How to Choose the Right Size Patrol Boat

How to Choose the Right Size Patrol Boat

January 03, 2019

For professionals in any industry, performing your duty to the fullest means having the right equipment. When you work in a marine environment, there’s no equipment more important than your boat. That’s why it’s crucial to have a patrol vessel that’s ready to handle any operation — it allows you to get the job done right.

Choosing the right size boat is essential for any marine operation, but it’s especially crucial for law enforcement and assistance vessels. When duty calls, you don’t have the luxury of checking the weather and deciding whether to go or not — you need a boat that’s prepared to perform in the worst potential conditions.

Here at Fluid Watercraft, we make rigid inflatable boats, and we pride ourselves in equipping marine professionals of all sectors with optimal vessels. The Navy Seals, U.S. Coast Guard, law enforcement and other patrol operations all use rigid inflatables boats. Why? Performance and reliability. There’s no time for anything less than the best.

The United States Coast Guard Office of Search and Rescue reports that the Coast Guard saved 4,188 lives in 2017 alone. Having the optimal boat couldn’t be more critical.

In this guide, we’ll take you through how to pick the right size rigid inflatable boat for your patrol.

The Right Patrol Boat Size for You

The Right Patrol Boat Size For You

The best patrol boat size depends on your operation’s specific needs as well as where and how you operate. These are some factors to consider when picking your optimal vessel:

1. Operating Environment

The main deciding factor in selecting the appropriate rigid inflatable patrol boat size is the environment in which you operate. Simply put — ocean-going vessels are going to need extra size and capabilities than those used only for inshore purposes.

2. Inshore Operations

If your patrol operations are entirely inshore — like Fish and Wildlife enforcement on a lake or law enforcement on a river — you may be able to get away with a smaller vessel or one without an enclosed cabin. Most harbors and freshwater environment aren’t as affected by wind and waves, so you can opt for a less powerful, more maneuverable vessel.

Even smaller RIBs are ready to handle intense conditions, however. Our Fluid Patrol 505 model is the most used rescue boat in the United States and the main vessel in the National Sea Rescue institute’s fleet. At 16’5” and 80 max horsepower, it’s perfect for inshore patrol and rescue.

3. Offshore Operations

Offshore Boating Operations

For frequent ocean-going vessels, more size means better functionality in rough conditions. You need a boat that won’t have you bouncing around when things get choppy.

Models like our Patrol 780 are perfect for ‘all condition’ operations. At 25’6”, it’s a versatile size that’s ready to handle intense days at sea. With stabilizers and dynamic hull design, it’s made to reduce impact and crew fatigue for long patrols in rough waves.

When picking a patrol boat, you have to think about not only what the conditions are usually like, but also what they could be like. As a patrol or law enforcement vessel, you should base your vessel requirements on the worst conditions of the year.

When things get rough, that’s precisely when people are going to need emergency rescues and assistance. If your boat isn’t more than capable of handling the conditions, you’ll find yourself in a dangerous situation, too. You never want to feel like your vessel is pushed to its limits — you always need to be in control so that you can perform your duties without worrying about the seaworthiness of your boat.

When your vessel is capable of easily handling the conditions, you’ll be able to focus on your job and providing assistance.

4. Type of Mission

The size of the vessel you need depends on its function. Think about your day-to-day operations and what they typically require, as well as any rare days in which you’ve wanted a different size vessel. Bigger doesn’t always mean better — sometimes, a small, maneuverable craft is more functional.

Ask yourself a few questions:

Is this boat used for picking up passengers or just to take a few crew members from point A to point B? Will I need to tow vessels? Could I have to pick up several extra passengers? Do I need to carry additional, heavy equipment?

Patrol boats must be ready for any mission, and as any patrol officer will tell you, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. The best way to always be ready is to pick a boat with extra size and capability than what you might typically need.

If you’re looking for a boat for tow and recovery capabilities, a model like our Tow and Recovery 780 is a popular choice. SeaTow and other companies trust the Tow and Recovery 780 because it’s one of the most rugged towing vessels available. Built with 1670 ORCA Hypalon fabric, the inflatable siding can handle the stresses of daily towing. Like all of our boats, our towing vessels have a two-inch-wide aluminum beach keel plate to guard against impact from trailer or club gantry loading.

5. Length of Mission

Consider the time and distance of missions your boat typically embarks on, as well as the rare ones where you have to go much further.

Larger vessels are better suited for long missions — not only do they have a larger range and fuel capacity, but they’re more comfortable for you and your crew as well. Also, enclosed cabins keep you dry and protected from harsh conditions when you need to spend a long time at the helm.

