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SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

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  • SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

    Can someone explain to me the advantages of a SIB over a RIB, or a RIB over a SIB? Also, SIB/RIB owners, why did you buy your boat over a traditional boat? I have a Sevylor SIB and am looking to upgrade to something that I can spend the day on the Chesapeake with. Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

    I have no driveway and live in a city, so I run SIBs under 14'. I am also limited to engines I can carry, so no more than a 20hp 4-stroke. My current SIB is a 11' Zodiac, it seats 4 adults, we use it more for exploration versus day-cruising. I can car top the inflated boat by myself [and I'm only 5'7"]. I have all of my regulation gear and tools in one duffle bag, which is always in my car [a Subaru Outback wagon] along with my life vests.

    Often I leave the motor in the car too [presently an 8hp 4stroke honda, ~80lbs and top speed of ~18mph w/just me, 11-15 w/2 people, 8mph with 3], so all I need to do to go boating is throw the boat on the car, strap it on, grab some drinking water, a marine radio off of the charger, file a "float plan" with a friend/fiancee, and my fuel tank, and go.

    Load in takes less than 15 minutes, unloading the boat from the car under 10. I back up to the ramp [Long Island Sound/New Haven Harbor], set brake, chock wheels, release the straps, drop the boat in, secure a line from the bow to shore/dock/anchor, place motor on transom, place fuel+duffle bag in bow, pull chocks, park car, while walking put vest on, hop in boat, connect fuel, start engine, check for tell-tale, pull bow line....and I'm off.

    Because of my speed and light load, I can also launch in areas accesable only by canoe/kayak [no, I don't launch in areas where my boat is not permitted]. I can carry every thing over rocky shores. For longer trips I deflate the boat and store in car, then I can "safely" drive 75+ on the highway to my destination. We've also put this boat/motor in a Toyota Corrolla [use an air mattress inflator to get tubes up, then finish with double-action hand pump].

    Would I like a 14'+ RIB and 40hp? Hard to say.

    We definitely want a 21'-27' sailboat for weekends or longer, and we definitely want to keep 2-4 man "explorer" boat. So likely we'll keep the SIBs and use as a tender for future sailboats and solo/pair exploration. I expect ~20mph+ w/2 people with a 4 stroke 15hp [~120lbs]

    Some advantages of a RIB: Better chop handling. SIBS can be..uncomfortable on rough water. Also, RIBs can run larger engines.
    Some disadvantages of a RIB: Weight, higher cost, transportation [trailer only], storage.


    • #3
      Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

      A SIB is lighter in weight. Whether you are carrying it, trailering it, beach launching or rolling it over for repair weight is key. A soft bottom can take quite a bit of abuse and I don't stress beaching it carefully. Less draft too.

      A well designed RIB hull will ride through chop and waves better. The solid hull facilitates the mounting of accessories and it is easier to use davits with mounts on the solid hull.

      Both SIB and RIB designs are more stable than most traditional hulls. I've had two fishing off the tube together on one side of my Futura and the boat is stable. You really have to watch that in a small hard hull boat. Most SIBs and RIBs have higher weight capacity than a comparably sized hard hull. Most SIB and RIB designs will float well when swamped.

      Both SIBs and RIB designs lose a lot of floor space due to the tubes. Hard hull boats are relatively impervious to puncture, don't change pressure with temp and maximize open space.

      I couldn't trailer a RIB or hard hulled boat as big as my zodiac down dirt roads in mexico using my toyota four wheel pick up. Didn't want to buy a bigger truck and beat up a heavier boat. Guesstimate your use 90% of the time and try to accommodate that.


      • #4
        Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

        Generally one begins with a cheap inflatable toy, then if he likes boating passes to a sib, if he really gets hooked with these toys and sea passes to a rib and usually bigger each time. If you have the money to buy a medium rib with it's max engine, a trailer and shaded space at home, definitely go for a rib. Both have it's pros & cons as stated on previous posts. Will depend on the type of boating you will be doing, the size, engine you'd like and the easiness conditions to launch your combo from beach, boat ramp, marina crane launch. What size and how many boating mates were you thinking about ?

