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Old 02 December 2011, 17:39   #1
Country: USA
Town: Pacific Beach
Boat name: Dash II
Make: Willard
Length: 7m +
Engine: Cummins
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 564
What is the advantage of a rib over a regular boat?

I currently own a 14ft Novurania. I bought it so that i could go to Catalina Island and legally park on the dinghy docks. It has been a lots of fun, but crossing 37 miles of open ocean in a 14ft boat can get a little spicey at times, and i usually have to stay under 20mph.
I have decided to upgrade to a bigger boat, and have been thinking about the 733 w/twin outboards. I am sure it will be much more stable, and a lot faster.
I know that one advantage to a rib is that it is lighter weight.
i have found that one disadvantage is the maintenance on the tubes. Keeping the air pressure dialed in, and having to cover, to minimize the UV damage.
733's are big bucks. It appears i can get a decent Boston Whaler for maybe a little less.
I would appreciate any input on what is the advantage of me staying with the rib.


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Old 02 December 2011, 17:57   #2
Country: UK - England
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You can fit safety valves to the tubes to avoid the risk of overinflation.

Chris Stevens

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Old 03 December 2011, 00:18   #3
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Country: USA
Town: Orange County, CA
Boat name: Northwind
Make: Northwind
Length: 10m +
Engine: Twin Yamaha 350's
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I routinely make the crossing from San Pedro to Catalina in one of my three RIB's; a 22' Hurricane, a 28' HBI or a 36' Nautica, but you don't need a RIB for that crossing.

Honestly, you'd be money ahead if you got a Parker or some other center console/pilothouse skiff for the trip. Your wife and/or kids would have a more comfortable trip in a boat like that versus an open RIB and be more likely to engage in more boat trips.

But to answer your first question, the advantage of a RIB for me is having a sponsoned boat that I can lay up against just about any other vessel or surface and not worry about hurting my boat or the other boat, and that's about it, none of my boats depend on the tube for buoyancy, so that's a moot point.
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Old 03 December 2011, 02:35   #4
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a rib will always float, even when full with water!
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Old 03 December 2011, 05:04   #5
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A Boston Whaler floats while full of water too.
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Old 03 December 2011, 06:40   #6
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Originally Posted by Festinghouse View Post
a rib will always float, even when full with water!
Think about it...a rib will float when full of water, and with all the tubes punctured...therefore so will a hardboat although Boston Whalers are certainly the only ones to sell themselves on this.
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Old 03 December 2011, 06:41   #7
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Is a rib really lighter than the equivalent size of Boston Whaler? I wouldn't have thought there was much in it if you were looking at similar qualities of construction.

Comparing a "rib" to a "hardboat" is a bit general. Within the RIB "genre" there are some boats which are better for some things than others, just as there are in the Hardboat world.

The "archetypal" RIB has a pretty deep V-hull which makes it good in rough water but won't deliver the same speed for the power on the back that less "severe" hulls might. The tubes bring buoyancy, extra seating (although generally for shorter trips) and stability at rest (although depending on loading not all ribs tick the last box). The tubes also seem to make high speed turns "better" than in many hard boats, but again the design of hull could make a big difference for either). Some people also claim that the tubes act as "shock absorbers" in rough stuff helping make the trip more comfortable. Climbing in and out of the water over a tube is generally easier than over a hard boat gunwhale (for swimmers, divers, skiers etc) and if need be a tube can be deflated to make getting really big people back on board easier. The giant fender also helps protect your and other peoples boats from damage when coming alongside. The "unsinkability" isn't unique to RIBs, although I have seen hard boats which claim to be "unsinkable" but that just means its at the surface of the water not actually drivable - a well designed rib should be drivable when full of water to let you get the water back out through the scuppers/trunks.

On the "downside" typically the tubes encroach on the beam of the boat so take up space, and can need some tlc/maintainence (although so do topsides and gunwhales when subjected to abuse!). Storage space is often limited on ribs, and cabins/wheelhouses for shelter/comfort are more unusual.

There are many people in the UK driving ribs because they "look cool" rather than because they actually sat down and worked out what they needed from a boat.

For average family, nice weather boating I don't think people really need a rib. But 37 miles of open sea is quite exposed so if that is a regular trip (and especially if you have to do it to get back home once the weather might have degraded) I think a RIB is a sensible consideration, but as someone else alluded to your family might prefer a roof, I know that is one of Mrs P's "preferences" for any future upgrade. There is a distinct difference between the UK and US markets, and Rib prices are a bit more competitive here so that is probably not a major influencer in the decision. I believe that boat design evolves to the local circumstances and environment and so if everyone else isn't using ribs for that sort of trip they are probably not any better. (Even within the UK there is a distinct difference between RIBs which are popular on the Sunny South Coast where people are usually going short trips for family fun; and those which are popular in the NW and Ireland, where trips are often longer and the weather is less likely to encourage bikini wearing!). If you think a more "rugged" rib will get used more then the US price premium might be justified over 'local styled craft'.
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Old 03 December 2011, 10:20   #8
Country: Ireland
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for me the main advantage of a rib is the ease of getting into it aftyer a dive/swim/snorkle. I also believe that small ribs (less than 5m) are far more stable that a hard boat of a similar size.
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Old 03 December 2011, 11:04   #9
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This has been covered before in great detail

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Old 03 December 2011, 12:49   #10
Country: USA
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Originally Posted by ncp View Post
A Boston Whaler floats while full of water too.
Actually, all US-sold boats under (26 feet? 22?) have been required by the USCG to have flotation foam for quite a few years. Many have gone the same route as BW and completely filled the underdeck area. BW is no longer alone in that area. The requirement is for enough foam to keep the vessel at the surface when swamped (which in most cases means hanging vertically with a bit of the bow above water.)

To me, the RIB is more stable when on the hook, which makes sitting between dives more comfortable, and makes gearing up and such easier. I believe that, aside from Polwarts doubts, RIB's are lighter than an equivalent hard boat (though construction plays a large role in figuring; I'm thinking like-for-like here.) RIB's win hands down on load capacity.

Downsides are there as well: Tubes are more delicate than fiberglass (appearance notwithstanding); loss of space due to tube diameter, general lack of workable accessories available (at least in the US), attractiveness to vandals ("Hey, let's go pop that boat...")

Still, in my mind, the benefits win by a pretty large margin.


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