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What to Look For when Buying a RIB Boat?

Rigid inflatable boats are quickly becoming the preferred choice for anglers and other marine enthusiasts.

These boots are designed with a v-shaped hull allowing users to ride at high speeds on top of the water and plenty of maneuverability to navigate any body of water.

what to look for when buying a RIB boat

At the same time, RIB boats are inflatable, meaning they can easily be transported around. However, finding the right rigid inflatable boat can be a tough decision.

That’s because there is a wide range of factors to consider, such as the materials, size, construction, and other features.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to look for when buying a RIB boat. Let’s begin!

What to Look For When Buying a RIB Boat? 

Nowadays, there are so many RIB boats available and plenty of unique designs, making you feel confused.

Without knowing what you’re looking for, you’ll run in circles trying to find something that is right for you.

Don’t worry; we’ve broken down purchasing a RIB into several categories.

Hull Shape 

Emaxusa Inflatable Boats for Adults Aluminum Transom 4 Person Mini Fishing Boat
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Hull shapes for RIBs typically come in a V-shape. However, some have a deeper V-hull depending on the boat, while others have a flatter shape. Deep V-hulls enable the boat to cut through the waves at fast speeds easily. That’s because the hull can get on the plane rather than ride against the currents.

Flatter hulls are better suited for casual fishing trips in steady waters such as a lake or pond. These hull shapes help users to feel stable while fishing in shallow waters. However, since they don’t have keels and they lack directional stability. Flat hulls are only designed for traveling at low speeds for short distances.

Tube Size 

HydroForce Caspian Pro 9'3" Inflatable Boat
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Tube size is incredibly important to consider depending on what you plan on using it for. The smaller the diameter of the tubes are, the less stability and capacity your boat has. In contrast, larger size tubes have greater stability. Smaller tubes lead to a bumpy and rough ride, while larger diameter tubes provide passengers a safe and comfortable experience.

Material 

Most RIB boats are constructed from either Hypalon or PC. Hypalon is a synthetic rubber material, and PVC is a synthetic plastic polymer.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

 ProsCons
PVC Fabric
  • More affordable option of the two
  • Much lighter, making PVC boats more portable
  • Seams can be glued
  • When PVC is dry, it’s not very resistant to abrasion
  • It doesn’t respond well to extreme weathers
  • They have a shorter life cycle and may be damaged from UV rays
Hypalon 
  • Repairing is quick since you can apply a patch while onshore
  • Highly resistant to abrasion and unaffected to UV rays or extreme weathers
  • Hypalon doesn’t deteriorate or get brittle over time
  • Hypalon tends to be more expensive PVC due to it’s higher quality
  • Color may fade out when material is left out in the sun
  • Hypalon gets dirty more easily from it’s porous finish

Welded Seams

BRIS 8.2 Ft Inflatable Boat Inflatable Pontoon Dinghy Raft Tender Boat with Air-Deck Floor
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When it comes to investing in a RIB, it’s important to check the quality of the seams.

All rafts are made up of multiple panels that are held together by seams. If the seams were to fall apart mid-trip, the air in the tube would quickly leak out of the boat.

Generally, there are two methods of bonding the seams on a RIB: glued seams and welded seams.

We recommend welded seams because glued seams are more prone to failure. That’s because the glue can lose its holding strength over time, and the process can happen quicker in highly humid conditions.

Glue also can’t be repaired on the field, meaning it’s impossible to do any emergency patch-up work.

Since glue must be manually applied onto the seams, laborers may provide inconsistent adhesion from one seam to the next.

In contrast, welded seams have greater strength and won’t wear down over time. Furthermore, welded seams can be quickly fixed in the field using a hand-held welding device.

Self-Bailing System

HydroForce Caspian Pro 9'3" Inflatable Boat
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Have you ever thought about what you should do if water flows into your boat? A RIB comes with either a self-bailing or bucket system.

Self-bailing boats have drain holes positioned where the outer tubes are attached to the floor. When water splashes into the vessel, it flows across the floor and down into the drain holes.

In contrast, bucket boats have a higher clearance on the sides to prevent water from coming over the sides. However, this is only effective in Class I to II water, where the water level is low. Rough water conditions can easily splash over rocks and get into your boat.

