The Boating Forum

Talk me out of a RIB

Old 05-27-2019, 03:59 PM
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Default Talk me out of a RIB

I’m thinking about getting back into boating after being away for a number of years. As a good all-around boat, I’m leaning toward a Zodiac Pro Open 650. Something like this:

It seems like a good option for getting my feet re-wet (pardon the pun). Here’s a compilation of possible pros and cons. What am I missing?


• Basically, one big fender (except at the engine/transom).

• Lighter weight boat for size: less engine power required and easier to tow.

• Very stable under way.

• Surprisingly safe - lots of commercial, law enforcement, search and rescue and military users.

• Utilitarian – no unnecessary farkle (like fake wood on the dash, LOL).

• Smoother ride (in theory).

• Rated for up to 12 people.

• CE certified category B (with 5 passengers).

• Less cosmetic upkeep; less fiberglass to polish (kind of like a Triumph).

• Somewhat lower price:
• 2019 Boston Whaler Dauntless - 21 feet, 200HP, $88,000
• 2019 Zodiac Pro Open 650 - 21 feet, 150HP and T-top, $53,000
Not apples-to-apples, but close enough.


• Less deck space for fishing and such (but I’m only a half-hearted fisherman).

• Not necessarily pretty.

• Tubes can be punctured (yikes!

• Somewhat pricey for “buying air.”

• Tubes may not last as long as fiberglass gunwales (however, with Zodiacs at least, the tube set can be replaced pretty easily – slide off old, slide on new).

• Resale may not be as good as a solid-hull boat.
Old 05-27-2019, 05:45 PM
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Wildly popular in Western Australia, racks are loaded with midsize to large ribs. Used to deal with rough seas, and used for fishing (they say they are just careful). Have same questions. Once retired don’t want to pay for slip, and hear RIBs easy to trailer and launch. Fly fishing would be risky.

Old 05-27-2019, 06:16 PM
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I think ribs are fun to mess around but I have 3 things I don’t like.
1. Much less deck space than traditional boats
2. Expensive
3. Tubes could easily be punctured.

If you must get a new boat and budget is an issue, I would look at a less expensive boat. You don’t have to get a whaler. Get a sailfish or a sportsman or a sea hunt. Something along those lines.
Old 05-27-2019, 06:17 PM
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Motor around and check out the un-inflated ribs everywhere.. Think about it..

I'd rather get an aluminum utility boat.. No gelcoat to scratch or polish, no fear of barnacles, oysters or rocks., light and easy to store and tow. Require less power than a rib with a lot more space and regular seats. Some even with backrests.

2019 Alumacraft 16 Boat

Last edited by solarfry; 05-27-2019 at 06:23 PM.
Old 05-27-2019, 06:21 PM
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For the same 55k you can get a new sea hunt 225 ultra. Way more boat than the zodiac (more of a tender imo)
Old 05-27-2019, 06:23 PM
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Tubes typically last 10 years. $20K to replace ours on our 32 workboat
Old 05-27-2019, 06:28 PM
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The deck is a foot and a half narrower than a comparable size center console. The freeboard is only as high as the tube, which is mid-shin. There are a ton of ribs in Europe, maybe 40% of all recreational boats, in my estimate. They just never caught on in the States.
Old 05-27-2019, 06:32 PM
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Rub is for the USCG or a tender. You will shortly wish you spent your $50k on something else.
Old 05-27-2019, 07:49 PM
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I used to have a Zodiac Pro RIB. I thought it was great. The tubes are tougher than you might think. The replacement tubes for mine were about $2500. They did take a few months to get from France though. RIBs are light and use lots less HP. This means great mpg (for a boat). Mine would get about 10 mpg.

You do have to manage the tube pressure a bit, especially if the boat is not in the water (the water helps mitigate the temp swings in the tubes).

They are much more stable, but the ride may not be as smooth as you expect. You can get a deep V hull, but the tubes aren't going under water so they do tend to bob on top a bit. Some deep V RIBs are designed to run with the tubes out of the water when at speed, this can help the ride.

I only got rid of it because my wife wanted a boat that we could spend extended time on which requires a berth, cabin, and head. I was up for putting up a platform across the tubes and a tent, but she didn't care for that solution.

Check out
Old 05-28-2019, 04:07 AM
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There is just no room on the boat. The fun will fade fast.
Old 05-28-2019, 04:22 AM
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Dark tubes get hot to sit on. Be careful with t-top, was on one that got a little squirrelly at speed, felt think the t-top was acting like a wing. Same boat no t-top was fine. Otherwise great boats.
Old 05-28-2019, 04:26 AM
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I had a Novurania 430 for a few years, it had a 50 Yamaha on it. It was fun to rip around on, my kids were little at the time and they loved driving it around but that is about it.

I would not like to fish off a RIB.

I would get a solid boat, lot of options at your price point.

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