The mighty RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) is a true power horse. Their strength and robustness has made them an invaluable asset for a whole host of industries. Today you will see RIBs used by the military and police, as rescue boats and commercial workboats, as superyacht tenders, and as watersports and family pleasure boats.
Their versatility, stability, low draught and impressive performance mean they can weather the elements and withstand the occasional bump.
RIBs are named for their sturdy, solid hull and inflatable tube system which gives them exceptional buoyancy even if a large amount of water ends up aboard in bad sea conditions. Many models offer removable tube systems to enable easy maintenance. The hull is designed for maximum performance, a deep V hull at the bow to cut through the water, with a flat area at the stern to maximize hydroplaning. The result is a vessel able to navigate through most seas, as comfortable as a dive boat in the tropics as it is an expedition tender in the Arctic.
The concept of the RIB was first conceived by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in 1964 to reduce the wear on the bottom of inflatable inshore life rafts. Today their applications are numerous. Within the leisure market, the RIB is the perfect day cruiser and watersports boat. Enjoy family days waterskiing or wake-boarding, use it for scuba diving or cruise along the coast exploring hidden coves and beaches.
RIBs can range from a three metre tender with paddles or small outboard engine, to an 18 metre luxury cruiser. In general however, they tend to fall between four and nine metres. They are often propelled by one or more outboard engines, or an inboard engine with stern drive or water jet. Inboard engines allow some of the larger models to offer a swim platform, desirable to those using them as leisure vessels. RIBs up to seven metres in length can be towed making them appealing as cost-effective and versatile leisure boats.
RIBs can be driven directly from the outboard engine on smaller models or from a centre console or cockpit complete with seating, a windshield and navigational equipment on larger vessels. Indeed, these larger models can have hard-tops or wheelhouses offering protection to crew and passengers.
As a leisure boat RIBs can be equipped with luxury extras such as fridges, swim platforms, canopies, cleverly-designed storage areas, stereo systems, suspension seats and forward and aft sunpads. Newer luxury models such as the Pirelli Pzero 1100 are now being designed with a forward cabin.
There are dozens of RIB manufacturers globally, and you can see new and used models for sale on Rightboat.com. Zodiac, today a household name, have produced over one million RIBs worldwide, while companies such as Ribeye, Brig, Fabio Buzzi, Goldfish, Pirelli Pzero, Williams and SACS are major players, producing hard-wearing, fun, robust boats.
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