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Old 26 June 2018, 17:58   #1
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Hello from Reading/And some questions

Hi All, complete newbie to this forum as well as boating. Have been planning on getting a cruiser boat for some time but the wise Mrs is worried that I may not use it as often as I proudly claim (I do this a lot ). Hence, shifting my focus to SIB/RIB- mainly to see if boating is something we will enjoy and that the boat will be put to use more.

Our primary usage will be on Thames river (Goring/Reading/Maidenhead etc.), for leisure purposes (cruising I guess).

Brilliant advise on this forum and I am slowly trying to get answers to most of them but would appreciate if someone could advise on a few quick questions.

1. In terms of legal paperwork, for an SIB/RIB, I would need an boat insurance and boat license. Anything else?

2. How do you decide the apt length of the boat? It will mainly be my wife, our 1.5 years old son and I (us being in our mid thirties). Would a 4m be an overkill or it is good to have additional space.

3. Tagging on the previous question, is it advisable to go boating with a 1.5 year old? Is it too soon and should I hold on buying something for a couple of more years? Life jackets will be a must for all of us, anyway.

4. For now, I am keen on 4m SIB with 20hp OB. Does this sound like a reasonable combination given the size of the group? I will keep an eye on the classifieds to see if anything comes up for a good price.

5. I am planning to do a day-course at Bisham Sailing School on the basics i.e. boat handling, rules of the road, operating the locks, safety etc. Is this reasonable/logical to kick-start my first journey. Of course, if any kind SIB/RIB owner in and around Reading is planning on a trip and won't mind a crew member, I am more than happy to assist and get a feel for this new hobby.

Any advise is appreciated. Glad to be part of this community.
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Old 27 June 2018, 03:05   #2
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Hi MP and welcome to the forum.

Big jump from cruiser thoughts to getting a SIB but actually it will give you an idea of the general faff vs pleasure of boating. Dad had seagoing or river based craft much of his life and there is no doubt the capital outlay, mooring, maintenance, registration/licence and gadget buying costs vs usage time was a balance he struggled to justify. But those sunny days when you went out pushed all those thoughts away.

So here I am with all that background yet totally content to bob about in a SIB for my on the water pleasure.

Re your questions....

1. Yep insurance is a good move and a requirement of many rivers and some launch sites. Most rivers need a yearly or at least day pass registration.

2. Extra space is always good and your family could happily fit in a 3.4m so yes 4m is more than you need.

3. Some people boat with children from birth and it is just down to being organised and realising how long is long enough for a youngster. Get a sun brolly though as young kids can soon have too much sun and often on the water there is no shade in open craft.

4. I am not familiar with the speed limits of the rivers you will use but I assume 4-6kts?? If so a 20HP outboard is complete overkill and a fair weight to lug around. 4HP would probably be sufficient with anything 6-10hp giving an extra bit in hand if you wanted. However if you do buy around 4m and have ideas of going to sea then 20HP is ideal.

5. Any training is a good start although on the river you can't come to too much harm self learning. After all you'd be allowed a 40ft hire cruiser with just 15mins of a guy giving the basics.

Have you had any thoughts about storage and if you will set the SIB up daily or perhaps use a trailer. This is very important to your choice and there is loads in the pinned thread "Which SIB"to help.

Will the budget be new or a used outfit?

David
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Old 27 June 2018, 11:02   #3
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You will need a Boat Safety Certificate (BSS) if you have fixed electrical / fuel system.

https://www.gov.uk/register-a-boat

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Old 27 June 2018, 16:24   #4
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Hi David,

Thanks for your reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
Big jump from cruiser thoughts to getting a SIB
You can say that. I did toy with the idea of buying a day boat instead (Bayliner to be specific) but the mooring costs averaging around £450/metre in my area, I decided not to go ahead.

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Some people boat with children from birth and it is just down to being organised and realising how long is long enough for a youngster.
Agree 100%. We do intend to take it a bit slow at the start with our son's comfort being primary and maybe start pushing it once we feel he is comfortable.

