April 05, 2006
Buying A RIB
Even though RIBs are still relatively new to the US boating scene, there’s still a great variety of RIBs to choose from. So, what should you look for when it’s time to purchase a new RIB?
I've come up with a brief list of 6 major items to think about and look for when buying a RIB that should help you through the process.
1) First and foremost - decide how you plan to use the boat. Will you be using the boat for work or pleasure? Do you want a boat that can handle anything mother nature throws your way or are you looking for a boat that’s comfortable for lounging around on and having cocktails during the evening harbor cruise? Perhaps you want a boat for diving or fishing? This simple question will make your decision much easier and your search more focused. If you’re looking for a rescue craft, then look at the companies that specialize in building professional grade boats and if you want a plush yacht tender, then look to those who focus on that.
2) Hypalon, PVC, or Polyurethane? There are benefits to all three of these tube materials, however, if you’re looking for the best all around product that will last the longest, require the least amount of maintenance, and is most UV resistant, then you should go with the only time tested material, Hypalon.
3) Details – You can tell a lot about a boat simply by looking at the details. I recommend looking at the quality of the fittings and stainless steel hardware (hinges, latches, cleats) on the boat. You should also take a close look at the tubes. You don’t have to be a RIB expert to know good craftsmanship. Examine the tube attachments; do you see areas where the manufacturer over sanded or didn’t clean all the glue?
4) Price – Only you know what your price range is. The good news is that RIBs cover a broad spectrum of prices, so you’re sure to find one that fits your budget. My only word of advice - you get what you pay for!
5) Reputation – Ask around and look to see who’s using RIBs. What does the local harbormaster, fire department, yacht club, or even Coast Guard station have for a RIB? Go on line. There are several good resources and forums out there too. I recommend RIB Net, Hot RIBs, RIB International Magazine, Inflatable Boats Magazine, and Fred’s Blog (of course).
6) Customer Service - Just as important as the five items listed above. I think this pretty much speaks for itself. Is the manufacturer willing to work directly with their customers. Are they responsive to your needs and willing to answer your questions? If they don’t get back to you right away when you’re interested in buying a boat, will they should you need help once you own a boat? Do they have service centers in place?
I’m sure I’m missing some important factors, so, if you’ve recently (or not so recently) purchased a RIB, please feel free to add your own two cents.
Posted by ribcraftusa at April 5, 2006 04:22 PMBack To Index