up with the 110.
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I read and heard they wouldn't get on plane with a 25hp with 3 adults. It is only rated for a 25hp and does void the warranty, but what's there to warranty on an 11' Boston Whaler. It also only does 25 MPH at WOT with the 25hp on it and 1 person. The tender was for a 64' Hatteras and we couldn't fit anything longer than the 11' whaler, a 13' would've been preferred. When you slow down with 400 lbs (2 guys)on the rear bench seat a tad bit of water will come over the transom. If one guy is on the middle bench seat and 1 on the rear, no problem. No problem with 4 people (adults) slowing down or anything. We even had 5 adults in it and it got on plane no problem.....although freeboard was a little close at idle speeds 6" with 5 adults in it. We wanted something that would get on plane with 4 adults and fit 4 adults and a cooler etc in it, or be able to actually tow something (tube, skier etc). It didn't get on plane with a 3 blade prop worth a darn, even with a fin on the cavitation plate or without it. I ended up leaving the fin off. I put the new Mercury aluminum 4 blade that was 11x12" and it jumps on plane in less than 50' with 1-5 people in it. It sits fine with nobody in it. It will run 32 knots (maybe a touch more). However, with 4 adults at 20-24 knots you're running 4000-4500rpms which is perfect......It's also very stable at rest with it's 5' beam......
  15. CPT2012

    CPT2012 Member

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    Great insight, thanks.
  16. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Capt. J, you void more than just the warranty when you overpower or overload a boat. You're voiding the owner's insurance in the event of an accident and subjecting him to a violation by the CG for overloading when you put 5 in a boat with a capacity rating of 4. Now I wouldn't hesitate on my own boat, especially with a Whaler, but it's a different story when you do it for a customer.

    Also, these boats can get radical even under recommended power. Once ended up with my friend in my lap and the motor in the boat behind my seat with my 13 when I caught a wake arong.
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    That is what the owner wanted. With a Capacity of 4 that it's rated for, it won't do over 8mph with the 25hp, or even with 3 adults. It is rated for 4 people or a maximum weight carrying capacity of 845lbs. We never ran the boat more than 25 knots with 4 people, generally around 20 knots which is more than safe and prudent. We simply wanted to get it on plane with more than 2 people. If the owner wants to drive off into the sunset, with a total of 5 people in his Boston Whaler that's his perogative. I'm sure you've overloaded many RIB's to take guests 1/2 a mile to the beach if you looked at the weight carrying capacity of them over the last decade or two. When was the last time you bent over and even looked at the weight carrying capacity of a tender? Nobody does.
  18. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Well, it really doesn't matter how many people do it, to knowingly power a boat over the plate and to knowingly load more persons on it than the plate introduces a potential liability of tremendous proportions. There are a lot of things that can happen on the water in the best of circumstances, but if they happen in those circumstances, whether or not the overpower or overload really contributed to the cause, injured passengers and families of dead passengers will sue and win and insurers will deny coverage. And, yes, I do know what the plates on my tenders say and if it means extra trips or anything else we still don't violate. Our current tenders have a limit of four passengers and they have never been exceeded.

    That points to another advantage of ribs and specifically jet ribs. An 11' Novurania will plane with a 25 hp and is rated for 5 passengers. An 11' Williams Jet will plane quickly and is rated for 4 passengers.

    Yes, it may be safe to go against the plates 99.9% of the time but the liability when something happens is something I would never want to face. Even worse I wouldn't want to face that outside thought or possibility that it had contributed.

    There was a recent discussion of going outside into waters as an owner wanted. Isn't this also where a captain is compelled to say no to an owner?
  19. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Actually, I do check the capacity plates on boats I run if there is any doubt about the number of people we're loading. One of the boats I run during the summer has a dink with a 3 person capacity. I resisted considerable pressure from the owner to overload. Subsequently my capacity plate was checked 3 times during one summer by the Shelter Island marine patrol. I have indeed overloaded my 13 Whaler, but that was before I had a professional responsibility, or was aware of how many people die on the water every year.

    Just the other day I had a situation that illustrates how seriously this is taken. This was on a plane out of DC. The plane was about 2/3 full. The F.A. came over the loudspeaker announcing that the captain had asked for 3 volunteers from the first 5 rows to move to the rear of the plane. Only 2 stood up. She then announced that the plane would not leave the gate until one more volunteered.

    2 summers ago we had two separate incidents involving overloaded boats and lives lost. We discussed here the one with 27 people out for the fireworks in Glen Cove. http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/g...incident-alleged-overloaded-34-silverton.html . In fact you yourself made this comment:
    Remember the furor looking for someone to blame? First call was for the captain even though he was just running as a friend, but he was the professional.
  20. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    And don't think for a second the owner won't often turn on the captain when his back is against the wall. All of a sudden conversations are forgotten and he states strongly that he depended completely on the expertise of the captain in those regards. In fact he may even have a contract that says the Captain has responsibility for safety and compliance. Now the fact is, when it comes to civil litigation, the owner will generally be the one targeted, assuming the owner has more money.