For these kinds of missions, our Patrol Cabin 880 has the power and capacity to cover long distances comfortably and an enclosed wheelhouse to keep you and your crew sheltered from foul weather. Known as the definitive Special Forces boat, it’s used by more patrol operations worldwide than any other watercraft.

The Patrol Cabin 880’s uniquely designed hull allows it to get up on plane even when carrying several passengers and a lot of gear. It comes equipped with removable, lateral stabilizers which add extra stability when speeding in rough conditions. It’s highly maneuverable and stable, even with a large cargo load.

6. Number of Passengers

The number of passengers you usually carry helps determine the size patrol boat you need — more seating means you’ll need a larger boat. And don’t forget to allow enough room for free movement on the deck — crew members need easy mobility to work effectively.

Also, if you operate a law enforcement or rescue boat, you may find yourself picking up extra passengers if you make an arrest or help people off a vessel in distress. It’s important to choose a boat that can accommodate additional passengers and has the load capacity to get them safely to shore.

If you’re the first responder on a scene of an emergency, you don’t want to risk overloading your vessel to get people out of the water — choose a boat with more than enough capacity.

7. Power Requirements

Larger boats are equipped to handle larger horsepower engines. If you need a lightning-fast patrol boat or to cover long distances quickly, you may opt for a larger vessel for the power capabilities. Not to mention if you find yourself doing frequent towing, more power means more control in your tow.

Our larger models can support up to 350 horsepower, or two 150 horsepower outboards engines.

8. Dock Space

Slip space may also be a limiting factor for the size of the boat you can purchase. But be careful not to buy an undersized vessel to accommodate for your slip if it isn’t capable of everything you need.

9. Cargo

Is there any specialized equipment you need to bring onboard? Sometimes military and law enforcement operations have to carry large supplies or specialized equipment. Make sure the cargo you’ll need to bring along leaves enough room for your crew and a safe working load.

Why Use a Rigid Inflatable Patrol Boat?

Why Use a Rigid Inflatable Patrol Boat

Professionals from all marine sectors choose rigid inflatable boats because they’re unparalleled for functionality and performance. They’re perfect for patrol missions for several reasons:

1. High Capacity-To-Size Ratio

The inflatable siding of rigid inflatables gives them a much higher load capacity than a traditional boat. When carrying extra gear and passengers, it means you can do more with a smaller vessel.

If you’re looking for the most carrying capacity for your operation — our 880 model can carry up to 4,000 pounds.

2. Fuel Efficient

Unexpected missions may mean you don’t have time for a fill-up. If you get a distress call when you’re already out on patrol and far away from the dock, you most likely won’t have time to go back. Every second is precious when you respond to an emergency, so having a vessel that can go further with less fuel is essential.

As reported by the USCG Office of Search and Rescue — of the 618 lives lost in 2017, 198 of which were after the Coast Guard had already been contacted. Getting to the scene of an emergency just a few minutes earlier can mean saving more lives.

The rule of thumb for boating is always to use a third of your fuel to get out, a third to get back and a third as extra — should weather or other problems increase your runtime. With commercial operations, it’s better to leave yourself even more just in case or carry additional fuel supply.

3. Virtually Unsinkable

The Navy Seals and law enforcement officers trust rigid inflatable boats because they’ve been proven to be virtually unsinkable. These boats need to perform in rough conditions, and they also have to be able to deliver several passengers and valuable cargo safely.

Even if a RIB flips upside down, the inflatable siding is buoyant enough to keep the entire vessel afloat. And if the inflatable siding gets punctured, the baffled chambers ensure it stays seaworthy.

4. Highly Stable

The unique design of rigid inflatable boats means they’re exceptionally stable. The hard hull cuts through chop and provides a low center of gravity, while the inflatable siding reduces side-to-side motion. This stability provides crew members with a reliable place to stand and do their job.

Also, when you’re on patrol and have to be alert for several hours, you want a vessel that smooths ocean conditions and ups your comfort level. There’s a reason tour companies frequently choose rigid inflatable boats for their whale-watching and coastal adventures — they’re exceptionally comfortable.

5. Safe

Being a first responder to emergency distress signals or a law enforcement officer means you have to get close to other boats frequently. Having a boat with inflatable siding means you can approach other boats without worrying about fiberglass on fiberglass impacts.

6. Durable

The hard hull protects from damage in shallow areas or hidden underwater objects. Our RIBs are military-tough because of our advanced production process — using a low-resin, high-fiber composite, our hulls are free of imperfections and have an exceptionally high strength-to-weight ratio.