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Get a sun brolly though as young kids can soon have too much sun and often on the water there is no shade in open craft.
Great idea. Will look at some options for a sun shade.

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I am not familiar with the speed limits of the rivers you will use but I assume 4-6kts?? If so a 20HP outboard is complete overkill and a fair weight to lug around. 4HP would probably be sufficient with anything 6-10hp giving an extra bit in hand if you wanted. However if you do buy around 4m and have ideas of going to sea then 20HP is ideal.
I read somewhere that it is 5 knots in the Reading area but can't recollect where I read it. Your advise on the engine is crucial as by downgrading I may end up saving some money. For us, at this point, speed is absolutely not important, in fact it is the contrary that we need considering the little one on board. I will check out some options for a lower engine power but any suggestions to go for in this range?

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Any training is a good start although on the river you can't come to too much harm self learning. After all you'd be allowed a 40ft hire cruiser with just 15mins of a guy giving the basics.
The course that I am planning for is 8 hours long and best of all, I can choose the vessel in which I want the training delivered. They have many types of vessels and luckily an inflatable RIB is one of them, which is what I will be choosing. Also, the training is not only about boat handling but safety, lock maneuver, speed, rules of the road etc. You never know how good it will be but worth a try to give me some confidence.

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Have you had any thoughts about storage and if you will set the SIB up daily or perhaps use a trailer. This is very important to your choice and there is loads in the pinned thread "Which SIB"to help.
This is the biggest concern and a bit complicated. We do not have storage for an inflated boat and neither can we accommodate a trailer. On top, I do not have a tow bar on my car. I can add an aftermarket one but that will cost another £1000. So the initial plan is to inflate/deflate each time (which will be once probably every 2-3 weeks in summer) but if it becomes cumbersome, and I am sure it will at some point, the nearest Marina has a reasonable flat fee for storing an inflatable which I will consider.

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Will the budget be new or a used outfit?
I am open to both actually. If there is a bargain deal, I am happy to go for an used outfit, but if the saving is minimal, I would rather buy a new one as that will still hold some resale value.
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Old 27 June 2018, 17:28   #5
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Originally Posted by MysticPuzzle View Post
This is the biggest concern and a bit complicated. We do not have storage for an inflated boat and neither can we accommodate a trailer. On top, I do not have a tow bar on my car. I can add an aftermarket one but that will cost another £1000. So the initial plan is to inflate/deflate each time (which will be once probably every 2-3 weeks in summer) but if it becomes cumbersome, and I am sure it will at some point, the nearest Marina has a reasonable flat fee for storing an inflatable which I will consider.

Ease of assembly needs to be your number one priority, if itís a pain to get it on the water you wonít use it.

You should be looking for an inflatable with an air floor. You wonít be going fast, or in choppy water, so the basic flat floor design will be fine.

Donít go too big as it will be cumbersome and heavy. A 3.4m boat will be plenty big enough for the three of you and is a lot more manageable ashore than a 4m inflatable.

A 4 or 5hp engine will be plenty. A 2 cylinder 4-stroke will be quite and smoother than a single cylinder or old-school 2-stroke.

Set your ambitions low when youíre starting with small children and leave them wanting more each time. Making ice cream the objective of an expedition always goes down well.
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Old 27 June 2018, 17:53   #6
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Well power Boat level II would be a good idea with VHF radio corse
Inflatable would be the cheapest option until you decide that Boating is for you Excel 360/390 or Honwave T3.8would be the starting point anything from 6hp to20hp would be good for the time being the small engine would get you up on the plane just with two people but mostly at displacement speed the 20hp would be good pritty much anything from rivers to sea trips remember we can only advice you but most people who buy the small boats always sells and get bigger Boat within the year so think about it before you buy
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Old 27 June 2018, 18:08   #7
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As HH says RYA PB2 is the normal goto course for new skippers. Itís two days rather than one. One day would still be better than nothing and time on directly comparable boats or your own is worth way more than time at the wheel of something totally different.

