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Old 20 July 2019, 10:15   #1
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Little love for RIBs in U.S.?

Unlike in the UK, EU and Australia, there seems to be little interest in RIBs in the U.S. Not sure why. I’m pretty much sold on the concept, however.

I posted the following on a popular boat forum in the U.S. The best anyone could come up with is agreeing with the point that there’s not as much deck space on a RIB compared to a solid hull.

Pros
  • Basically, one big fender (except at the engine).
  • Lighter weight boat for size: less engine power required and easier to tow; thus, more economical.
  • Very stable under way.
  • Surprisingly safe - lots of commercial, law enforcement, search and rescue and military users.
  • Utilitarian – no unnecessary farkle (like fake wood on the dash, LOL).
  • Smoother ride (in theory).
  • Less cosmetic upkeep; less fiberglass to polish.
  • Possibly lower price (Zodiac, yes; Ribcraft, not so much).
Cons
  • Less deck space for fishing and such (but I’m only a half-hearted fisherman).
  • Not necessarily pretty.
  • Tubes can be punctured (yikes
  • Somewhat pricey for “buying air.”
  • Tubes may not last as long as fiberglass gunwales (however, with Zodiacs at least, the tube set can be replaced pretty easily – slide off old, slide on new).
  • Resale may not be as good as a solid-hull boat.
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Old 20 July 2019, 14:37   #2
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Hi WXing,

I think there are several factors.
1) In a lot of the US you get nicer weather, particularly further South, which lends itself to longer days of recreational use compared to NW Europe, where we consider goretex and dry suits most of the time
2) fuel cost is significantly lower in the US, so where we run a single outboard on a relatively light rib you guys have the economic ability to run twin larger engines. This gives you the option of running larger hard boats. I think a lot of larger centre consoles would have a similar feeling of security as the smaller ribs we run.
3) you have better boating infrastructure, (e.g.docks, on the water fuelling) so its easier to be a recreational boater. See (1)

So, while I'm a huge rib believer, if I was living in the US I'd probably have centre console with twin 300s on the back.
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Old 20 July 2019, 19:32   #3
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Originally Posted by Iron Dials View Post
Hi WXing,

I think there are several factors.
1) In a lot of the US you get nicer weather, particularly further South, which lends itself to longer days of recreational use compared to NW Europe, where we consider goretex and dry suits most of the time
2) fuel cost is significantly lower in the US, so where we run a single outboard on a relatively light rib you guys have the economic ability to run twin larger engines. This gives you the option of running larger hard boats. I think a lot of larger centre consoles would have a similar feeling of security as the smaller ribs we run.
3) you have better boating infrastructure, (e.g.docks, on the water fuelling) so its easier to be a recreational boater. See (1)

So, while I'm a huge rib believer, if I was living in the US I'd probably have centre console with twin 300s on the back.
Good points. I'm a cheap accountant, though. LOL I find the economy of RIBs attractive.
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Old 20 July 2019, 20:12   #4
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Towing weight is an issue too. Not many diesel Ford F-350s and the like running around over there.
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Old 21 July 2019, 04:18   #5
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Towing weight is an issue too. Not many diesel Ford F-350s and the like running around over there.
Not just the weight the vehicle can pull, extra licensing if you're over 3.5 tonnes.

Just back from Florida and had major truck envy!
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Old 21 July 2019, 04:43   #6
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What do people do on their RIBs Vs hard boats.

Clearly there is overlap. But I get the impression Americans like big fish fishing. While do-able on a RIB not sure the RIB adds much.

RIBs offer better stability compared to hard boats of same size. But if your waters don't produce instability you don't care.

Hard boats on flat waters may go faster. Americans seem to like faster

Hard boats more likely to offer cabin features as size increases. Cabin = shelter from sun. Cabin = somewhere to keep a load of electronics to tell you where you are dry. You can likely see where you are, but obviously if someone designed electronics to tell you where you are then you must have them as it's all a willy waving competition.

Or... perhaps you need to upgrade your machine gun to waterproof version in a rib?

(Yes this post is full of stereotypes).

In the UK, I think ribbers tend to be a bit multifunctional. Passage makers, beach players, safety cover for the kids doing another water sport, Ringo towing. Do US hard boat owners have kids that sail or kayak?

Us has lots of marina space. Not sure they ever swing moor! Marina means no towing, no launching. Hard boats less affected by marina

Final stereotype... A lots of the US shore has not a lot to it. There are less bays, coves etc to explore. So a lot of it is about having a big empty space (the sea) to go play in. If you have a lot of space - outright speed seems to be what you want.
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Old 21 July 2019, 10:18   #7
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Little love for RIBs in U.S.?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WXing View Post
[*]Lighter weight boat for size: less engine power required and easier to tow; thus, more economical.
are you sure? I’m not convinced ribs are lighter, and often a very big V = more HP needed

Quote:
[*]Very stable under way.
surely for most ribs that has little to do with tubes so would be similar for a similar hard hull? Now stable at rest is a different point.



