Jump to content

RIB for rescue boat?


Recommended Posts


Our club is looking at getting a Rigid Inflatable Boat [RIB] as a support rescue boat.

The idea began when one of our elderly sailors was unable to climb back aboard his Sabre after capsizing, then righting it. He was then also unable to climb aboard our rescue boat.

We through the low, soft side of a RIB would be better in that situation; could just pull him aboard.

I've heard a small RIB with a 5hp may be quick enough to zoom around our small lake (1km across). A bonus is that these do not require a powerboat licence or registration. This saves costs and means anyone can use it.

I've also heard we'd need at least 15hp.

Possibly we have an old 25hp motor to use. It seems we'd need a much bigger and more expensive RIB to handle that much power.

Does anyone have experience with these craft? Any advice?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep. We've had a fair bit of experience.

We were given a large zodiac from coastal patrol. Around the 5m+ and it was a dangerous dog. Poor trimming meant it would push the bow down. IRB's are fairly flat turners and take time to get used to and require a bit of training if there are quite a few club members using them.

In saying all that we have used a smaller inflatable zodiac and it was a great craft. Stable, easy to manage, fairly light to manage on shore. 10hp would be a good site motor I don't think 5 would be enough.

Irb are pedantic with trim and we were luck to have some experienced marine members to make adjustments to the rear transom boards to ensure motor was trimmed correctly.

The IRB we had was a cheap buy because the previous owner didn't like the boat and found it too hard to manage. Correctly trimmed and transom modifications ( usually raising the outboard higher) meant it went like a dream.

Great craft for junior management and ESP for rescue. You may have had to haul in a tired sailor but how will you manage to grab a sailor with a dislocated shoulder or elbow or fracture in a club tinny with their high sides?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like a good plan. I have worked for a Sailing School. We had tinnies instead of RIBS but then again we were dealing with mostly younger kids. Once you get the weight of about 2 people plus marker bouys and anchors and weights i think you will find that 5hp isnt quick enough for you. How about getting a fairly large boogie board or some semi rigid foam or rubber like what surf rescue has behind their jet ski's for the people to climb onto that and then it should be easier to then climb into their craft or the support boat.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


rib rescue boats are a great idea but dont be tempted to just get a small one with a small motor for economy only

if your race officials (and rescue team) are going to spend most of the day in one they wont be happy sitting on a side pontoon all the time or the floor space either so get one with good leg room on a comfortable seat and a bimini for shelter

power options are simple............. dont go under 15hp as you will need all of that to tow or right a capsized or waterfilled cat any distance at all

safety concerns need to be addressed as well i.e. a covered prop to prevent further injuries

i have used our clubs ribs many times and enjoy using them so get the best and biggest rib your club can afford you wont regret it!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the great feedback.

It will be used in conjunction with our existing 50hp fibreglass boat which can handle the buoys, anchors and serious towing jobs.


A Committee Member also suggested a towable inflatable horse-shoe, which would assist with in-water rescues. Estimated price $200, eg “Mojo-tube” from Whitworths: https://www.whitworths.com.au/main_itemdetail.asp?item=45363&search123=mojo&intAbsolutePage=1

Not sure if we'd have that flapping around behind the rescue boat at all times, or try and lash it on somewhere...


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I've got a 10ft Achillies slat floor inflatable with a bimini, and an 8hp 2st. It's a gem for sail training/rescue but really only 2 person max. It'll do around 15knots. The club has 2 inflatables, one a slat floor Zodiac 12 footer with a 15hp that is a dog to steer but is great for room and the other is a 13ft rigid bottom with a 25hp 4st, centre seat, kinda like a jetski, handles well and goes well but was $15k on a trailer. For what you describe my little Achillies would be spot on, the boat was $250 second-hand and the motor owes me nothing so they can be had cheap but be careful of the Chinese ones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...