Rough Water RIB Handling – Part 1

RIB and Crew Preparation

RIBs have become the boat of choice for those wanting to enjoy boating in conditions where other types of boat may not always be up to the job. A Deep Vee hull and inflatable tubes are a great combination for sea keeping.

The mix of this deep-vee and the tubes give a RIB its outstanding sea-keeping qualities. The tubes act as shock absorbers taking a high percentage of the seas impact on the RIB which reduces the stress placed on your crew. Lateral movement is also reduced significantly by the tubes, giving a far more stable ride than on similar sized hard boats. In addition to sea keeping ability, RIBS are also able to discharge water that comes on board quickly due to low transoms and elephants trunks.

In rough weather, it is important that as a RIB helmsman you exercise restraint and care and make sure you don’t put your crew, your boat or the rescue services in a dangerous situation, make sure your vessel is capable, and you and your crew build up your experience over time before immediately seeking out rough water and poor weather.

When the weather turns, explain the situation to your crew and reassure them. Make sure that they know what to do, and what not to do, when the extreme weather arrives. Explain such things as keeping low in the boat, not moving around excessively and not getting up from the RIB’s jockey seats unless necessary.

Determine the position of bad weather, wind direction, speed and estimate time to your location or the nearest save haven. Secure all hatches and pump bilges dry and repeat as required. This helps eliminate “free water affect.” (Sloshing of water on the RIB’s deck as the boat rolls can effect stability.)

Secure all loose gear and put away small items and lash down larger ones.  If you haven’t already done so, ensure everyone has lifejackets and foul weather gear on and ready any emergency equipment that you may need such as hand pumps, bailers, first aid kit and sound signalling devices and so on.

Get a good fix of your position and plot it on your chart and make note of the time, your heading and speed and make plans to alter course to sheltered waters if possible.
Continue to monitor channel 16 on your VHF radio for updates to severe forecasts.
Make sure the life raft is ready to be deployed.

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