A rigid inflatable boat, referred to as RIB, is a light-weight but high performance and high capacity boat constructed with a solid, shaped hull and flexible tubes. The design is very stable and seaworthy. The inflatable collar allows the vessel to maintain buoyancy even if a large quantity of water enters on board due to bad sea conditions.
Rigid inflatable boats or RIBs, usually range in size from as small as about 2.7 meters for yacht tenders and up to about 9 meters long. They can go bigger in some special applications. They are generally used for tenders, sport boats and very often for commercial, rescue and military applications.
As their name suggests, these boats feature a fiberglass or aluminum rigid hull mated to an inflatable collar. This allows a conventional deep V-hull shape at the bow, flattening out to common planing sections aft. The concept marries the famous buoyancy and stability of an inflatable boat with the excellent handling characteristics of a conventional fiberglass hull. The larger boats in this range offer a wide range of console configurations, seating and other features such as built-in storage lockers, and many other features typically found on larger fiberglass vessels.
The benefits of the RIB are quickly seen in increased performance and handling, coupled with versatility, stability and passenger comfort. The smaller rigid-hulled inflatables make excellent yacht tenders for larger yachts, while the larger RIBs make perfect watersports or fishing boats, particularly because of their flotation, stability and safety. Many rescue and military agencies have recognized the seaworthiness, safety and stability of RIBs and use them in many applications. Also, many of the RIBs offer removable collars making storage, maintenance and repairs much easier and convenient.
Because of these advantages RIBs are used extensively for commercial and professional inflatable boating applications but are now becoming a commonplace in the recreational inflatable boat sector also.