7. Powerful

With a low weight and capability to handle more powerful engines, rigid inflatables are known to be exceptionally powerful vessels — speed is key for any first responder or law enforcement official.

8. Cost-Effective

The simplicity of the RIB design is what’s responsible for their performance, as well as their affordability. Operating under a tight budget doesn’t mean you have to settle for a vessel that’s sub-optimal. Also, simple components make for simple repairs and replacements if necessary.

9. Maneuverable

The hard V-hull of rigid inflatable boats means they track just as well as a traditional vessel, but without the extra weight. Lightweight construction, plus a hydrodynamic design and power means rigid inflatables are quick and agile.

10. Easy to Trailer

Since RIBs are lightweight, they can be trailered by smaller vehicles for longer distances. One or two people can also quickly deploy them.

11. Easy to Store

If you need to keep your RIB patrol boat out of the water for a while, their inflatable siding means you can store them easily, even when space is limited. For transport, smaller models can be deflated and shipped trailer-free or stored in the cargo hold of a larger vessel.

Coast Guard and patrol officers worldwide are responsible for maintaining safety and law on the water, and they trust RIBs to do it. According to USCG statistics, their small patrol boats go on 396 missions/sorties, board 144 boats and inspect 100 large ships every day. There’s no time for an unreliable vessel.

Choose Fluid Watercraft for Your Commercial RIBs

We’re proud to make vessels that have been helping patrol vessels maintain safety on the water for years.

Our production team is made of engineers and designers — including ex-military aeronautical engineers — that design and manufacture based on real-world experience. Leveraging state-of-the-art production techniques, we use only the best materials to create superior vessels. We stand behind the quality of all of our products and offer a warranty for all of our vessels.

If you’re looking to upgrade your patrol vessel, feel free to browse our models of rigid inflatables. If you have any questions about choosing a patrol boat or would like to request a quote, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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How to Tow Inflatable Boats Properly

September 13, 2018

Anyone who spends a lot of time on the water should know how to tow a boat properly. Whether you’re regularly towing an inflatable tender, or you encounter a situation in which you are towing larger boats, understanding the proper techniques for towing is essential.

An improper tow can lead to unsafe conditions, and you may damage your boat or cause an accident. Protect your valuable investments and learn the right way — you’ll be happy you did.

In this article, we’ll go over the proper way to tow rigid-inflatable tenders, how to tow inflatable boats and some tips and tricks to help you.

Consequences of an Improper Tow

You don’t want to operate an unsafe tow — you could wind up damaging your boat, your tender or even your passengers. Because of the massive force and strain created when you tow a vessel, if something like a line or a D-ring fails, it can be very dangerous or costly. An improper tow setup can even lead to losing your dinghy. Take your time and plan ahead — you’ll be happy you did.

How to Tow a Tender

How to Tow a Tender

Firstly, you should always tow from the point of centralized tension on the back of the mother boat. Some boats have a central cleat on the stern you can tow from, but others may not. If your boat doesn’t have a cleat at the middle of the stern, you’ll have to make a bridle like the one we’re about to describe and attach it to your port and starboard stern cleats.

A good rule of thumb in RIB boat towing is to always attach your tow line to the D-rings on the port and starboard sides of the inflatable boat. If possible, it’s a good idea to add a third line to the central D-ring for added support and stabilization, but the main force of the tow should rest on the outer starboard and port rings. Towing the boat from the outer rings keeps it much more stable than just using the bow D-ring, and will lead to a smoother tow with less chance of taking on water.

Rigging a tow line setup to two attachment points on the sides of the boat is commonly called making a bridle. Improper rigging of tow lines will destabilize your vessel and could even lead to it capsizing.

The best method for towing an inflatable boat is a three-point bridle. If your boat only has a D-ring on the port and starboard side, a two-point bridle will work, but a three-point distributes the strain of the tow most effectively and will cause the least wear on your dinghy.

The first step in making a towing bridle is to tie a bowline at the end of your main tow rope — unless you already have a tow rope with a spliced loop in the end. We’ll go over how to tie a bowline later in this article. Next, take a section of line, run it through the loop created by the bowline you just tied in your main tow rope and attach the rope to the port and starboard D-rings with bowline knots. If you stopped at this point, you would have a two-point bridle setup.

If your dinghy has the central D-ring on the bow, attach a third section of line to your main tow line and the central D-ring with bowline knots. That will complete the third point for your bridle setup.

Since you created a loop with the bowline at the end of your main towing line, your bridle will have some room for movement, and the strain of the tow will distribute evenly between the two attachment points. If you managed to make a three-point bridle, the bow attachment will add extra stability to your tow and help keep the bow of your dinghy from veering off too much.

