RIBs, sometimes referred to as rigid inflatable boats or rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) are lightweight, high performance, and high capacity boats fitted with inflatable tubes or collars. Before purchasing your first RIB, it can be helpful to learn more about them to make the shopping a little easier.
Exploring the History of Rigid Inflatable Boats
This type of inflatable boat traces back to the United Kingdom. While the first patent for this type of boat was awarded in 1969, it was in 1964 that the production of the boat began. It was during the later portion of the 1960s that manufacturers experimented with using a fiberglass hull instead of a plywood hull when designing the boat. Fiberglass was later rejected as an option because it could not hold up in harsh weather. It was not until nearly a decade later in the middle of the 1970s when inflatables like these were introduced to the United States.
Exploring Different Hull Types
When shopping for a RIB, you will have your choice of a hull made out of steel, aluminum, wood, or glass-reinforced plastic. It is also very common for a hull to have a combination of these materials in order to reap the individual benefits of each material. Examples of this would be using wood for the skeleton of the hull and reinforcing the wood with the glass-reinforced plastic in order to give the hull strength. The glass-reinforced plastic is a popular choice because it provides a clean, smooth, and durable finish.
Exploring Different Tube Types
A rigid inflatable boat will almost always have several inflatable tubes as opposed to just having one. The purpose of this is to prevent the boat from deflating if one of the tubes were to puncture or experience an air leak. There are many different materials that tubing can be made of. Tubing made out of natural materials is a less popular choice because the materials will degrade overtime. This is especially true if the tubing is exposed to a lot of sunlight. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, are far less prone to corroding.
Exploring Why You Want a RIB
As you are browsing through different rigid inflatable boats in order to choose the right one for your needs, you should consider what you plan on using the boat for as well. Certain types of RIBs will be more suited for diving while others are more suited for cruising and sporting. Very small RIBs, for example, are ideal if you intend to use the boat as a safety boat. Divers, on the other hand, need a RIB with a single helm and plenty of deck space for their diving equipment. Divers also want RIBs with large and sturdy-enough tubes for them to sit or stand on the tube before diving into the water.
Whether you are a diver, you enjoy water sports, or you need a safety or rescue boat, a RIB is a great choice. Hopefully, this information can make your shopping venture a little easier.