        Happy Boating

        Sea Rider 320, 380 Sibs, 450 Rib, 2 Strokes Tohatsu 5,18 & 30 HP Proud Smokers


        • #5
          Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

          Originally posted by RickVS View Post
          Can someone explain to me the advantages of a SIB over a RIB, or a RIB over a SIB? Also, SIB/RIB owners, why did you buy your boat over a traditional boat? I have a Sevylor SIB and am looking to upgrade to something that I can spend the day on the Chesapeake with. Thanks.
          Inflatable over a RIB = Portablity and weight

          Rib over an inflatable = Performance
          My answers are like Zen...It may not be the answer you want, but it is generally the answer you need.

          The 3 Rules:

          1) Look in your service manual first...Then ask me if it is correct.
          2) Understand that your desire to repair your engine does not mean that you have the ability to do so.
          3) If you are confused, take your engine into a dealer..Then let them be confused...At least, in theory, they sent someone to outboard 101.


          • #6
            Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

            My Zodiac 16' RIB is easier to handle (on land and sea) due to the lighter weight. The towing weight is under 1000# including the trailer, motor, boat, and gear. While normally launched from a trailer on a ramp, it is possible to pull it up on the beach (e.g overnight camping).

            The lighter weight makes for a faster boat on fairly low HP. My boat will go 30mph (just) on 40Hp. Also, it averages 9-10 mpg, so it's 6 gallon tank lasts all day (usually only use 3-4 gallons per outing).

            It is very stable. Everybody on one side will not change the lateral trim much at all. You can get in an out very easily and not worry about upsetting the boat. Getting in from the water may be a bit more difficult without the right kind of ladder, but getting into a fiberglass boat of any size without a ladder is pretty difficult.

            You don't need fenders at the dock or against another boat.

            On the down side, since the tubes float well, they really don't like getting down in the water. This along with the lesser mass means that in rough water the hull will penetrate the waves well until the tubes hit then the boat stops going down. Rough water can result in a rougher ride than the equivalent fiberglass boat (less buoyant and heavier). On the other hand a RIB is less likely to ship any water in rough weather (it floats on top). Larger RIBs tend to have deeper V hulls. There are some that normally ride with the tubes clear of the water which probably softens the ride a bit.

            The tubes are a bit more fragile than a fiberglass boat. You have to watch for things like old nails sticking out of the pier and keep tabs on the tube pressure. However, if you carry a patch kit you can make sufficient repairs to get you home pretty quickly. If you hole FG you probably can't repair it on the water. You can deflate the tubes when doing work on the boat (essentially take off the sides of the hull, can't do that with a hard boat).

            You have to watch for things like old nails sticking out of the pier and keep tabs on the tube pressure. On spring and fall days there will be a noticeable change in the tube pressure between mid day and mornings or evenings.

            You can get a RIB that is tricked out or you can get one with a bare deck. This allows the user to configure the boat pretty much anyway you want. A hard boat usually comes in a certain configuration with only minor options in the arrangement available.


            • #7
              Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

              That toy costs over 120 grand...ouch!!! on your bank account.

              Sea Rider 320, 380 Sibs, 450 Rib, 2 Strokes Tohatsu 5,18 & 30 HP Proud Smokers


              • #8
                Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

                Thanks for everyone's input. In terms of SIB vs. RIB, I think I'm leaning towards RIB since I would expect to trailer it and launch only from boat launches. It's usually just my wife and I though at times we may bring along a few more for company. Some questions I have: (feel free to answer one or all):