To keep your tow line out of the water when tension goes slack, some people like to add a float to their tow line. Slide the float on your main tow line before you tie the bowline for your bridle — it helps keep the lines from sinking too deep and potentially getting caught in your propeller. Another way to keep your line away from your propeller is to use polypropylene line, which is naturally buoyant, but be careful — it doesn’t hold knots as well as nylon.

Tips and Best Practices for Towing With Inflatable Boats

Inflatable Boat Towing Best Practices

One of the most common errors when towing smaller vessels is not using a bridle. Most people will only attach only one tow line directly to the central D-ring, which destabilizes the boat under tow and could lead to it taking on water.

Another common error to avoid is making a bridle and then tying it to your main tow line. If you have securely tied your bridle onto the main tow line and it cannot move, there will be uneven tension on the boat as it moves back and forth, and it will become very unstable. Instead, pass the bridle through the loop of the tow line to allow it free back-and-forth movement when you’re in tow — that allows the tension to distribute between the two main tow points evenly and will keep your boat stable.

Keep in mind, anything you leave on the deck of your inflatable could potentially end up overboard. It’s always best to stow all equipment if you can — that way, you won’t lose it, and it won’t be sliding around on the deck. When gear is free to move around, it shifts the weight on the boat and will cause an unbalanced tow.

Always make sure to tow your inflatable with an even distribution of weight on the tow lines. If all the tension stays on one side of the boat, the attachment points will be under a lot of stress and will wear much faster.

Whenever you’re towing, you want to make sure your dinghy is within the V-shaped wake your boat makes. Your boat smooths out the wind waves and chop, so the dinghy has a better and more predictable ride.

How far back should you tow your inflatable? It all depends on where and how fast you’re towing. A good rule of thumb in open water is to have your dinghy two waves back. The waves act as natural shock absorbers as your tow line dips into them and gives you a smoother tow.

If you’re towing in a large swell, you want to match your dinghy’s rise and fall with your boat’s. If you’re in the trough between waves, you want your dinghy in the trough too — this prevents uneven tension on the tow and keeps your inflatable from lurching and going slack.

How fast can you tow a dinghy? A typical speed for towing in open water is eight knots — if you want to go faster, you’ll need to let out extra towing line, and vice versa. It’s always better to tow at slower speeds if possible — increasing your speed too much will put additional strain on your inflatable, and any stability issues or water shipping will amplify.

If you’re towing inside a harbor, you’ll need to bring your dinghy close to your boat to avoid causing problems with other vessels. Other boaters often don’t see another boat is in tow and could drive between you and your inflatable. Also, if you need to turn quickly or slow down, you don’t want too much distance or slack line between you and your dinghy.

Always remove your outboard and other bulky items from your dinghy when possible if you plan on towing in open water. If you leave your motor on the transom during a tow, it adds extra weight and strain on your bridle. Also, if your inflatable happens to flip, you could lose your motor, or it could become waterlogged and ruined.

If your outboard isn’t detachable, be sure to raise it out of the water to reduce drag and strain on the mounting. It’s also a good idea to add a security cable in case the mount breaks — at least then you won’t lose your motor.

A Few More Quick Tips

  • Bring extra towing line — it’s cheap and could save you in case something breaks, or you need more.
  • Always carry a knife in case you need to cut a line in an emergency.
  • If operating in limited visibility or entering a harbor with frequent commercial traffic, use a VHF radio to alert other boats you’re towing another vessel, and where and when you’ll be coming through.

How to Tie a Bowline Knot

A bowline knot might be the most useful knot in boating — it has so many applications, and you’ll find yourself using it on land too. Bowlines are excellent because they can attach a single line to almost anything, self-tighten under strain and are easy to untie.

To tie a bowline, hold a section of line in your hand with the free end hanging down and away from you. Bring a portion of the hanging line on top of the line in your hand so it forms a shape like the number 6. Then, take the free end of the 6 and bring it up through the loop you created. Take the line around the back of the 6, then back down through the loop.

For an easy way to remember how to tie a bowline, you can tell yourself a little story: The rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree and back down through the hole. The hole is the loop of the 6, and the tree is the top line of the 6.

Towing a Larger Boat With an Inflatable Tender

Sometimes, it may be necessary to tow your mother boat with your tender. Whether it’s because of a mechanical failure or you need to use your dinghy to move your larger boat, it’s a good idea to know how.

