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Old 10 June 2024, 15:15   #1
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Buying First RIB for Ocean -- Advice Appreciated

Greetings.

I've been scouring the forums for hours and am thrilled to become a part of this community. I'd value some advice about my first RIB purchase.

I am a 52-year-old woman and an experienced boater, although this would be a new style of boat for me. I live an hour from Puerto Vallarta by boat in a town that has no cars, so this RIB will be my primary mode of transportation across the Bay of Banderas to the city once or twice a week, as well as a pleasure boat for snorkeling, cruising, and light fishing.

The RIB will be in harsh conditions in terms of heat, sun, and humidity. It will be on a mooring on the ocean most of the year, and tied up in the river during our rainy season (July-October) when the river is navigable (also supplying some shade).

The Bay of Baderas is generally calm. We rarely get seas over a meter, although we do get a lot of chop. I will usually have following seas in one direction and will be beating into it going home from the city.

A friend who knows nothing about RIBs but is an excellent panga captain recommended a 3.6-meter RIB with a 25 hp motor. Another friend who teaches rescue missions on the water and has spent half of his life in RIBs recommended a 4.3-meter RIB with a 40 hp motor. He said it will be considerably more comfortable and give me a little punch in a seaway.

The boat will hold me, one or two dogs, groceries and big bags of dog food, and on rare occasion, a friend.

I am trying to find the best balance between cost, safety, comfort, and the ability to manage it alone. I can pay an ATV to help haul it up on the beach in major storms, but otherwise, I'm by myself.

My last question is about ordering a RIB directly from China. I see people are wary of that. Living in Mexico, I am used to having to make concessions for thigs difficult to find here. I will have a very hard time buying one here unless a megayacht is upgrading. I'm considering buying an outboard direct from China, as well. The most common motor size here is 75 hp, and I don't need that much. Smaller motors are not common. Plus, they are crazy expensive.

I have a 24-foot panga with a 50 hp Mercury that I am selling. It is a machismo culture, and I have a lot of challenges with the men because I am a female panga captain. I need a different style of boat that they don't want and is nonthreatening.

Any advice on sizes, motors, and considerations I may not have thought of is very welcome. Thank you.
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Old 10 June 2024, 20:00   #2
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Welcome to the forum.

That's a very detailed post, but the more information the better. I'm not familiar with your part of the world, but I was in San Diego many years ago, so can I can vouch for the temperatures.

Crossing any open ocean regularly, even a bay, then you need complete faith in the boat and engine. The RIBs we have in the UK will be different from what's available in the States or indeed South America. Its primarily a leisure market in the UK so the RIBs available here are manufactured to service that market. In Mexico, I don't know what if any RIB makers you have locally, or whether all RIBs are imported from the States or China. In the States they have Zodiac, including Hurricane models, but they are ex-service boats and commercially built. There will be leisure models too.

If you potentially found a RIB in the States, what are local rules for shipping and taxes to import. I have no knowledge of buying a boat or indeed an engine from China, but obviously proceed with caution given its an unknown quantity.

First thing is choosing a RIB would be pressure regulation valves. Obviously avoiding dark colours too that will absorb heat. Ideally looking at hypalon material. PVC will degrade quickly given the extremes of your environment given its on a swinging mooring. Size, I'd say up to about 5m if you can retrieve with an ATV during storms.

Engines, what's local to you in terms of other boats and what's powering them? You can run a 5m with 50hp. You will need local knowledge for servicing and parts availability unless you're spanner handy. Plus I'd suggest you need an auxilliary engine if you run into issues. You're ultimately in the Pacific, so if other boats aren't in the area, is there VHF chatter? Mobile reception can't always be relied upon, but is a useful backup..

For a swinging mooring, then the boat hull will need treated or you're going to get marine growth in a short period of time.
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Old 10 June 2024, 21:30   #3
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Country: UK - England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordica View Post
Greetings.

I've been scouring the forums for hours and am thrilled to become a part of this community. I'd value some advice about my first RIB purchase.

I am a 52-year-old woman and an experienced boater, although this would be a new style of boat for me. I live an hour from Puerto Vallarta by boat in a town that has no cars, so this RIB will be my primary mode of transportation across the Bay of Banderas to the city once or twice a week, as well as a pleasure boat for snorkeling, cruising, and light fishing.

