Top 15 Tenders and RIBS

an image of the best top 15 tenders and ribs

Top 15 Tenders and RIBs

Here’s a look at some of today’s top Tender and RIB builders and their models.

A rigid deep-V hull made from composite plastic, fiberglass or aluminum—a Rigid Inflatable Boat—is an efficient high-performance planing hull, but RIBs often must be stored on a trailer or set of hanging davits.

Tougher fabrics, lighter accessories and more powerful engines have continued the trend of making today’s tenders and RIBs more versatile than ever. For some, a RIB is their only vessel, a do-it-all wonder that is easy to operate, gentle around other boats because of the rubber collar, and filled with features (like a head) that make them comfortable for all.

Today’s RIBs benefit from outboard motors that are better than ever—cleaner, more powerful and easier to service. Some RIBs are utilitarian and built for durability. Others are loaded with comfort features, such as soft seats, carpet and ski-tow eyes for recreational towing of tubes, skiers and wakeboarders.

Zodiac Pro 6.5

Zodiac Pro 6.5 top tenders and Ribs from Southern Boating

The newly redesigned Zodiac Pro 6.5 has more seating capacity, storage, and 25 percent more interior space than the previous generation. This allows for plenty of room to invite up to 10 guests to join in the excitement. Zodiac didn’t forget about critical functional features either.

The company increased the size of the fuel tank to 50 gallons for more range, and the transom design can handle either twin 80-hp or a single 175-hp engine installation for optimum performance. The Pro 6.5’s deep-V hull and self-bailing deck deliver a safe, comfortable and dry ride. The highlight of the storage space is a new large stern locker able to house all critical tackle. The tubes and deck are available in multiple colors for additional customization.

20’2″ LOA, 8’4″ beam

Achilles HB-315DX

Top 15 Tenders and RIBs Achilles-HB315DX from Southern Boating

Achilles has completed a makeover of its most popular RIB in 2019—the HB-315DX. The builder’s five-passenger bestseller was modified to include integral bow locker. The new vented bow locker is large enough to be a comfortable seat and accommodate a three-gallon gas tank. It’s also equipped with a dedicated sealed tube running under the deck that allows you to run your fuel line to the drain well at the transom for a quick and easy hookup to your motor.

The advantages of this new design include better weight distribution by moving the weight of the gas tank forward and clearing the deck area of the clutter. Powered by a 20-hp motor, she runs to a top speed of 25 knots. All Achilles boats are manufactured with CSM fabric using a four-layer seam construction for durability.

10’4″ LOA, 5’5″ beam

Airship 340

Airship-340 from Southern Boating's Top Tenders and RIBs

The Airship 340 replaces the builder’s 330 and adds high-quality features. The remodeled transom includes an incorporated engine setback, a step for boarding and extended swim platform for watersports. Construction features remain consistent and utilize varying density foam cores and vinylester resins to form a  lightweight, yet a strong vessel.

A fiberglass hardtop is also new for 2019 and along with the tapered tubes, give the Airship its unique style. An improved twin-step hull provides added safety and better fuel economy—2.5 miles per gallon at a 50-mph cruise. With the standard tow eye, the craft exhibits excellent towing characteristics when used as yacht tenders and RIBs. The base 340 comes nicely equipped and offers unlimited options to support any use for this rugged SUV of the water.

34′ LOA, 10′ beam

Hyfoil Foiling RIB 28

Hyfoil foiling RIB 28 in the Top 15 Tenders and RIBS

The HYFOIL Foiling RIB 28 evolved from more than 25 years of hydrofoil system development by the original designers of Hydrofoil Supported  Catamarans (HYSUCAT) in South Africa. The fixed foils are flush with the hulls and automatically produce a “floating” ride over rough seas while nearly doubling efficiency.

Operational benefits include high-speed stability, a dry ride, small wake, shallow-water operability, reduced fuel consumption, and low maintenance. The spacious deck area fits a large console and can accommodate a variety of layouts for up to 14 passengers. With a fuel capacity of 70 gallons and standard power of a single 250-hp or twin 115-hp engines, the HYFOIL Foiling Rib 28 runs past 50 mph with a range of more than 250 miles. She’s towable and launches easily from a trailer. She is now available with a carbon fiber hull and foils as well as UV-resistant polyurethane six-chamber tubes.

27’8″ LOA, 9’5″ beam

 Argos Nautic 305 Yachting

Top 15 Tenders and RIBs Argos-Nautic-305-Yachting from Southern Boating

Argos Nautic’s 305 Yachting delivers pulse-quickening performance in a comfortable 10-foot package of these tenders and RIBs. The RIB’s advanced hull helps her carve effortlessly through turns yet provides a dry ride. Powered by a 40-hp outboard, she reaches plane in three seconds and has a top speed of 31 knots. The 305 Yachting is ideal for cruising couples and families on mid-sized yachts, sailboats and sportfishing boats. Compact and lightweight, she fits into most garages and hoists easily onto davits or deck. She has space for four adults, and passengers have generous leg and elbow room. The clever design means there is ample storage on the boat.