If you’re uncomfortable towing and docking your vessel, we don’t recommend trying it if you don’t have to. Instead, call a professional towing assistance company to return you safely to your dock. You don’t want to risk getting out of control in a harbor and damaging other boats or people. Also, keep in mind the methods below depend on the size and power of your tender.

If you can’t contact a professional right away, you may tow your boat through open water and then contact authorities when you get closer to your destination.

To improve your skills in case of a situation where help isn’t available, practice some of the following methods in open water.

Side Towing

Also known as towing “on the hip,” side towing is a useful method when you’re covering short distances in calm to moderate conditions. To side tow, you’ll want to tie up to the boat on the side away from where you’ll be bringing it to a dock, so think about how you’ll bring the boat in beforehand. You’ll want to tie up to the boat you’re towing as far aft as possible while still being able to see where you’re going — that will give you the most control over the larger boat.

Side towing can be more difficult for long sailboats because their outline doesn’t allow for an aft tie-up. Also, boats with catamaran hulls don’t respond well to side tows.

Boat Side Towing

Always test the handling of your towing setup before trying to dock or maneuver. Get a feeling for how the boats handle together and how much distance you’ll need to bring them to a stop when you put the boat in neutral.

Pushing From Astern

This method works well for covering longer distances in moderate conditions when you need to have good control — like in a harbor or around other vessels. In some situations, crew members use tenders to control very large boats with this kind of setup.

Pushing from astern works well for most types of boats, but some sailboats with a reverse or scoop transom may be difficult to control.

Towing Astern

Towing a boat astern is the best method for rougher conditions and long tows. Contrary to what some might think, this method requires the most skill and attention — it can be hazardous if not done correctly.

A safe tow is all about planning ahead. Think about what could go wrong and test everything before you put it into action. Establish signals with your helmsman before you begin your tow, as communication won’t be as easy after you get underway — a handheld radio is also a good idea.

Take your time, and practice maneuvering in open water before getting into tighter areas. Again, if you are uncomfortable, ask for professional assistance in an emergency.

Fluid Watercraft Rigid Inflatable Boats

Here at Fluid Watercraft, we’re first and foremost committed to safety. We know our customers’ well-being depends on the quality of our craftsmanship, and that’s why we only offer the best. Our selection of rigid-inflatable boats boasts the highest-quality performance RIBs at competitive pricing.

If you have any other questions or want to learn more about our rigid-inflatable boats, browse our website or contact us for more information.

Fluid Watercraft RIB Boats

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The Top 10 Benefits of Rigid Inflatable Boats

August 20, 2018

Rigid inflatable boats are quickly becoming the preferred choice for many marine professionals. Why? They’re incredibly versatile and offer a surprising number of advantages over traditional hard-hulls. Not only are they cost-effective, but they also offer performance and reliability that you can’t find in other types of vessels.

If you aren’t familiar with rigid inflatable boats, here’s what you need to know. RIBs get their name from their construction — a hard v-hull with inflatable siding. The unique design is what gives them their versatility and toughness. Originally developed at Atlantic College in Wales as a high-performance, rough-water rescue craft, RIBs can handle any conditions, and their functionality has led to wide public use. Many groups from the United States Army, Navy, Coast Guard and law enforcement to recreational boaters recognize the benefits of RIBs.

Here at Fluid Watercraft, we use the most advanced materials available when constructing our military-tough RIBs. We make our hulls out of a composite laminate — they have a low-resin, high-fiber construction that results in a void-free matrix and an unparalleled strength to weight ratio. We make rigid inflatables with materials that allow for the ultimate speed and damage resistance.

Throughout this article, we’ll go over some of the reasons to choose rigid inflatable boats and the advantages that have made them a staple in the marine world.

1. Lightweight

RIBs are very lightweight because of their inflatable siding and laminate hull construction. This not only increases their fuel efficiency, it greatly increases their carrying capacity.

lightweight rib boats

Whether you’re using your vessel as a workboat, carrying passengers for hire or transporting soldiers and supplies, it’s important to always stay within the safe working load range. Rigid inflatable boats have a high capacity that allows you to load up your boat with more stuff while still being within the safe working limit, which lets you operate more efficiently and more safely.

2. Stable

The hard-hull, inflatable-collar combination gives RIBs their superior stability compared to traditional boats. The buoyancy of the tubes makes them virtually unsinkable and also very stable. When you’re running at high speeds, you don’t have to worry about stability issues that arise with some other types of lightweight watercraft.

Marine professionals trust RIBs because they’re so seaworthy. No matter the operation — military, law enforcement or passenger boat — a more stable vessel lets you operate more easily and more effectively.