Quote:
[*]Utilitarian – no unnecessary farkle (like fake wood on the dash, LOL).
one mans pro is another’s con

Quote:
[*]Smoother ride (in theory).
again since the tubes are usually not in contact that is the hull profile more than the tubes.
Quote:
[*]Less cosmetic upkeep; less fiberglass to polish.
but tubes to clean cancels that out

Quote:
[*]Possibly lower price (Zodiac, yes; Ribcraft, not so much).
Not convinced they are cheaper.


My surprise is that you don’t seem to have an equivalent of the Humber/Northcraft we had here in the 80s and 90s selling utillitarian craft to sailing clubs and divers. Do they all just use Zodiac? Is it a massive branding coup from them?
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Old 21 July 2019, 10:20   #8
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Originally Posted by ShinyShoe View Post

Final stereotype... A lots of the US shore has not a lot to it. There are less bays, coves etc to explore. So a lot of it is about having a big empty space (the sea) to go play in. If you have a lot of space - outright speed seems to be what you want.

You said a lot of stupid things in your post but this one takes the biscuit.
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Old 21 July 2019, 10:36   #9
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Originally Posted by Poly View Post
You said a lot of stupid things in your post but this one takes the biscuit.
Fortunately, he's not as stupid as he looks...

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Old 21 July 2019, 11:22   #10
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From what I've seen, fishing is a BIG part of boating in the US and a RIB just isn't the best type of boat for fishing.
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Old 21 July 2019, 16:04   #11
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RIBs are fairly basic boats and have very little in the way of shelter, accommodation, cooking facilities etc. Not really ideal for longer fishing trips in comfort and also not really ideal for longer family trips. I guess people just want more comfort, especially if that is what they are used to in their market.
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Old 21 July 2019, 18:51   #12
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From what I've seen, fishing is a BIG part of boating in the US and a RIB just isn't the best type of boat for fishing.
We'll sort of true but also completely untrue

Some of our trips are up to a week at a time but we do camp on offshore islands while away.

I've been obsessed with fishing and boating for many years, infact I've owned around 40 boats since buying my first 43 years ago. I often owned several for different styles of fishing, such as little river boats, 4.5m inshore boats and then something bigger for offshore game fishing. Now I own just one, a jack of all trades, or at least as close as I can to one.

To get offshore we have to cross what's considered one of the more dangerous bar crossings, also my location is well known for good sized surf. These conditions have always meant getting offshore was hazardous so clocking up engine hours of 50-100 per year was about average. However since owning my zodiac 550 I'm clocking engine hours of 450 per year, which is mostly fishing.

My fishing habits have changed slightly, as having burley pots attached to the boat is silly given the amount of sharks we have here locally. In saying that we've not had any issues releasing sharks and large billfish alongside the rib. The low sides of the rib also make landing bigger fish such as tuna far easier than any other boat I've owned. Also simply swimming up over the sides after spearfishing if pretty easy and far safer. Literally we often have to get out of the water fast with a struggling fish, waiting at the stern of a different boat for others to remove their fins and climb up the steps can be very dangerous when big teeth are wanting a piece of your fish. Fighting big fish from a centre console is truly so easy, even targeting very large game fish on my own.

I take all kinds of people out in the boat, many youngsters new to the sport, lures, treble hooks and spiny fish haven't really been an issue yet.

One of my last trips took me over 100km offshore from my local port, in conditions far different from what I fished in the UK ( both recreational and comercial). A trip of 230km in search of bluefin tuna had me feeling very confident in the boat even if a section was to get punchered by a gaff etc.

Before buying the rib I must admit I was pretty negative as using them as a fishing vessel, now I don't quite know if I could go back to anything else. I costed in replacing tubes and figured out the cost of being able to spend more hours on the water actually worked out pretty good compared with many fibreglass boats needing new stringers and stern rebuilds after around 10 years over here. Aluminium boats, even though quite popular here often tend to be relatively flat bottomed hard ridding vessels prone to corrosion problems.

So I fish more, catch more, venture further, spend less and the kids all love driving it, even onto the trailer.
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Old 21 July 2019, 20:20   #13
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We'll sort of true but also completely untrue

Some of our trips are up to a week at a time but we do camp on offshore islands while away.

I've been obsessed with fishing and boating for many years, infact I've owned around 40 boats since buying my first 43 years ago. I often owned several for different styles of fishing, such as little river boats, 4.5m inshore boats and then something bigger for offshore game fishing. Now I own just one, a jack of all trades, or at least as close as I can to one.

