As the industry welcomes a new generation of more adventurous and thrill seeking owners, the RIB tender market is exploding. ONBOARD takes a look at some of the market leaders
You’ll need a good memory, or be of a certain age to remember when RIBS were just the orange coloured rescue boats demanded by SOLAS. Instead, with the help of many ingenious designs and forward thinking manufacturers, they have become the ultimate utility tender. In fact, no matter the size of your mothership, or your specific needs for a tender, there is a huge range of RIBS on offer from small jet driven crew tenders up to large chase boats with a luxurious feel that was once restricted to the past limousine tenders.
They come in all shapes and sizes and with price tags that vary from quite reasonable to downright outrageous. Rigid hulls topped with inflatable collars to add the buoyancy and stability are considered to be the defining attributes of a RIB. Their inflatable tubes provide excellent fendering protection when coming alongside the mothership and is perfect for choppy sea conditions, as mentioned above, this is why the new generation of owners are looking at RIBS for their excursion and adventures.
Powered by petrol, diesel and now electric engines you are ensured reliability, layout flexibility and they can be matched to the compatibility of the mother yacht’s fuel/power system. Diversity is however the key when it comes to the evolution of the RIB and today there are a wide range of uses that they are put to depending upon their design. RIBS can be adapted to have drop down bow ramps making them ideal when it comes to setting up the picnic ashore and delivering four wheel drive vehicles, motorbikes or ATVs, and then ferrying the guests out to enjoy the amenities that have been shipped ashore for their gratification. RIBS are used as limousines and come designed to look and feel like their shoreside counterparts that whisk owners and guests from private jets to docksides. From that point guests can enjoy the same creature comforts afloat as they speed across the anchorage, sipping champagne in complete comfort. Other designs send RIBs dashing across open waters at thrill making speeds towing inflatables and skiers keen to enjoy all manner of watersports. The same RIBS can be used to marshal guests astride Jetskis and even transport them out to dive sites. Driven by propellers for the most part, there is today, an increasing demand for RIBS powered using water jets considered by most jet jockeys as being safer and more manoeuvrable. As electricity becomes the cleaner quieter choice of propulsor, so too is the RIB adapting to this more silent form of water transport.
The range of RIBS on offer is endless, once described as just a passing gimmick, one brand of beach crawling RIB is catching on fast and making genuine inroads into the superyacht tender market. But what do you want from your RIB?
In today’s brave new world, RIBS are ordered through specialist vendors at the same time as the construction of the mothership. This allows for tenders to be built to order and garages adapted to accommodate their easy storage, launching and recovery. The options when looking for a RIB are endless, they offer stability, manoeuvrability flexibility in design and look pretty damn sexy.