3. Easy to Maneuver

One problem with inflatables without the hard v-hull construction is they don’t hold their course well. The hard v-hull on rigid inflatable boats let them track just as well as a traditional vessel. Whether your marine operation needs the deep v-hull for longer range trips or a shallower hull that gets up on plane faster, there’s a RIB that will work for your unique situation.

Also, the decreased weight of rigid inflatable boats makes them extremely responsive and easy to maneuver, especially when running with an empty load. Combined with the protection from their inflatable siding, RIBs are excellent to maneuver in tight spaces and around other boats because they’re so responsive and precise. This makes docking and side-tying to other vessels much easier and safer.

4. More Powerful

The design of RIBs is made to support more powerful motors. These boats were designed for rescue missions in intense ocean conditions and have the performance needed to save valuable time.

Because of their lightweight construction, rigid inflatable boats require comparably less horsepower than traditional vessels to reach the same speed or get up on plane. This means you’ll be operating at a more fuel efficient RPM and will be able to achieve faster speeds more quickly.

Military and law enforcement use rigid inflatable boats because they have the power to get the job done. Some lightweight vessels require motors that are less powerful, but RIBs are designed to support more horsepower, making them the first choice of marine professionals like the Navy Seals and towing companies.

5. Faster

Because of their lightweight construction and compatibility with more powerful motors, RIBs are extremely fast. For rescue and military operations, every second is precious. If your work requires a vessel that can get you to where you need to be as quick and safely as possible, look no further than rigid inflatable boats.

military rigid inflatable boats

As described by the United States Navy Seals, these boats are powerful, high-performance vessels made for operations in rough seas. The U.S. military and law enforcement favor rigid inflatables because of their performance and reliability. When you’re performing a high-risk, high-importance mission, you can’t be worried about the capabilities of your vessel.

6. Fuel Efficient

Because of the lightweight construction of RIBs, they are more fuel-efficient than other types of vessels. It takes less power to get the boat up to speed and you can get up on plane faster and with less energy — this increases your range and means you can get more work done with the same amount of gas.

If you use you RIB for a passenger-oriented business like touring or whale watching, cutting down on your fuel costs has an instant and extremely positive impact on your profits. Fuel is often the largest expense for commercial boating operations, and RIBs are an excellent way to cut costs without sacrificing functionality.

7. Variety of Uses

Boaters use rigid inflatables in many different marine sectors. Besides being the number one choice for military, navy and rescue operations, they are quickly becoming a popular option for recreational boaters too.

Here’s who uses rigid inflatable boats:

  • First Responders: When you have to be ready to go at a moment’s notice, you need complete confidence in your vessel. First responders and marine rescuers use RIBs because they know these boats are designed to handle any situation safely and effectively. The United States Coast Gaurd saves thousands of lives every year and responds to tens of thousands of distress situations.
  • Military: The United States Coast Guard, Navy and Army trust rigid inflatable boats for every mission. Our expert engineers and ex-military specialists design boats that push the boundaries of function for rescue and tactical operations. Whether it be transporting soldiers and gear, or for training exercises and special operations, RIBs are built to handle it all.
  • Law Enforcement: Police officers and marine patrol vessels need boats designed for performance and precision. Rigid inflatable boats have the toughness and smooth ride to perform in any situation. Whether for inshore patrol or rough seas, Fluid Watercraft’s RIBs help officers get the job done.
  • Workboats: Marine professionals trust RIBs because of their dependability. When you work aboard assistance vessels like a towboat, you don’t want to worry about having issues with your boat while you’re on the job. Rigid inflatables are not only resistant to trauma but also their parts are easily repairable and replaceable when necessary to keep your business running smoothly.
  • Commercial Passenger Boats: No matter where you take your passengers, there’s a RIB that’s perfect for your operation. Whether you’re on calm lake waters or watching for whales in the open ocean, RIBs are easily customizable — from seating configurations to sizing and power options.
  • Recreational Boaters: Because of their versatility and wide range of benefits, recreational boaters have realized how capable and fun rigid inflatable boats can be. They’re perfect for watersports, diving, exploring or as a dinghy for private yachts. RIBs are also great for families. They’re not only designed to give your passengers a safe and comfortable ride, but they’re also equipped for a full day of adventure, no matter what you like to do. Powerful motor capabilities make waterskiing and towing inflatable toys easy, and if you’re teaching the young ones how to dock a boat, it’s nice to have the protection from the inflatable collar for little bumps and nudges. Finally, there are RIB options that don’t sacrifice style for functionality.

rigid inflatable workboats

8. Used in All Types of Water

Marine professionals and recreational boaters use rigid inflatable boats in all types of water. No matter where you are or what kind of boating you do, there’s a rigid inflatable boat to suit your needs. Just like with traditional boats, they come in anything from small tenders up to powerful workboats that can hold many people and a lot of gear.