                1. Since I don't have a shady area in my back yard, can you get a cover for a SIB/RIB to protect the boat from UV?
                2. Can you water ski with a RIB? How much HP is required for that? What size RIB would I need?
                3. iLL13 mentioned that s/he doesn't launch the Zodiac where it isn't permitted. Where would a SIB/RIB not be permitted to launch?
                4. One thing that we like about our 12' Sevylor toy, is that it has a soft bottom, so we just plop in and it's comfy. Is a soft bottom an option on any SIB/RIB?
                5. What is draft and why is it important?
                6. What kind of accessories would I be interested in mounting to a RIB's hull?
                7. What is the trailering weight for a SIB vs. RIB? Are most RIBs about 1,000#? Right now I have a minivan that I could pull it with. Would I need to upgrade my vehicle?
                8. How loud is a 40 HP engine? Do you need to wear hearing protection if you're running it all day long?
                9. What kind of gear should I think about buying with the boat? Is a marine radio necessary?
                10. What does 'ship' water mean?
                11. What does 'If you hole FG' mean?
                12. Would I have to worry about a sunny backyard if the boat was Hyperlon?
                13. What is a trim tab and why is it important?

                Thanks for the education!


                • #9
                  Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

                  1. You can buy a pre-made cover, make one yourself, or have a custom one made.
                  2. You can ski and tube behind a RIB provided you have sufficient horsepower in the engine. The amount of horsepower will depend on the size of you RIB, the number of people in the boat, and the size of the skier.
                  3. The only thing I can think of is some places only allow canoes and kayaks. Other places do not allow gas/diesel motors (electric may be ok).
                  4. A RIB almost by definition has a hard floor (kind of the point). I have heard some people use an air mattress. A camping pad may also work.
                  5. Draft is the depth in the water of the lowest part of the boat (this part will be touching the bottom if the water depth equals the draft). As the boat load increases, the draft gets deeper. The draft is usually greatest (for a given weight) when the boat is not moving.
                  6. Whatever you want. This might include seats, steering console, some sort of sun protection, depth finder. Depends on what you want to do with it.
                  7. My 16' RIB is under 1000# all up, including the trailer. The actual weight depends on the size of the RIB and the size of the engine. I tow my RIB behind a minivan with no problems. The only thing I usually open the rear hatch when backing up, particularly if the trailer is empty (can't see it without the boat on it in the mirrors). Having the hatch open when launching also helps judging so you don't go too far down the ramp.
                  8. A 40Hp going full throttle makes a fair amount of noise, but not painfully loud. With the motor at full speed you will have to speak loudly to be heard but you do not need hearing protection.
                  9. You need whatever the local authorities say you need (at a minimum). You may also want a radio, fishing gear, repair kit, engine tools, gas tank, fire extinguisher, mooring lines, anchor.
                  10. To "ship water" is to collect water in your boat (e.g. "there is water in the ship").
                  11. "hole FG" = put a hole (an undesired opening) in fiberglass (what most boats are made of).
                  12. While a hypalon boat will not be as affected as a PVC boat, the finish will still fade. Other parts of the boat (e.g. seats) are also eventually be damaged by the sun.
                  13. A trim tab is a projection off the back of the hull the is used to adjust the angle of the hull relative to the water. Usually to make it level. A trim tab also helps to get the boat planing (running on the water surface) faster (at a lower speed). Some tabs are fixed, others are adjustable either at the dock or when underway. In a smaller RIB the trim is usually adjusted by changing the angle of the motor relative to the transom. This can be a manual adjustment or electric. Some can be adjusted while underway and some can only be adjusted when stopped or at low speed.


                  • #10
                    Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

                    Great! Thanks a lot.



                    • #11
                      Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

                      Lot's of questions! It is good to do a little research. No boat does it all! It is hard, but if at all possible you want to figure out what you will spend most of your time doing and base your decisions on that. I know I really need three boats, my sib, a ski boat and a something larger for offshore fishing. I decided the sib fit most of my boating needs.

