Rigid Inflatable boats are different in almost every way from traditional fiberglass, aluminum or wood vessels. This is also the case when trailering a RIB as these vessels are far more lightweight than their more conventional competitors. Since most RIBs are designed to be moved from location to location and from storage to water and back again, trailering and launching this type of vessel needs some different procedures and safety precautions. In this article, we are going to discuss some factors to consider when trailering and launching a RIB and some best practices.
Vulnerable to Damage
While these vessels are just about the safest style boat one can have on the water, the flip side to this is that RIB vessels can be susceptible to damage while in transit. This is partly because of their lightweight frames and inflatable collar, but also because the jolting movement of a trailer can put stress on the rigid hull or transom. The best rule of thumb is to understand what part of a vessel could be placed in tension during transit, which a manufacturer sales rep should be able to fill a new buyer in on according to the boat make and model. For example, the motor might be one of the heaviest parts of a vessel, know how the bouncing from the road (or a pothole) could impact it and the transom is important.
A RIB trailer should have some key features to ensure the safety of the vessel and the vehicle it’s attached to. Minimally, the trailer should have a front bow support, carpet bunks or skids, tie-down points and keel roller and winch. The inflatable collars should be supported with at least one wide bunk on each side that is covered with carpet as well. When it comes to supporting the transom, a BRIG sales representative will explain how to position an engine during transport for the specific model to reduce stress and ensure safety. The trailer should have shock absorption to keep the vessel from taking the heaviest hits from the road. The watercraft should also be affixed to the trailer with appropriate straps like cam or ratchet style secures.
Launching a Rigid Inflatable Boat
The launch of a RIB is dependant on the boat itself and where an owner is launching at. For example, many of our smaller BRIG tenders can be carried with just two or four people, while our larger models will need to be launched via a truck and trailer.
Some trailer setups will include launch assisting items like launch wheels. These can be especially helpful when launching into a waterway without a dock, rather than from a boat ramp. These wheels can sometimes be added and just stay on the vessel, but most people opt to remove them once in the water, so they don’t impact the way the watercraft rides in the water.
Before launching, have the vessel ready to go. For instance, have it packed and with everything that will be needed for the day, so the boat ramp doesn’t get backed up waiting for the vessel being loaded up on the ramp. Do things like connecting fuel lines, rinse the motor if needed, detach straps or secures, etc. With any luck, there will be two or more people launching the boat which tends to make things much more manageable.
Hauling and launching a BRIG vessel isn’t complex, but does require some planning and, so owners don’t have to worry about the integrity of their boat or safety of their vehicles. Talk to a BRIG representative about the specific model being considered to learn more about how each model differs and get a better idea of what is required in a trailer and truck. Do a little homework as well about where the boat is likely to be launched regularly, to see if there are any kinds of restrictions or useful resources to launch a vessel successfully.