Considering an inflatable/RIB for diving

thdiver

Recruit
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
5
We're looking at options for a general purpose boat for the Pacific coast - pretty much in protected or near-shore waters, Georgia Straits area. We are divers, and want to be able to get into the boat without incredible contortions, but we also want a boat that can get around and is easy to work with. We have a few years with our Hobie 18 (which has entirely different purposes and will be kept), but this will be intended as a simple, fun, easy to live with powerboat. Likely will be trailer stored near a launch or harbor rather than in the water full time.

Just based on the waters we'll be in and the weights and size of dive gear, I'm thinking a 12-15 ft boat with a 20-30 HP motor is a good place to start - but what does the collective wisdom say?

I also am wrestling with the question of diver return-to-boat issues - one way to address this is a catamaran design, another would be a RIB-specific ladder such as an Armstrong (pricey!). Any experience to offer here?

Thanks!
 

Sea Rider

Supreme Mariner
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
10,855
Welcome to Iboats,

With how many divers do you plan going diving with, diving gear adds extra load to the divers weight and rests storage space on deck. So a Rib would be the way to go instead than an alum deck Sib in those mentioned sizes.

Happy Boating
 

thdiver

Recruit
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
5
Welcome to Iboats,

With how many divers do you plan going diving with, diving gear adds extra load to the divers weight and rests storage space on deck. So a Rib would be the way to go instead than an alum deck Sib in those mentioned sizes.

Happy Boating
Likely a maximum of 4 divers, more often just the two of us. We may or may not have a non-diver(s) with us to watch the boat while we're under. A RIB is certainly where I'm leaning, but I'm here to learn!
 

Sea Rider

Supreme Mariner
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
10,855
That's diving with Scuba or Skin Diving Equipment as to optimimize deck space, for shore, coastal or open water diving activity and the motor needed to power that Rib at a decent plane speed. How about budget, how much would you like to spend ?

Happy Boating
 

thdiver

Recruit
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
5
I'm actually trying to use this guidance to determine my budget. I'm open to new or used, so I have some flexibility, but I'm starting with the idea that I'll spend at least $6000 US and likely up to $10,000. Not sure if you're familiar with the area I described - we are planning to buy a home either on Vancouver Island or on the coast north of Vancouver. The waters there are generally protected even if they are 'open', with the main challenge being strong tides. The diving is cold and therefore under-appreciated, but I've been there and really enjoyed it as a contrast to warmer diving (which I do extensively).

I have generally been thinking of the most likely solution being a RIB designed for 6-8 persons in non-diving use, to allow for up to 4 divers and an operator. I expect for a boat that size, the motor will need to be 30-40 HP in order to do well. Of course, I may learn something here that goes past my best guesses.
 

Sea Rider

Supreme Mariner
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
10,855
We've been selling Sibs and Ribs for the past 12 years so know the market well. If plan buying a Rib in Canada contact : http://www.seabrightmarine.ca/index.html

Check the Rib listing under Financing. Go for a 17 or 19 footer, the options offered include center consoles which takes too much deck space, don't know if the motor it's included as a package ? Can order an open one with a bow locker, a rear seat/locker, drive it with a min 30 HP tiller motor equipped with an extended throttle grip to count with more deck space which it's a must have. Something like this. Can order it in German 1.2 mm PVC or Hypalon depending on budget, both excellent proven materials.

Preferably buy New, second hand ones could en in being Pandora costly to repair Ribs. Other nice alternative check Caribenautica Ribs, should have a dealer in Canada.

Happy Boating

 

Attachments

  • Rib Seat.JPG
    Rib Seat.JPG
    122.3 KB · Views: 5
  • Seat-Locker.JPG
    Seat-Locker.JPG
    104.3 KB · Views: 5
  • Tach-Tiller Extender.JPG
    Tach-Tiller Extender.JPG
    140.1 KB · Views: 5

thdiver

Recruit
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
5
Thanks for the recommendation re Seabright - unfortunately, they're in Nova Scotia (5000 miles from where we'll be) and they don't ship RIBs. Since we have a home in southern CA and will be in BC in summers, we will likely want to work with a dealer on the west coast, be it here or there.

I do appreciate and agree with your thoughts on the console - it takes a very big boat to leave room for a console and still have room for gear, though a tank rack might help that problem by keeping tanks upright on the centerline.
 

Sea Rider

Supreme Mariner
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
10,855
This is an Open Caribenautica 19 footer Diving Rib with rear seat tiller driven operated which occupies less deck space than a complete center console. The issue is that the larger the Rib the more HP motor that will be required and tiller motors are usually not available on medium size HP motors. A tank rack will definitely help to optimize the available deck space.

UB-19B.png

Will need at least half of the max HP rated for that size Rib which is a 60 HP motor correctly propped. But a 10 K budget is too low for a 17-19 size Rib equipped with a 60 HP long shaft motor.

Happy Boating
 

Sea Rider

Supreme Mariner
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
10,855
Other much cheaper and affordable alternative could be this Saturn 18 footer alum sectional floor rescue Sib powered with a 30-40 HP short shaft motor depnding on how far need to go diving and if wanting to arrive there faster that with a 30 HP.


Brand New Boat/Motor Package : $ 7 K max...

Happy Boating
 

thdiver

Recruit
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
5
A good suggestion - I may expand my budget plans, as I am fairly convinced that a RIB will be better suited to the conditions in the Pacific northwest. I may also scale back my hopes and expectations for the number of people to be supported - it seems the optimum may be a 15 ft RIB with a 40 HP tiller motor.
 

Sea Rider

Supreme Mariner
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
10,855
A 15 footer Rib will work well in the N. Pacific, just check if best suited for 4 divers + diving gear as to to count with a confy deck space and nice water ride. If will be diving with same 4 divers can get together and buy a 17 footer powered with a 40 HP and divide the cost among all 4 ?

Happy Boating
 

southkogs

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 7, 2010
Messages
13,688
Thanks for this guys. I picked up diving a couple years ago and I've been looking at some options for making runs down off the Gulf coast without having to hire a charter all the time. (or buy and tow a big ole' boat) That Saturn might be a good option for the few times a year I'd need it.
 
Top