                      If you think you want to waterski that sets the bar pretty high. It is much harder to start a skier, particularly on a single ski. There just isn't that much surface area to lift you up. It is much easier to start a wakeboarder or hydrofoiler and they don't require as high of a speed to ride. I run a Zodiac Futura Mk2 with a 3 cyl 40 hp outboard and I don't even bother with skiers. It just isn't a good match. My old zodiac had transom issues when I bought it and I'm sure I will have to do some work on the rest of the transom eventually. You can tow stuff with an inflatable, but in the long run a rib with a solid integral transom would be the most reliable choice (there are some ribs with folding transoms, not a great choice for towing). Sibs and Ribs are not the ideal ride for towed watersports, but an expensive ski boat certainly isn't required.

                      The solid hull does make it easier to mount and modify your boat. I have permanently mounted benches and console/bench, suspension seating, a custom fuel tank, securely fastened AGM battery, a short ski pole, fishing rod holders, surfboard racks and sling attachment points. There are endless possibilities! An inflatable floor SIB is a great packable item, but unless you go with a frame it is hard to mount stuff. My zodiac has a hard aluminum floor. A little more complicated to mount to, but better than an inflatable floor.

                      UV is hard on both hypalon and PVC. Hypalon should take exposure better, but one of the real issues is heat. Even a covered boat that is allowed to bake in high heat will have issues over time. At the minimum a boat cover is good, while a covered storage spot is better and a garage is the best.

                      The larger the outboard the more value in trim tabs. I run with smart tabs. They are self adjusting gas cylinder tabs. They keep your bow down on the hole shot. Balancing your load helps a lot, but if you go for bigger boat and want to tow trim tabs are a good investment.

                      A boat is better than no boat! You will have fun. Everything doesn't have to be perfect when you start. Get wet!

                      gotta ride

                      no more room to add more stuff...

                      hydrofoiling behind the sib


                      • #12
                        Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

                        If you have a reasonable area at back yard, you could build a tent like facility for your sib/rib combo, get a thick cover, use Aerospace 303 fabric UV protectant if going for PVC/Akron fabrics. To ski with a rib will need a ski pole or damge to lateral tubes will happen if securing tow rope to transom d'rings at constant tight turns. If going for a top 30 HP engine, you must only ski with skier and driver, probably will need a second prop to better actual hole shot.

                        You can place an air floor inside rib if wanting to boat sitting on inside deck or for sun bathing & rest. This is a boating eccentricity, nobody in their right mind asks for them, just some cracy people like me which are factory customed ordered. If you buy a rib without bow locker could fit a standard sib air matt inside. Air matts are only available for max 360/365 mt size sibs. Valiant Ribs are nice alternatives to other pricy brands, their web page doesn't mention the fabric used, used to work with Akron (Polyurethane fabric) which costs less then Hypalon and more then PVC. Nice heavy duty fabric material.

                        Check their 380 open or DR 400 rib models, consoles takes lot's of interior space, go for any that are plain open, any of them with a 30 HP will fly... If you are going to do a reasonable investment, don't go under any 380 lenght rib as a starter.

                        Happy Boating
                        Attached Files

                        Sea Rider 320, 380 Sibs, 450 Rib, 2 Strokes Tohatsu 5,18 & 30 HP Proud Smokers


                        • #13
                          Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

                          ssobol is correct with respect to canoe/kayak only launching areas.

                          And in my experience [and I believe others here] your first boat will not be your last!


                          • #14
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                            Re: SIB vs. RIB vs. Traditional Boats

                            In Northern VA there are a number of small lakes and reservoirs do not allow gas powered boats. With an outboard you can take the motor off if you have to. One lake around here allows you to put a boat in with an outboard mounted but you can't run it and it must be tilted out of the water.

                            While a hypalon fabric generally lasts longer than PVC, a hypalon boat is glued together. The fabric may last a while but the glue joints can fail. I have had a brand new hypalon boat fail after only a few hours because of a poor assembly job.

                            With PVC the seams are either thermowelded (heat fused) or glued. The PVC glue softens the material. When the two pieces are joined the PVC kind of flows together and becomes one as the glue cures. While the fabric itself may not last as long as hypalon, the joins are more solid.

                            In either case not gluing the fabric together properly will result in a boat with poor life expectancy.