I ordered my 5.1 metre RIB from the HaiHao boat factory in Qingdao China after viewing their website and making some inquiries via the Alibaba chat app with the company. Maggie my sales representative was extremely helpful and made a series of videos for me of the factory floor and the production process. She had clearly done this before as she was saying my name in clear English and explaining what she was filming. Of course there are stories of videos being made in factories supposedly making your product, however in this case I had no concerns. Maggie did tell me that they have shipped many boats to my country and looking at their facebook page, they are sending out at least a large boat or two per week.
The base cost of the 5.1 metre RIB was USD$3,020 for a 1.2mm PVC fabric. Hypalon was a significant amount more. I am fully aware of the Hypalon versus PVC arguments and for me, it was not worth the extra as based on my last PVC boat looking in immaculate condition after 6 years, I figure this one will last a lot longer and it's also 1.2mm versus .9mm of the old one.
I paid extra for packaging, around $220 for iron and wooden box (which I didn't need in the end). The boat comes standard with a pair of oars, foot pump, repair kit, anchor tray, centre console, bilge pump, mechanical steering, 60 litre built in fuel tank, fibreglass arch roll bar with 3 lights, pencil ends, front and back storage with cushions.
I purchased some extras including full boat cover, rear ladder, side tube ladder (very impressed with this), aluminium tubed folding sunshade, 4kg anchor, 4 life-jackets, extra wiring switches, 1 extra cushion for the front with steel supporting base and an extra set of mounting points for the tube ladder so I can use it on the other side.
All up around US$4,100.
I also purchased 2 x 2.3 metre inflatables to help subsidise the freight costs and sell privately. I paid US$280 for them including oars, pump, repair kit, seat bag, full cover, extra mounting points for davits, aluminium floor, round rear ends, and 1.2mm fabric which is not common for inflatables of this size. I sold these almost immediately on arrival for US$600 on Gumtree.
Sea Freight is where I got caught out a little, however I had factored in fat for this as it did seem to be a little too cheap based on the quote.
I was expecting to be up for US$2,600 including 10% GST (no import duties into Australia from China, due to free-trade agreement). Due to an issue with the container types coming out of Qingdao being mostly frozen (reefer) containers, the freight agent was not comfortable putting the box into a container safely without damaging the floor. I believe this motivation was actually because of the unusual shape of the box and the difficulty in loading additional freight (and making money from it) in with it as they are a freight consolidator.
New price for freight, GST and ALL import costs, including freight to the Port of Melbourne and delivery and pickup of the container with freight to my house 30kms from the port was US$3,800.
All up costs US$7,900 from start to finish. Build time was 20 days, shipping time was 18 days port to port from Qingdao China, to Melbourne Australia plus a few days due to Border Patrol having to scan the 20ft container.
The trailer I already had was US$1,200 with an all up weight of 1650 lb's with RIB on-board.
I had to wire up the boat and fit GPS with maps and a Standard Horizon VHF radio which cost me around US$400.
It is currently being fitted with a Mercury 80hp 4 stroke. This is 360 lb's, plus battery. This is the larger 2.1 litre 4 cylinder in-line engine which revs much less than the 60hp and is in theory much quieter and potentially more fuel efficient.
The cost here for this engine fitted is US$7,500.
Total cost without trailer US$15,400.
Why did I buy this size? It's the biggest boat that I could fit into my garage. The frustrating part is that for literally US$600-$800 more I could have bought a 5.5 metre or larger which would have been a much larger boat, however it wouldn't fit my garage, plus I would have had to purchase a new trailer with brakes and a larger motor with hydraulic steering and the costs start to stack up.
Apologies as the pics don't have the fabric seats clipped in, however you get the idea.
How is the quality? The fabric is really good and it's noticeably thicker than my old .9mm boat. There are a couple of areas where some fabric strips haven't been aligned perfectly straight (around the front below the anchor tree), but it's minor cosmetic and not structural. The fibreglass work is very good and there are only a few minor areas of gelcoat that aren't super-shiny, but that being said, a dealer would normally polish these up during the pre-delivery process. The moulded grip on the floor is very good and there are few if any imperfections in the mould. The seat is a good width with the cushion at 900mm, however the backrest mounts are wide so the grab handles are a lot wider than that. The seat on front of the console is a good size for my 6 and 7 year old to sit and hold the handles, or they can sit up front or on the extra cushion on the front (not shown in the pics).
I chose primary colour, decorations, grab-handle placement and colour, tube ladder positions, rear ladder and position of the console.
I think that's it. If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line.
The 2.3 metre boats were surprisingly good quality and very durable. They sold like hotcakes which has got me wondering if I should be buying some more of them.