10′ LOA, 7’3″ beam

 Avon Seasport 400 DeluxeAvon-Seasport-400-Deluxe

The new Seasport 400 Deluxe is one of eight boats in the Seasport series that is the evolution of the proven Zodiac Yachtline Deluxe. The 400 Deluxe and her sister ships range from the 320 to the new 490.

They offer improved styling and added comfort, the crowning touches to an already successful deluxe tender line. The Seasport 400 Deluxe benefits from the aid of Zodiac-Nautic’s “slide on, slide off” tube system. This allows the Seasport Deluxe line to be available in three different shades of tube sets, with a choice of grey, blue or camel accent tubes. The Seasport 400 Deluxe’s standard features include bilge pump, navigation lights, lifting points, color matched upholstery, courtesy lighting, internal fuel reservoir, glove box, and 12-volt receptacle. The Seasport 400 Deluxe is powered by a 50-hp outboard for a top speed of 35 mph and a cruising range of more than 100 miles.

400 Deluxe: 13’1″ LOA, 5’10” beam
320: 11’2″ LOA
490: 16’11” LOA

Caribe Nautica DL11


The Caribe Nautica DL11 11’1″ LOA, 5’7″ beam is one of more than 35 models built in 13 different sizes by this manufacturer that’s been in business since 1983. The DL11’s construction places a premium owner usability, with a fuel tank located in the bow compartment allowing for easy access for maintenance and fuel service. The DL11 also has a built-in water tank that feeds a handheld shower attachment for rinsing off after a swim or a dive, and the boat is also equipped with a swim ladder. Other standard features include a bilge pump and an icebox for storing drinks, food or the day’s catch. The DL11 carries a maximum of five passengers including the driver and is powered by a 40-hp motor equipped with a 20-inch shaft.

11’1″ LOA, 5’7″

Highfield CLDL360

Highfield-CLDL360 from Southern Boating Top 15 Tenders and RIBs

Highfield Boats launched the new CLDL360 at the Miami International Boat Show in February. Designed as a yacht tender, the CLDL360 features a lightweight yet durable, powder-coated aluminum hull construction and a smooth, dry ride. She also features a host of new luxuries that include a larger, more comfortable bow seat, integrated side seat with storage and cup holders, wide bow step, and motor well with swim step. The CLDL360 also showcases newly refined styling such as the brushed-foam, teak finish deck.

Also new are the 7.5-gallon bow fuel tank and 40-hp engine for a top speed of 34 mph. Standard features include rugged Orca by Pennel & Flipo Hypalon tube fabric, self-draining deck, lifting points, and towing eyes, tow bridle points, Highfield dry bag, foot pump, oars, and repair kit.

11’10” LOA, 5’8″ beam

Mercury 320 Aluminium

Southern Boating's Top 15 Tenders and RIBsMercury-320-Aluminum

The Mercury 320 Aluminum hull is a durable new inflatable option that is available in a 320 and 270  model. This boat features a safety-aimed non-slip flat floor and 5052 marine-grade, powder-coated aluminum hull. Powered by a Mercury 20-hp FourStroke outboard engine, the 320 will hit speeds between 15 and 20 mph.

Unlike other Mercury rigid hull inflatable boats in this size range, both models with the aluminum hulls are equipped with a front-storage locker as well as two aluminum seats. For extra durability, each has a protective keel guard for beaching. The aluminum hull also includes four well-positioned lifting strakes for use with inflatable davit systems.  Standard accessories include a storage bag, patch kit, dual-action hand pump, and oars.

Mercury 320: 320 10’6″ LOA, 5’1″ beam
Mercury 370: 8’10” LOA, 5’1″ beam

Technohull Omega 45 

Technohull-Omega-45 Top Tenders and RIBs from Southern Boating

The Technohull Omega 45 is a performance-minded RIB that also delivers a lot of luxury for her driver and 11 passengers. The Omega 45’s patented hull technology was created using state-of-the-art computer programs and hull structure algorithms. Every boat is designed from scratch and is based on a different hull design to best fit the length and characteristics required by her owner.

Cutting-edge technology is used in every stage of construction, including
CNC prototyping, ceramic-coated molds, and foam-cored layers. The focus of the Omega 45 design is the modern center console, sheltered by a T-top that
protects the four wraparound shockproof seats. Owners can choose engine configurations that include triple 300-, 350- and 400-hp options. The shipyard even offers speed enthusiasts the radical choice of adding quad Mercury Racing 400-hp outboards for a top speed of more than 90 mph.

