RIB Safety – Tips for Safe Cruising on a Rigid Inflatable Boat

Veteran boaters will agree that water safety is one of the most essential tools a boat owner can possess. We highly encourage any new boater to take classes or workshops to get as much knowledge as possible about navigating waterways and learning the rules of the “road.” When it comes to using a RIB, there are some basic safety tips an owner will want to take into account that differs a bit from safety aboard other traditional style vessels.

In this article, we are going to unpack RIB boating safety and how owners can have a pleasant experience on the water free from danger or avoidable mishaps.  Let’s get right into it.

Pre-Launch Check – Before heading out on the open waters, it’s important to inspect a vessel for potential problems. RIB boats typically stay inflated at all times, so chances are if there is a tear or hole somewhere in the material, you’ll know about it immediately. Nonetheless, slow leaks can be sneaky, and it’s an excellent habit to walk the vessel and listen and look for any causes of concern.

Always Carry and Don’t Drag – This is more for owners who have smaller RIBs as it might be tempting to drag a vessel to the shore from a truck or across a beach. The hull of a RIB is made to take some hits, but there is no reason to do that on purpose. Carry the vessel with a friend and set in the water.

Know Your Cruising Plan – While it’s fun to be spontaneous, the safest sailing plan is the one that was actually planned. Getting acquainted with landmarks, and preprogramming a route in a navigation system will ensure the destination doesn’t get passed or put the vessel or crew in jeopardy.

Maxing Capacity – A full boat of friends and family is maybe part of why a buyer wants to have a boat in the first place. The trouble is, having everyone onboard at once can make for a dangerous situation. Stick to the boat’s capacity recommendations and consider not maxing that number out. The captain is ultimately responsible for everyone on board, so take that responsibility to heart.

Items to Collect and Keep Onboard

Quick trips around a small lake won’t likely warrant a significant “gear” list, but hopefully, this list of recommendations gives boat owners a chance to consider whether or not they need these things on their vessel.

  • Oars – This is likely more for the smaller RIB vessels on the water, but paddles are always a great choice in the event of an engine failure.
  • Repair Kit – Most inflatable manufacturers will have their own repair kits available either for purchase or will include one with a boat purchase. Keep that kit onboard in the RARE event an inflatable chamber gets damaged.

Here is a good checklist for other miscellaneous items:

  • Personal floatation devices for everyone onboard
  • Signal equipment such as mirrors, whistles or flares
  • Fire suppressant equipment
  • Paper charts, don’t rely on electronics alone
  • A small “most used tools” box
  • Flashlight and first aid kit

Boating Behavior

Finally, we are going to wrap up with a few notes on boating behavior. This is actually one of the more significant aspects to boating safety, and yet, most overlooked. A calm and cool captain keeps everyone aboard safe.

  • Assign at least one or two people aboard some specific tasks that will help manage the boat, such as someone who will handle the lines during docking.
  • Know when life jackets are essential. With the new designs of life jackets, there really is no excuse for tragic accidents aboard relating to drowning. Insist that kids wear life jackets, especially the kids of other people.
  • Follow the boating rules. This is how everyone on the water respects each other’s personal safety.
  • Follow local boating laws. Make sure to periodically review the State Boating Laws by the USCG to keep up with any updates, specially if you travel across the nation through different states.
  • Finally, go easy on the cocktails. Drinking and boating can be just as dangerous (if not worse) than drinking and driving a car, which is why the captain should be extra careful and avoid having one too many drinks.

We hope this checklist gives our customers, and other RIB owners, some useful safety tips to abide by. Safe boat owners are really the best ones, so respect one another, and we hope to see you out there!