One of the questions which I am mostly asked is “Dan, what would you choose a boat or a rhib?”

Now, I’m quite inclined to show rhibs I have for sale (😂), but I speak to my clients as I speak to my friends as I care to make things good for them and give honest and proper informations.

Now, this choice is totally subjective and cannot be done without considering everybody’s needs.

What you will read here will just make you better evaluate the choice.

SPACE

Definitely rhibs are wider than boats.. but inside the space is reduced.

Tubes roughly meter 50cm in diameter, which means 1m taken for them in total… a fiberglass boat side is roughly 20cm which makes 40/50cm in total.

The space lost for this reason is compensated, because even in a relatively small dinghy of 4,8m you can load extra 2persons who can sit on the tubes.

Considering the same overall dimensions, a boat will have inner width wider because of the tubes occupy inner space, but a rhib can safely host more people.

WEIGHT

The weight dramatically effects stability and fuel consumption of any vessel.

Taking in consideration the fact that fiberglass is much heavier than Hypalon© or PVC, we can begin to say that on medium size rhibs the weight if fiberglass on the hull is almost HALF weight.

Considering to add tubes and accessories, a rhib can weight 30/40% of a fiberglass boat.

With the same engine, the difference on performance on a rhib are just 20% more efficient.

For the above reasons, a thing which must be said I recommend to use as general rule 3 blades propeller on rhibs, 4 blades on fiberglass boats.

This helps to balance the performance and fuel consumption accordingly to the weight, in order to avoid cavitation and maintain an higher manoeuvrability for both kind of vessels.

HULL & POWER APPLIED

As a general rule the deepest the V, the better is for higher waves and smoother drive, but attention: performances will be lowered!

A more flat hull will be much faster in planing and as top speed, paying in manoeuvrability and in comfort for all the members, so is better considering all these factors before proceeding in choosing a hull, and doesn’t matter if it’s a rhib or a boat.

What I believe is that more than hull and power, the real challenge is to find the proper propeller and heigh of the engine.

One of the main reason is found on the drag, which is the friction of the water on the hull.

After planing a well balanced rhib would have the tubes barely touching the water, while the boat hull would have around 20cm more submerged surface so the drag will definitely be higher.

For these reasons, a 6m rhib powered with 100hp can match the performance of a boat, same dimension, with 150hp.

PRICE

We will talk about NEW boats as is the reference.

Producing a rhib just for the simple production of the tube and to fit on the fiberglass bottom, increases its final price, so we start stating that a rhib is more expensive than a boat.

The cost of a rhib is usually 20/25% higher than a boat and the reason is simple.

The tubes are usually produced in Hypalon© and apart for price of the raw material, the time to produce it and their installation add another week of work for the boat to be built.

SAFETY

This is the main reason why we consider  a rhib the safest vessel at sea: it’s a floating device.

A rhib can flood, but will never sink.

Rhibs are in fact used for rescue purposes, in Malta Police, AFM, Red Cross, Transport Malta, firefighters have rhibs.

The rhib is the most reliable boat even because if you lose a compartment, you have all the others holding, so the risk is just minor.

FISHING

Now an eye to whom loves fishing far out.

Number 1 rule is always safety, so beside having a rhib or a boat it is a MUST to have 2 engines and high distance communication devices.

So consider either a main engine plus auxiliary, either a twin engine configuration and a long antenna for communications.

Fishermen in distress is not something doesn’t happen, on the contrary! Keep your fuel tank clean and take periodically care of engine efficiency.

Now, rhib or boat? It definitely depends on the typeof fishing and if you do it as hobby or as a job. What we can underline are the following statements:

PROS for RHIBS

  • more stable while stop, the width of the tubes makes
  • fuel efficient, thanks for the fact that a rhib is lighter, the fuel consumption is lower
  • safer a rhib is almost unsinkable, if a compartment is gone, you have “n” others
  • more manoeuvrability rhibs are well known for their higher skills in manoeuvres,
  • higher versatility even on a professional fishing rhib, the vessel can host a family for the weekend, people can sit onthe tubes and no additional seats are needed
  • suitable for spearfishing too, the tubes allow a faster exit from the water for the diver and the fish

PROS for BOATS

  • more stable on movement, despite might seem a con, the weight of a vessel makes its stability higher
  • higher space volume, lockers and rod holders can have an easier setup and can cover
  • wider space for fishermen, the deck can be seen as a proper workplace, with high
  • no troller damages, on trolling the lines might scratch

MAINTENANCE

Hypalon© needs specific treatment every year and during summer season to maintain it at its best look.

DURING SUMMER always rinse with fresh water and wash it with soap based cleaners with wax, it will do the rest. 

BEFORE WINTER before the storage clean the tubes good (even underneath) and apply a good layer of wax.

But in case something happens, don’t worry cause everything can be repaired, the important thing is to ask to a professional in order to not make things bad.

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Need a help in choosing your rhib?

Call Big D® on +356 77326435