Buying Your First RIB – Hull, Tubes, Steering etc – Part 3

Things To Look Out For

Whether you employ a surveyor or not, you should know some of the things to look for if you have decided to buy a second hand RIB.

Mismatched paint or gelcoat:

This could indicate that the boat has been in an accident and had repairs made. Although this in and of itself may not disqualify the boat, if you were not told of the repairs what else might you not have been told about?

Hull Integrity

Take a small rubber or phenol hammer and lightly tap the hull moving around the RIB. If you hear voids in the fibreglass, that could be a problem of repairs, blisters, or delaminating.


Is the steering free and easy to move?

Upholstery and Seating

Is the upholstery in good shape? Is there any sign of damage or dampness or staining? Are the jockey seats fixed securely to the deck or have the builders just used self tappers?

Deck Hardware

Are the handrails and other items of deck hardware bolted through and not just screwed to the surface and are they secure?


Look at the transom and check the hull identification number. Does it look like it has been modified? Does it match the number on the registration and or title papers?


When you start the engine do you have good water flow? Does the transmission shift easily or does it “clunk?”

Service History

See if you can get the maintenance records for the RIB’s outboard and review how the boat has been maintained in the past. Also look for reoccurring problems.


Check everything works – and then check again!

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