There is a lot to be said for a RIB with an aluminium hull.
The benefits include, but are not limited to the following:-
• Light Weight, thereby offering:
- Upfront cost savings with less HP required from the outboard
- Ongoing cost savings through better fuel efficiency
- Ease of maneuvering and handling both on and off water
- Ease of large RIB access to shallow waters and beaches
• High Strength
• Does not absorb water and therefore will not gain weight
• Superior impact absorption
• Superior abrasion resistance
Lejen Marine offers the brands Highfield and Swift with aluminium hulls.
There are some advantages to purchasing a RIB with a fibreglass hull.
• Softer aesthetics
• Scratches less obvious
• Ease of repair
• Easier to form complex mouldings
Lejen Marine offers the brands Aruba and Aquila with fibreglass hulls.
Hypalon is widely acknowledged as the superior tube fabric for inflatable boats and as such, the initial cost of purchasing a hypalon boat is higher.
Some advantages of hypalon include:
• Longer life expectancy, often teamed with longer warranty
• Greater UV stability
• Greater chemical resistance
• Greater abrasion resistance
• Easily repaired as fabric ages
• Expands and flexes with heat and impact
Unfortunately knowing the tube fabric alone is not enough to make one brand comparable to another. All inflatable boats made from hypalon are not the same. The quality of materials in inflatable boats is important. It is difficult for an ordinary person to have the necessary knowledge of materials and be able to decide whether the inflatable boat is made from quality materials.
Make sure the person you are buying from knows their product well and that you get what you pay for.
Some of the shortcuts and cost saving tactics we have seen include the following:
• Inferior hypalon (Pennel and Flipo “ORCA” and Achilles are currently thought to be the most reputable producers of hypalon)
• Tubes are hypalon, however baffles are pvc
• Inferior hypalon glues or even worse, pvc glue used on hypalon boats
• The use of pvc fittings on a hypalon boat
• The use of ultra-thin baffle fabric for seams
Sadly some of these issues have been found on some well-known brands.
Although not entirely justified, PVC still suffers from a reputation of being of inferior quality when compared to hypalon. Several decades ago, the diversity in class between the fabrics may have been vastly different, however new technology has made PVC a much more reliable material than the PVC of old.
Some advantages of PVC include:
• PVC is economical and significantly less expensive than hypalon
• Seams of a PVC boats can be welded as well as being glued
Unfortunately the quality of PVC used in inflatable boats varies greatly between manufacturers. Furthermore, as PVC is a more affordable product, there are a greater number of resellers of PVC inflatable boats who do not specialise in the industry and who do not understand the differences between PVC fabrics. As a result, customers are being misinformed as to where the fabric is made, how the seams are bonded and the thickness of the fabric. This again leads to an underserving and damaging reputation towards inflatable boats.
Some PVC inflatables are of such substandard quality, that they are lasting less than a year. For reasons of poor quality PVCs and in some cases inappropriate glue, we have found it is not possible to fit items such as davits, or even repair when failures occur.
Most of the issues with PVC can be attributed to the purchaser buying an inflatable boat from a source other than an inflatable boat specialist, or from a seller who has not thoroughly researched their product, as well as the inflatable boat market as a whole.
There is a place for both quality PVC and hypalon boats in the market; however there is no substitute when purchasing an inflatable boat than to speak to a specialist. If you are purchasing from a reputable inflatable boat business, make sure you brief the salesperson on your needs and let them guide you on a boat to suit you, rather than simply offering a boat they have available in stock.
When shopping for a new RIB, be sure to do your homework. The most important rule of thumb is not to begin assessing brands on model names alone. Although quality of materials and build are important factors when selecting a RIB, the starting point for researching options often begins with size. The model name typically contains numbers to suggest its length, however in some cases the model name/number, does not match the length as provided in the specification. More importantly, overall length alone does not present the best size comparison. Comparing the following size specifications will help to ensure you are evaluating like for like:
• Load Carrying Capacity
• Overall Length
• Inside Length
• Overall Width
• Inside Width
• Waterline length
• Tube Diameter
Larger tube diameters may affect the inside measurements, however these measurements can provide a more suitable indication of the size and usable space of a RIB. Comparisons of a RIB’s load carrying capacity can sometimes be a better guide as to the size and capability of the boat.
Inflatable roll-up tenders and aluminium RIBs
Inflatable roll-up tenders and fibreglass RIBs
Custom commercial & recreational aluminium RIBs
Torqeedo electric Travel outboards
Parts & accessories for Inflatable boats & SUPs