Southern Boating

Rigid Inflatable Boats

Ribs To The Rescue!

Imagine this thrilling scene from an action movie. A rigid inflatable boat pounds through an ocean tempest to rescue a soggy victim. Its powerful outboard churns away at the surf and wide tubes buffet the roiling water. Piloted by a foul-weather-gear-jacketed operator, the RIB arrives to save the day. Scenes like this depict the noblest calling for a RIB. If a boat ever was built for emergency work, the RIB is it.

Indeed, RIBs nowadays are used for more rescue, emergency and service work by military, police and fire and rescue than ever before. However, manufacturers have greatly expanded how RIBs—also known as rigid hull inflatable boats, or RHIBs—are built and used. Some RIBs are utilitarian and built for durability, while others are loaded with comfort features such as soft seats, carpet and ski tow-eyes for recreational towing of tubes, skiers and wakeboarders.

For some, a RIB may be their only boat—the perfect launch for exploring the nearby water. For others, it’s the tender to a large boat or yacht, towed or stowed on board and ready to deploy when needed. Here’s a look at some of today’s top rigid hull inflatable boat builders and their models, and how they may suit your needs.