While marine engineers designed rigid inflatable boats for rescue missions in rough ocean conditions, the design has adapted into many different layouts. Some RIBs have all open deck space for day trips and leisure trips, while others have an enclosed cabin and deep v-hull for intense ocean operations. There are also a variety of different accessories available for RIBs, so you can outfit your boat exactly the way you need it.

9. Safer

Safety is always the priority in any boating situation. An advantage of RIBs is their increased safety due to the inflatable collar that surrounds the boat. Having inflatable siding not only helps protect your boat and other boats while docking and maneuvering in tight spaces, but it also reduces the impact if you ever happen to get into a more serious collision. Rigid inflatable boats are extremely tough and virtually unsinkable. Their inflatable collar keeps the vessel upright, even when taking on water.

While rigid inflatable boats were initially designed by engineers for extreme rescue purposes, the inflatable siding makes life easier for everyday boating operations. Whether you’re using the boat as a workboat or for recreation, having inflatable siding makes everything easier — you can pull up to a dock or another vessel and not worry about damage like you would with a hard-hull boat.

If you use your vessel for towing or side-tying purposes, you don’t want to worry about damaging the boats you assist. Even professionals get in awkward situations sometimes when operating in rough seas and heavy weather, but with inflatable siding, you don’t have to worry about a small mistake causing damage to your client’s boat.

If you use your rigid inflatable boats to carry passengers for hire, it provides a safer environment for your guests — especially if your passengers are inexperienced boaters. In rough conditions where everything is moving around, it’s great to have the protective, cushioned siding of rigid inflatable boats as opposed to the hard fiberglass of traditional hard hulls. Your passengers will be safer, and you won’t have to worry as much about an injury or awkward missteps.

10. More Comfortable

A comfortable ride is essential for anything you do on the water — whether you’re working or having fun, you don’t want to be uncomfortable when things get a little rough. The hard hull and inflatable collar provide excellent shock absorption compared to other boats. When you have a comfortable, stable ride, you’ll be able to work more efficiently.

comfortable inflatable boats

Comfort is especially important if you use your boat to carry passengers for hire. If your guests can’t focus on their adventure because they’re uncomfortable, it won’t be a pleasant experience. The stability and shock absorption from RIBs makes for an excellent experience for your guests, even in rough water. Also, passenger RIBs are specially designed to give your guests a great view and a comfortable seat.

Why Buy a RIB Boat?

Rigid inflatable boats provide the ultimate combination of performance, comfort, and affordability. They are the ultimate water-faring vessel. Whether you need a workboat or a pleasure cruiser, there’s a RIB for you.

Learn More About Fluid Watercraft’s RIBs

Here at Fluid Watercraft, we pride ourselves in giving our customers top-of-the-line RIBs at affordable prices. We manufacture all of our tenders in our 100,000-square-feet headquarters in Europe, where a team of experts, ex-military and aeronautical engineers craft industry-leading designs. No detail is too small to stress, and we take pride in knowing that we equip our customers with the best.

There are cheap RIB options available, but you often get what you pay for. We offer a wide range of affordable, high-quality tenders and we never compromise quality. You depend on your RIB, and we manufacture every product we make with this frame of mind, using the latest technology and only the best materials. We maintain a National Marine Manufacturers Association certification and all of our boats undergo rigorous quality assurance checks.

No matter what design you need, we have a solution that fits your price-point. If you’d like any more information about our RIBs, please contact us with any questions or to request a quote.

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Great white shark ecotourism off Cape Cod is a growing concern

August 08, 2018

With a burgeoning seal population, the Cape Cod region attracts hundreds of great white sharks each summer, in turn drawing tourists interested in catching a close-up glimpse of these apex predators.

Consequently, Cape waters have become a great white shark ecotourism destination with boats offering tours to view the largest predatory fish in the world.

But with great white sharks becoming a “booming business,” there is a growing concern by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy that too many tour boats could alter the behavior of the sharks and have implications for the species as well as for public safety, as reported by the Cape Cod Times.

So Atlantic White Shark Conservancy president Cynthia Wigren is calling for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to consider regulating eco-tour businesses before there is an explosion of boats and spotter planes.

“In South Africa … it’s a huge industry, centered around white sharks,” said Michelle Wcisel, a zoologist and behavioral ecologist at the conservancy, speaking Wednesday at a regional shark working group in Orleans Town Hall.