The RIB will be in harsh conditions in terms of heat, sun, and humidity. It will be on a mooring on the ocean most of the year, and tied up in the river during our rainy season (July-October) when the river is navigable (also supplying some shade).

The Bay of Baderas is generally calm. We rarely get seas over a meter, although we do get a lot of chop. I will usually have following seas in one direction and will be beating into it going home from the city.

A friend who knows nothing about RIBs but is an excellent panga captain recommended a 3.6-meter RIB with a 25 hp motor. Another friend who teaches rescue missions on the water and has spent half of his life in RIBs recommended a 4.3-meter RIB with a 40 hp motor. He said it will be considerably more comfortable and give me a little punch in a seaway.

The boat will hold me, one or two dogs, groceries and big bags of dog food, and on rare occasion, a friend.

I am trying to find the best balance between cost, safety, comfort, and the ability to manage it alone. I can pay an ATV to help haul it up on the beach in major storms, but otherwise, I'm by myself.

My last question is about ordering a RIB directly from China. I see people are wary of that. Living in Mexico, I am used to having to make concessions for thigs difficult to find here. I will have a very hard time buying one here unless a megayacht is upgrading. I'm considering buying an outboard direct from China, as well. The most common motor size here is 75 hp, and I don't need that much. Smaller motors are not common. Plus, they are crazy expensive.

I have a 24-foot panga with a 50 hp Mercury that I am selling. It is a machismo culture, and I have a lot of challenges with the men because I am a female panga captain. I need a different style of boat that they don't want and is nonthreatening.

Any advice on sizes, motors, and considerations I may not have thought of is very welcome. Thank you.

Hello & welcome. Are you in Yelapa? We were there in early March & crossed from PV in a Panga. There's a good reason that the Panga is the "universal boat" of that area, it suits the sea conditions. I know that this isn't what you want to hear, but I'd definitely stick with your current setup, that environment is unforgiving & any RIB won't last, especially a Chinese built one. If you swap to a RIB/SIB, the hairy chest brigade will think even worse of you, stand up to them.
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Old 11 June 2024, 10:11   #4
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A pink panga with pretty flowers painted on it, might make the manly men feel like they wouldn't need to be as machismo. Just a thought...although it might also make them feel the opposite.
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Old 11 June 2024, 10:47   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spartacus View Post
Welcome to the forum.

If you potentially found a RIB in the States, what are local rules for shipping and taxes to import. I have no knowledge of buying a boat or indeed an engine from China, but obviously proceed with caution given its an unknown quantity.

Engines, what's local to you in terms of other boats and what's powering them? You can run a 5m with 50hp. You will need local knowledge for servicing and parts availability unless you're spanner handy. Plus I'd suggest you need an auxilliary engine if you run into issues. You're ultimately in the Pacific, so if other boats aren't in the area, is there VHF chatter? Mobile reception can't always be relied upon, but is a useful backup..

For a swinging mooring, then the boat hull will need treated or you're going to get marine growth in a short period of time.
Thank you for your reply. I worked at West Marine for 3.5 years ages ago, and my friend who teaches rescue is in the US, so I have a good idea of what's available there. I probably could import a boat, but it would cost shipping plus 30% duties and taxes on top of a retail price. That makes it prohibitive. But certainly, there are more options in California and Texas than there are here.

There are two very large RIBs here that run adventure tours for 40 people. The only other RIBs are yacht tenders.

Mexicans do not tend to use VHF radios and almost nobody has one. Two-thirds of the journey has good mobile reception and little boat traffic , and the other 1/3 has no cell reception and a lot of boat traffic because there are no cars, and we have to travel by boat. Pangas operate as water taxis to five pueblos, so I am within waving, whistle, or mirror-flashing range of someone the bulk of the time.

I am used to scrubbing the hull of my panga every two weeks, so cleaning would be pretty much the same. I agree about a light color. I am torn between PVC and Hypalon. I know Hypalon is superior, but PVC is easier to repair.

The most common motor here is a Yamaha 75 hp, followed by Mercury. The mechanics closest to me work on Yamahas. I have to go to the city for service on my current Mercury. Most motors are 75 hp, with a few 60 hp like mine, and a few 115 hp. Private boats in the marina in the city have a range, but our boats are our cars and work boats, and we all mostly have the same set-up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pikey Dave View Post
Hello & welcome. Are you in Yelapa? We were there in early March & crossed from PV in a Panga. There's a good reason that the Panga is the "universal boat" of that area, it suits the sea conditions. I know that this isn't what you want to hear, but I'd definitely stick with your current setup, that environment is unforgiving & any RIB won't last, especially a Chinese built one. If you swap to a RIB/SIB, the hairy chest brigade will think even worse of you, stand up to them.
Hello, and thank you. I live in Quimixto. Yelapa is 20 minutes from me, and I go there to the waterfall often. I hope you had a wonderful trip! It's a great area. I have a boat tourism business here and probably know the captain you traveled with.

