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Old 11 March 2015, 03:58   #1
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Zodiac RIB hull durability

Hi

I'm new to RIB boats and have a question regarding the durability of the Zodiac fiberglass hulls. I've been using the Zodiac inflatable boats in the 16' range for the last few years for work in the Arctic Ocean. I've love the durability and beach-ability of the inflatables, but the performance in rougher seas is becoming an issue. I like the idea of a RIBs, but worry about the durability of the hulls. Although with an ~ 18' RIB, I don't expect to put it very far up the beach, it will certainly be beached in calm seas onto sand/gravel fairly regularly to offload gear, etc. The other issue is ice. It is the Arctic - so we will encounter ice. Again, I'm not expecting the RIB to replace an inflatable for going over, or a heavy aluminum boat for going through icy waters, but I do need sometime that can hit the occasional chunk of ice without cracking.

So with all that, I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts or advice on the matter. Should I be looking towards an aluminum hulled RIB? The boat I've been looking at is the SRMN-550, partly because I just happen to have 2 50hp Hondas that are not being used that would seem to be a good fit to power this boat.

Thanks much!
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Old 11 March 2015, 08:29   #2
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My 28 year old Pro 530 took a trip down a slipway on its own (e.g. it fell off the trailer) a few years ago and was barely scratched and after all these years is still rock solid. A keel guard will help with reducing beaching scratching. Can't say I've ever hit ice though.

Phil M
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Old 11 March 2015, 08:42   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aha121 View Post
Hi

I'm new to RIB boats and have a question regarding the durability of the Zodiac fiberglass hulls. I've been using the Zodiac inflatable boats in the 16' range for the last few years for work in the Arctic Ocean. I've love the durability and beach-ability of the inflatables, but the performance in rougher seas is becoming an issue. I like the idea of a RIBs, but worry about the durability of the hulls. Although with an ~ 18' RIB, I don't expect to put it very far up the beach, it will certainly be beached in calm seas onto sand/gravel fairly regularly to offload gear, etc. The other issue is ice. It is the Arctic - so we will encounter ice. Again, I'm not expecting the RIB to replace an inflatable for going over, or a heavy aluminum boat for going through icy waters, but I do need sometime that can hit the occasional chunk of ice without cracking.

So with all that, I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts or advice on the matter. Should I be looking towards an aluminum hulled RIB? The boat I've been looking at is the SRMN-550, partly because I just happen to have 2 50hp Hondas that are not being used that would seem to be a good fit to power this boat.

Thanks much!
Most expeditions in Antarctica seem to use SIBs...either Zodiac HD boats, or Futuras.

Aluminum is easier to fix, but only if you have the right tools to fix it.

I would probably just go with a Zodiac Pro 550 or Pro 650 and call it a day. The fiberglass is decently thick, and the tubes are replaceable. If you get a PVC tubeset on the Pro 550 model, they can handle a bit more abuse than the hypalon set can.
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