“Once the population estimate [from state shark scientist Greg Skomal’s population study] comes out, you will have many people coming down here to do it. It’s a multi-multi-million dollar business in South Africa.”

The conservancy suggested ecotourism regulations similar to those used in the South Africa cage-diving industry. The ultimate hope is that the DMF will develop new rules governing a new industry. Some suggested regulations include establishing permits and limiting the number of permitted vessels to three.

“It’s already a business, hiring a pilot and finding sharks,” Wigren told the group, according to the Times.

Even the conservancy does it. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy partnered with Chatham Bars Inn to sell seats on a boat that shadows its research vessel that tags great white sharks. Hotel guests pay $2,500 per person with the money going to research.

But Wcisel has identified at least five companies online offering tours to see great white sharks.

Chatham Fishing Charters is one. The website states, “If you’d like to go on a ‘camera only shark hunt,’ you’ve come to the right place. We work with professional spotter pilot George Breen and have the ability to communicate live and privately with the plane to put us right on the sharks.”

However, Rob Wissmann, owner/operator of Blue Claw Boat Tours, which run seal and harbor cruises, told the Cape Cod Times that there shouldn’t be a restriction on the number of boats, saying responsible captains would not spook sharks any more than shark tagging, which the AWSC does.

“I don’t think the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy should have a corner on the market,” he told the Times. “This is a resource that’s not different from snowy owls and seals.

“There’s so many sharks out there. We see them in the harbor, and on occasion in the inlets…

“We bring tourism to the Lower Cape. When you have an ecotourism boat that wants to go out, I think they should let the guy do it. It brings a lot of money into the economy. It’s a great chance to bring millions [of dollars] to the Cape and educate people.”

Top photo used with permission from © Wayne Davis and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. The generic great white shark photo is from Wikipedia Commons. Shark-tagging photo used with permission of © Wayne Davis and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

Follow David Strege and BNQT Outdoors on Facebook andTwitter.

Original Article: MSN Lifestyle

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Sea Tow Virgin Islands rescues grounded cargo ship

July 16, 2018

At 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Capt. Alan Wentworth, owner of Sea Tow Virgin Islands, got a phone call. As most of us know, when your phone rings at that time of day it’s rarely good news. A 223-foot cargo ship had run aground near Charlotte Harbor in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

“I got called by the ship’s agent, who asked me to go out there and get it off,” Wentworth said in a phone interview this morning. “I had a similar-size vessel three years ago [run aground] about 50 feet to the left.”

The ship, Ocean Spirit I, was around the corner from Wentworth’s home, so he went down and met with the captain. He and the crew ensured that the hull had not been breached.

“They checked the bilges to make sure there was no water coming in and checked that no oil was going out,” Wentworth said.

The U.S. Coast Guard also inspected the vessel, and Capt. Anne Allard, the only diver in the Virgin Islands certified by the American Bureau of Shipping, dove beneath the vessel to further inspect it.

Wentworth explained that at least half of the vessel, which has an unladen weight of 852 tons, was hard aground. The most serious threat to the vessel was that it was moving back and forth on the rocks beneath it, which was basically the equivalent of grinding a file on the bottom of the boat.

The boat ran aground when the captain fell asleep after entering the channel. The ship was coming from Puerto Rico, and was loaded with more than $1 million of propane, lumber, automobiles and other supplies that were needed for continued recovery from Hurricane Maria.

“That was an incentive to get it off before the next tide,” Wentworth said. “It was all hurricane relief supplies.”

About noon, Wentworth and his team from Sea Tow Virgin Islands got to work, pulling with a 25-foot Fluid rigid-hull inflatable powered by twin 250-hp Yamaha outboards and a 36-foot Fluid RIB with triple 250-hp Mercury outboards.

Additionally, a 40-foot crew boat with triple 300-hp Yamaha outboards was pushing the boat from both sides and the cargo ship’s twin inboards were in reverse, as well. After about an hour of pulling and pushing, the boat floated free.

“When she started moving 15 feet port and starboard with the boat pushing east and west, we knew we could get it off,” Wentworth said. “We would have never gotten her off if the propellers had been fouled.”

Wentworth did have a large-vessel salvage company on standby if he determined that his crew couldn’t get the cargo vessel free.

Most people would assume that a company such as Sea Tow mainly handles emergency situations involving pleasure boats. Wentworth has been in the U.S. Virgin Islands for 10 years and said he has dealt with a number of commercial-vessel incidents.

“We do whatever kind of work comes along down here,” he said.


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