For my well-being, I need a different kind of boat. My panga has things "go missing" regularly. My mooring line has been cut twice. Trash is regularly thrown in my boat. It has gotten to be too much. I also had a sailboat moored here for two years, and no one touched it. They had no interest. I think a RIB that is smaller than my panga will give me a lot more peace. Plus, they're a lot of fun.

I agree with you that pangas are great little boats, easy to repair, and perfect for the abuse they get here, but I am tired of fighting. I became the first licensed female captain in the entire Bay oof Banderas in 2019. Coming from the United States, I had no idea that women "couldn't" drive boats here. I've driven boats since I was in the womb. It caused a massive outcry, and I only had my attorney and my captain friend standing up for me. While it has gotten better, and I've earned their respect, it is still a regular struggle.

It's not about losing or winning, I just want a boat that won't get constantly stolen from or put at risk. They didn't mind my 41-foot sailboat, but my panga is a different story. When I say, "they", I don't mean every single person, but enough that my life is more difficult than it needs to be. Being a single female living in the jungle in a tiny pueblo, my life has enough challenges without worrying about the safety of my boat or engine parts or other gear disappearing.

I love where I live, and I really like my panga, and I also want peace. I'm hoping that if I can keep the tubes covered and use sun protectant, that I can get 6-8 years out of PVC or 12-15 out of Hypalon. The two large RIBs are at anchor most of the time too, and they've lasted the six years I've been here. I don't know their maintenance routine, and I can ask.
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Old 11 June 2024, 10:50   #6
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Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
A pink panga with pretty flowers painted on it, might make the manly men feel like they wouldn't need to be as machismo. Just a thought...although it might also make them feel the opposite.
That is a very fun idea!
That really could make a difference. If it looked girly, they might leave it alone.
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Old 11 June 2024, 19:53   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spartacus View Post
Welcome to the forum.

That's a very detailed post, but the more information the better. I'm not familiar with your part of the world, but I was in San Diego many years ago, so can I can vouch for the temperatures.

Crossing any open ocean regularly, even a bay, then you need complete faith in the boat and engine. The RIBs we have in the UK will be different from what's available in the States or indeed South America. Its primarily a leisure market in the UK so the RIBs available here are manufactured to service that market. In Mexico, I don't know what if any RIB makers you have locally, or whether all RIBs are imported from the States or China. In the States they have Zodiac, including Hurricane models, but they are ex-service boats and commercially built. There will be leisure models too.

If you potentially found a RIB in the States, what are local rules for shipping and taxes to import. I have no knowledge of buying a boat or indeed an engine from China, but obviously proceed with caution given its an unknown quantity.

First thing is choosing a RIB would be pressure regulation valves. Obviously avoiding dark colours too that will absorb heat. Ideally looking at hypalon material. PVC will degrade quickly given the extremes of your environment given its on a swinging mooring. Size, I'd say up to about 5m if you can retrieve with an ATV during storms.

Engines, what's local to you in terms of other boats and what's powering them? You can run a 5m with 50hp. You will need local knowledge for servicing and parts availability unless you're spanner handy. Plus I'd suggest you need an auxilliary engine if you run into issues. You're ultimately in the Pacific, so if other boats aren't in the area, is there VHF chatter? Mobile reception can't always be relied upon, but is a useful backup..

For a swinging mooring, then the boat hull will need treated or you're going to get marine growth in a short period of time.
Spartacus doesn't mention above that the rib that he runs, a Ribcraft 4.8, is manufactured in the USA as well as the UK. Strikes me it might meet your requirements. They advertise three different models of the 4.8 and this is one of them:
https://www.ribcraftusa.com/rib48.html
Others on here may well expound on the virtues of Ribcraft.

(I have no connection to Ribcraft other than being a very happy owner of one).
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Old 12 June 2024, 16:23   #8
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AFAIK, privately importing anything from the US into Mexico is both an administrative nightmare & expensive.
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