45’3″ LOA, 11’6″

Ribcraft 5.85

Top Tenders and RIBs from Southern Boating, the RIBCRAFT 5.85

RIBCRAFT, a manufacturer of professional-grade RIBs for military agencies, safety professionals and recreational boaters, offers a cutting-edge RIB with its newly redesigned RIBCRAFT 5.85. Built in the U.S. and personalized to the customer’s specifications, the RIBCRAFT 5.85 is quick to plane and sure-footed through tight turns and in rough seas. In
addition, the 5.85 has an aggressive deep-V hull, high-swept bow and full-length lifting stakes that deliver superior handling.

Standard power is a 115-hp engine with a maximum horsepower of 135. This redesigned layout includes comfortable bow seating, an antenna arch with integrated swim ladder, optional T-top, and teak decks. The 5.85 is an all-purpose 19-foot runabout that has a maximum capacity of 10 passengers so your friends can tag along.

19’4″ LOA, 8′ beam

Sealegs Electric E4

Sealegs-Electric-E4 from Southern Boating Top Tenders and RIBs

Sealegs, the manufacturer of amphibious craft, has gone green with the unveiling of Sealegs Electric E4, which uses the latest lithium battery and brushless electric hub motor technology.

Powerful, high-torque electric motors drive the Sealegs Electric E4 out of the water, up beaches and through difficult terrain. The high-density, 7kWh lithium battery delivers up to 20 launch-and-retrieve journeys on land between charges.

The flush-mounted console dash incorporates buttons conveniently located within the steering wheel to control the deployment of the amphibious wheels. A high-contrast, 24-inch touchscreen with Sealegs AmpTracs provides operator info, and an innovative seating layout for eight with a picnic/workstation table and a daybed sun-lounger is at the bow. The Sealegs Electric E4 runs 40 knots in the water and 6 mph on land.

23’11” LOA, 8’10” beam

Walker Bay Venture 14

Walker Bay Venture 14 Top 15 Tenders and RIBs

New from Walker Bay, the Venture 14 is packed with features and options for exploring, fishing, diving, and entertaining. The stand-up center console with a comfortable, sturdy bolster gives the driver three driving positions for the ultimate in safety and performance while underway. The console dash will accommodate an extra-large, nine-inch chartplotter, a variety of gauges, stereo head, and VHF radio. The V14 has boarding steps aft, port, and starboard, and in the bow to make embarking and debarking a snap.

Rated for eight passengers, the RIB has with four different seating and reclining configurations. A modified V-hull gives the Venture 14 a smooth, dry ride.

Powered by a 70-hp outboard engine, she runs to an estimated 40 mph at top speed and has a range of 150 miles utilizing the 17-gallon fuel tank. Additional features and options include four flush-mount rod holders that double as a board rack, a flush-mount ski pole, ladder, and shower.

14′ LOA, 6’5″ beam

 Williams Sportjet 435

Top 15 Tenders and RIBs Williams-Jet-Tenders-Sportjet-435

Williams Jet Tenders’ new Sportjet 435  hits the water with fast acceleration, excellent stability, and exceptional handling. With a top speed of 52 mph when powered by a 150-hp engine, the Sportjet 435 combines power with exhilaration and delivers high performance and speed at the flick of a throttle. Two engine options are available: The Rotax Ace 903 or Rotax ACE 1503. Use the Sportjet 435 for everything from watersports to shoreline transport for a luxury yacht. The spacious layout can comfortably seat up to seven passengers. As with all Williams tenders, owners can customize the Sportjet 435 to match their needs, whether for simple cruising, diving or fishing.

14’3″ LOA, 6’4″ beam

 ZAR 85 SL

Top 15 Tenders and RIBs from Southern Boating ZAR 85 SL

The ZAR 85 SL combines dayboat amenities with RIB performance and utility. Passengers benefit from the versatile seating layout. The ZAR 85 SL’s lounging and living areas contain much-appreciated features, such as two refrigerated drawers, a gas grill, a U-shaped dinette, and a small cabin for two people with a head and sink. The boat also offers an electric windlass to make anchoring much easier.

Off the stern, the large swim platform features an integrated swim ladder. The ZAR 85 SL has room for up to 14 people, so she’s ready for entertaining. Performance-wise, rig the RIB with single or twin engines with a max of 500 horsepower. Equipped with max power, the ZAR 85 SL runs more than 55 knots with a range of more than 200 nautical miles at 36 knots.

28′ LOA, 10’8″ beam

The highly functional 12-foot RIB will always be popular in the Tenders and RIBs market. But, builders have expanded the idea further to make a RIB that also goes on dryland and water.

While a boat with wheels may not be what you’re looking for, today’s top Tenders and RIBs offer a surprise or two.

By Doug Thompson, Southern Boating May 2019