You can use bucket boats for low water levels while high water levels or rough conditions require a self-bailing system.

Documents

documents provided to own a boat

If you’re purchasing a new RIB, you have the option of buying from an authorized dealer or directly from a manufacturer. During the purchase of the boat, you’ll want to inspect certain details in the documentation, such as:

  • The boat needs to be constructed to minimum RCD standards
  • Sea trials should be written in the contract
  • There should be an agreed delivery date in the purchase agreement
  • You should receive a builder’s certificate directly from the boat builder

However, if you choose to buy a used RIB, you’ll be saving a lot of money. But you’ll need to carefully inspect the watercraft to ensure it’s free from defects.

  • Make sure the engine connections and hoses aren’t damaged
  • Find out the number of hours  on the engine
  • Check if there is any propeller damage
  • Look for any visual distortions on the boat, such as the hull

Are RIB Boats Worth It?

it is worth buying a RIB boat

As with any recreational boat, it’s important to choose the boat that best suits your needs. RIBs are ideal for fishing, exploring, and diving. They’re incredibly sturdy and spacious, so you can bring your family along and store lots of gear.

If you’re deciding between a soft inflatable boat (SIB) versus a rigid inflatable boat (RIB), investing in a RIB is definitely worth the extra cost.

SIB’s are lightweight, making them easier to flip over, meaning they aren’t designed for deep or rough waters. Furthermore, they sit lower to the water, causing you to get wet on your ride.

Ultimately, if you’re looking to move faster or ride in deep waters, we recommend RIB boats. However, if you only plan to go shallow fishing, you can save some money by getting yourself a SIB boat.

Are RIB Boats Easy to Maintain?

Owning a RIB is an investment, meaning that you’ll need to care for and maintain the vessel properly.

By doing so, you can drastically increase the lifespan of your RIB, and identify problems before it leads to costly repairs.

RIB boats are easy to maintain because they do not require polishing, unlike hard-sized boats.

With a few simple maintenance and cleaning measures, you can keep your RIB boat looking clean and functioning like new for a very long time.

Clean Your RIB Boat Regularly

STAR BRITE Rib & Inflatable Boat Cleaner & Protector
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After every use, it’s important to follow-up with a good wash down, especially if you used your watercraft in saltwater. Saltwater has corrosive qualities which can damage or wear down our boat. Clean the interior elements and deck spaces using a soft bristle brush.

Since RIB boats are usually made of PVC fabric or Hypalon, it’s important to use RIB-safe cleaning products that don’t contain chemicals that could damage your inflatable dinghy. Avoid using cleaning products with chemicals such as:

  • Ammonia cleaner
  • Acetone
  • Toluene
  • Bleach
  • MEK
  • High-alkaline cleaner
  • Any other abrasives like steel wool

We recommend cleaners such as the 3M Marine Vinyl Cleaner , Star Brite Inflatable Boat Cleaner , or Amazon’s inflatable boat cleaner .

These cleaners help eliminate stubborn stains, dirt, and grime. Some will even provide a layer of UV protection to prevent the sun rays from damaging your dinghy.

Store Your RIB Safely

maintain a RIB boat properly

After you’ve finished cleaning the boat, it’s imperative that you store your RIB properly to prevent deterioration and damage.

Here are several rules to follow when storing your vessel:

  • Always store the boat while it’s dry. Leaving wet spots on your RIB can lead to mold and mildew forming.
  • If you are leaving the RIB out in the sun, make sure to cover it. UV rays can degrade the rubber or PVC fabric slowly.
  • Ideally, keep your RIB boat inflated when storing. Although deflating the inflatable dinghy can save space, the siding is prone to deforming and causes creases. These bends can result in weak spots, where punctures can occur.
  • Unplug the battery when storing your vessel to extend the battery life and prevent electrical damage.

Conclusion

Now you know why RIB boats are so awesome! They’re sturdy, fast, and safe to use.

RIB boats have lots of room, allowing you to bring guests. And its sturdy design lets you fish without feeling like you’re standing on a wobbly surface.

Not to mention, you’re still getting the convenience of an inflatable since it’s easy to transport.

If you’re looking for a type of boat that gives you the most bang-for-your-buck, RIB boats are the best option!


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