My one word of caution would be, as a general rule, I am not a huge fan of sailing clubs running PB courses. Obviously some do it very well but many predominantly do it to train their dinghy rescue crews who rarely travel at very high speed (and often in boats rigged for coaching / towing rather than cruising), probably donít do much navigation or passage planning, generally avoid the shipping lanes etc. But if location, recommendation, or willingness to do own boat training is swinging you that way it may still be a good choice.
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Old 27 June 2018, 18:26   #8
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OK so storage, travelling the SIB in your car and ease of setting up at the launch site is probably the major item to sort out in your mind.

Have you sussed the air floor vs alloy floor difference?

I would advise an air floor around 3.5m as your partner/wife will be looking after young 'un and you will be doing a single person setup. In that circumstance something like 4m alloy floor will be loads of faff.

A 6hp motor will be quite sufficient for the use you describe and they are often 10kg lighter than the 8 or 9.8hp motors so further hassle saving.

Used outfits offer great value but you do need to know what to look for so I'll pitch you a starting idea...

Zodiac 3.6m air floor and 6hp Mariner...

Ron Hale Marine Ltd - Zodiac Cadet Fastroller 360 Acti-V

Ron Hale Marine Ltd - Mercury F6M

Used this combo would be around £1000 less at 6-10yrs old. You could save £500-£700 on that Zodiac by going to a Honwave or similar brand (no shame in that, decent SIBs).

Come back with some thoughts which will help refine ideas.
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Old 28 June 2018, 01:01   #9
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Quote:
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Well power Boat level II would be a good idea with VHF radio corse
Inflatable would be the cheapest option until you decide that Boating is for you Excel 360/390 or Honwave T3.8would be the starting point anything from 6hp to20hp would be good for the time being the small engine would get you up on the plane just with two people but mostly at displacement speed the 20hp would be good pritty much anything from rivers to sea trips remember we can only advice you but most people who buy the small boats always sells and get bigger Boat within the year so think about it before you buy

A VHF wouldnít be useful for him at the moment as heís only planning to go on the non-tidal Thames. Something to consider in the future if he decides to venture further afield though.
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Old 28 June 2018, 04:53   #10
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Ease of assembly needs to be your number one priority, if itís a pain to get it on the water you wonít use it.

You should be looking for an inflatable with an air floor. You wonít be going fast, or in choppy water, so the basic flat floor design will be fine.

Donít go too big as it will be cumbersome and heavy. A 3.4m boat will be plenty big enough for the three of you and is a lot more manageable ashore than a 4m inflatable.

A 4 or 5hp engine will be plenty. A 2 cylinder 4-stroke will be quite and smoother than a single cylinder or old-school 2-stroke.

Set your ambitions low when youíre starting with small children and leave them wanting more each time. Making ice cream the objective of an expedition always goes down well.
I agree with this. I used to have a 3.25m aero-floor SIB with a 10HP which I used on the Thames regularly (Berkshire area) - I had it in a small box trailer but you could get it in an estate car. I would say this is the ideal set-up for this. I had family of 5 (kids were smaller then), plus a cool-box and dry bags - all fine in this size.

I then upgraded to a 5.5m RIB with 90HP (obviously a totally different rig). Used it twice on Thames, but there are not that many places to launch and store a trailer.
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Old 28 June 2018, 08:28   #11
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Thanks everyone for the wealth of advise. I will be looking into the PB Level 2 training.

As for the setup, I will go for a smaller size and power i.e. 3.6m and 6hp. Both Zodiac and Honwave look good and reasonably priced with the Zodiac being circa £600 dearer. Reading various threads I realize there are other items which I will probably need to buy (being a first timer) so wanted to make a list and then based on the overall cost, will decide between Zodiac and Honwave.

I know there is a thread on what everyone's kit contains but, pardon my ignorance, I don't know what half of them are or what half of them do. So, would appreciate if someone could advise on my below "Must have" and "Good to have (if budget allows)" list and suggest if anything I may need?

