Ridged Inflatable Boats or “RIBs” are a very popular choice of yacht tender. What exactly is a RIB and what is its relative advantages over a solid-hulled tender?
As opposed to a completely inflatable “dinghy” that can be “deflated” and stored on your yacht, a RIB has a solid floor, more like a “real boat.” It is constructed with a solid, shaped hull and flexible tubes at the gunwales. It is these tubes that are “inflatable” and not the entire watercraft. Different materials are used to make up the tubes, and they have varying durability. The two main choices are PVC, or a more durable, yet more expensive material known as hypalon.
How you intend to use your yacht tender will play a lot into the materials choice. But, before we get into that, let’s understand a little more about these amazingly versatile vessels!
RIBs are designed for seaworthiness and riding comfort, even at relatively high speeds. The earliest adopters of ridged inflatables were the military. The Navy, the US Coast Guard and The Marines all use RIBs for their strength, safety and versatility under a variety of conditions. This professional grade reliability is now available to yacht owners.
Some large RIBs, particularly those used as tenders for upscale motor yachts, can even be equipped with a wheelhouse and cabins. These will usually be made of aluminum.
Advantages of a Rigid Inflatable Tender
One of the main advantages of a RIB, is that it will be much lighter than a solid fiberglass yacht tender of similar size. The weight saving is achieved thanks to the inflatable tubes, and it translates to a number of advantages.
Because they can weigh 20 – 30% less than a solid boat of comparable size, it takes less horsepower to operate a RIB at comparable speeds to a standard-hulled boat. That means they burn less fuel. The combination of the deep V-solid hull with the Hypalon or PVC inflatable tubes provides a very comfortable ride, even when cutting through the waves at high speeds. A RIB not only provides a more comfortable ride while bounding over the waves, it also absorbs impact better, and blocks spray more, so a RIB yacht tender provides not only a smoother, but a dryer ride.
The RIB design is inherently safer than a conventional tender. Even if one of the tubes is punctured the RIB will still float, and unlike a solid so-called “unsinkable” boat, emergency floatation on a RIB is designed to keep her afloat while remaining upright. A standard “flotation hull” has all of its buoyancy built into the bottom of the hull. In the event of a swamping the flotation hull will rollover throwing the passengers into the water, who will then have to cling to the overturned vessel. Thanks to the inflatable collar, if a RIB takes on a large quantity of water, it is designed to remain buoyant in an upright position.
As mentioned earlier, the tubes on most rigid inflatable tenders are made either of PVC or hypalon. The relative advantages and disadvantages of each, depend on where your yacht is usually docked, and how you intend to use your tender.
A Tender Decision
As reliable and useful as a RIB yacht tender can be, they still need to be well maintained. That is where our On Demand yachting solution can help. We will not only help match the right tender — RIB or hulled — to your yacht and needs, but we will make sure that its engines are well maintained, and it is equipped with all the necessary safety gear and equipment to be ready for any excursions you are!
Operating a motor yacht can be costly. You can reduce your expenses, and avoid costly repairs by keeping her well maintained. On Demand yachting from FYM can help. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.