To get offshore we have to cross what's considered one of the more dangerous bar crossings, also my location is well known for good sized surf. These conditions have always meant getting offshore was hazardous so clocking up engine hours of 50-100 per year was about average. However since owning my zodiac 550 I'm clocking engine hours of 450 per year, which is mostly fishing.

My fishing habits have changed slightly, as having burley pots attached to the boat is silly given the amount of sharks we have here locally. In saying that we've not had any issues releasing sharks and large billfish alongside the rib. The low sides of the rib also make landing bigger fish such as tuna far easier than any other boat I've owned. Also simply swimming up over the sides after spearfishing if pretty easy and far safer. Literally we often have to get out of the water fast with a struggling fish, waiting at the stern of a different boat for others to remove their fins and climb up the steps can be very dangerous when big teeth are wanting a piece of your fish. Fighting big fish from a centre console is truly so easy, even targeting very large game fish on my own.

I take all kinds of people out in the boat, many youngsters new to the sport, lures, treble hooks and spiny fish haven't really been an issue yet.

One of my last trips took me over 100km offshore from my local port, in conditions far different from what I fished in the UK ( both recreational and comercial). A trip of 230km in search of bluefin tuna had me feeling very confident in the boat even if a section was to get punchered by a gaff etc.

Before buying the rib I must admit I was pretty negative as using them as a fishing vessel, now I don't quite know if I could go back to anything else. I costed in replacing tubes and figured out the cost of being able to spend more hours on the water actually worked out pretty good compared with many fibreglass boats needing new stringers and stern rebuilds after around 10 years over here. Aluminium boats, even though quite popular here often tend to be relatively flat bottomed hard ridding vessels prone to corrosion problems.

So I fish more, catch more, venture further, spend less and the kids all love driving it, even onto the trailer.
Excellent! Zodiac needs you in its advertisements.
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Old 23 August 2019, 22:59   #14
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Its a different mentality in the USA with RIBS. They are more thought of as luxury tenders for large yachts. I have always loved RIBs and I just picked up a Zodiac Hurricane, but I still have my Seasport for the family.

I volunteer for the Coast Guard here and a RIB makes more sense when on Patrol. Here is my family boat that we use cruise the Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. Its warm and comfortable.

VT
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Old 23 August 2019, 23:08   #15
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Gas is cheaper in USA and so the fuel economy of a bigger heavier boat and the vehicles that tow them are less of a barrier. I have a 7m rib and love it. We dive in SoCal and it’s a great day boat. I’m working on a project that is an old Santa Barbara made commercial hull, 24x8. So much more deck space, better to fit down riggers for fishing, and a cabin we can overnight in. Down side is it will suck more gas and not go nearly as fast.
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Old 23 August 2019, 23:11   #16
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Gas is cheaper in USA and so the fuel economy of a bigger heavier boat and the vehicles that tow them are less of a barrier. I have a 7m rib and love it. We dive in SoCal and it’s a great day boat. I’m working on a project that is an old Santa Barbara made commercial hull, 24x8. So much more deck space, better to fit down riggers for fishing, and a cabin we can overnight in. Down side is it will suck more gas and not go nearly as fast.
I would agree. I have a 3/4 ton Suburban to tow my Seasport at nearly 8000 pounds. I can do almost 40 mph, but boy do I go through the fuel. 125 gallon tank does not last.

The RIB will hopefully be a different story.
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Old 24 August 2019, 00:05   #17
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Similar situation in NZ.....alloy and glass cabin boats rule the roost.....most are primarily used for fishing....but there also seems to be a lot of ignorance around RIBs.... such as

They ll sink if they get punctured

You ll be drenched In moderate seas

They are not sea worthy

What surprises me the most is that boaties take out a small cabin boat with four on board plus gear and struggle to plane.....often they are overweight.....a similar size RIB typically has double the weight carrying capacity...
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Old 24 August 2019, 04:14   #18
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[QUOTE=willk;799388]Fortunately, he's not as stupid as he looks...



I've always been grateful for the same thing!
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Old 24 August 2019, 04:30   #19
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RIBs are usually the right fit for the more intrepid of Seafarers in my experience ...people that like going to see places/things and don't mind making passage in a little Bad weather Choppy Seas and getting wet on occasion

Now...it's not for me to say our American friends (or most) have more of a leaning towards the the Creature comforts and would be more inclined to fire the Barbi and haul a "Igloo" or two on board for some serious "downtime entertaining"....but having spent some time on the Gulf Coast over the years quite a lot Do seem to really enjoy the social side of being "afloat"...which of course in its most basic form ....you don't even have to untie for
That and the fact if your an Angler the fishing is so damn GOOD you can generally have a Boat full in an hour ....just offshore!!
I do Love America by the way!
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Old 24 August 2019, 05:22   #20
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Just sold my house, so a RIB is in my future. Zodiac vs. Ribcraft, hmmm...
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