Must-Have
Insurance
License
Life jackets (any recommendations?)
Some sort of sun shade for son
Transom wheels
Air pump
Outboard lock (for insurance purposes)
Fuel can (would 12L suffice?)
Fuel line (is this normally supplied with a new engine or has to be bought separately?)

Good-To-Have
Engine cover
Waterproof phone cover
Hand trolley/truck

Thanks again to everyone for being patient, supportive and encouraging.
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Old 28 June 2018, 09:32   #12
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In the must haves only comments are... Decide between a kayak style buoyancy aid, foam medium support buoyancy aid/lifejacket or an air cyl inflated lifejacket. I'd have a Google round inc the RNLI info. Get an elec air pump as you will be the only one pumping I'd guess. 12l fuel tank is the standard for outboards that have a sep tank (some are integral) and included from new and mostly the used sales have them too. If an external tank type the fuel line is included**.

And good to haves... A basic engine hood cover or full outboard bag does stop scratches and keep the car clean. Yep even on the river you might slip in so keep the phone waterproof. I use one of those tuppaware type food containers with the 4 clips and rubber seal then everyone on board puts their phone in. If you are having to carry the folded SIB any distance to the water's edge and are single handed a small folding trolley is ideal.

**Note I've just checked and that Mariner 6hp I linked to has an integral tank but also the connection to plug in an external tank... so either carry a 5/10l fuel can or spend and extra £50 or so on 12l tank and line. I prefer an external tank to save topping up from a can on the river.

Remember... the outboard and SIB I linked to are not the only choices out there... just a starter to get your eye in. It might be if you buy new the distance to a dealer for this or that brand is an important factor.
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Old 28 June 2018, 10:46   #13
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Quote:
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>>>

**Note I've just checked and that Mariner 6hp I linked to has an integral tank but also the connection to plug in an external tank... so either carry a 5/10l fuel can or spend and extra £50 or so on 12l tank and line. I prefer an external tank to save topping up from a can on the river.>>>>
I've got one of these (Mercury 6Hp) as an aux and the integral fuel tank is tiny (1.1 ltr). Lasts less than half an hour so it's plumbed in.
Think for a 6HP you'd want an external tank
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Old 28 June 2018, 11:28   #14
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Looks like a good list - don't forget Kill Cord and some light lines for mooring (especially in locks on the Thames).

Agree with Fenlander on the electric pump and Buoyancy aids - that's what I used for this size SIB.
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Old 28 June 2018, 15:18   #15
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I've got one of these (Mercury 6Hp) as an aux and the integral fuel tank is tiny (1.1 ltr). Lasts less than half an hour so it's plumbed in.
Think for a 6HP you'd want an external tank
Last Tango, yep, I did look into the inbuilt fuel capacity and realized it was limited hence concluded that I will definitely need a Fuel Can and fuel line. Would a fuel line come as default with the engine if I am buying new, even if it has an inbuilt capacity?
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Old 28 June 2018, 15:22   #16
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Looks like a good list - don't forget Kill Cord and some light lines for mooring (especially in locks on the Thames).

Agree with Fenlander on the electric pump and Buoyancy aids - that's what I used for this size SIB.
Thanks totallydave. Is there a name for these "light lines" that I can google to see some options? I always knew I would need these but never knew what they are called.

Also, would I need an Anchor? The little one may grow impatient sitting in the sib and we may have to moor somewhere for him to walk/run around.
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Old 28 June 2018, 15:39   #17
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Last Tango, yep, I did look into the inbuilt fuel capacity and realized it was limited hence concluded that I will definitely need a Fuel Can and fuel line. Would a fuel line come as default with the engine if I am buying new, even if it has an inbuilt capacity?
The engine comes with a change-over valve on the side and there's a standard Mercury fuel line fitting on the front. The fuel lines aren't expensive and the engine dealer will keep you right.
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