Sib vs Rib

Rigid inflatable boat soft inflatable boat rib sib

Which Boat Should You Choose: Rib or Sib?

The rigid inflatable boat (RIB) and the soft inflatable boat (SIB) are two popular types of watercraft. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, so knowing which type of boat to choose can be complex. As you compare SIBs and RIBs, here are some things to keep in mind to help you make the best decision for your boating needs.

Rigid Inflatable Boat

A rigid hull inflatable boat (RIB) is a tremendous hard boat for trips in different types of water. That type of vessel is more expensive than SIBs, but it’s light and will travel faster due to less water resistance because of its stiff hull.

Some RIBs have long, narrow, deep V-hulls designed for very high performance. Others have wider hulls with a shallower V-shape at the bow, flattening out at the stern. A rib’s rigid hull keeps it safe at high speeds and stable in rough seas or offshore fishing.

While the Ribs are heavier than their soft-side counterparts, making them harder to move and store, they are still considered more comfortable because of their snug seating position and ample storage space.

RIB materials

Many recreational boat RIBs are not built to the very high specifications of all rescue boats. Still, nevertheless, each has similar fundamental principles: Generally, the hull is made with glass-reinforced plastic. However, other materials such as aluminum and carbon fibre are available. The inflatable tubes are made of either Hypalon or PVC. Hypalons are expensive and easier to repair. While RIBs follow these basic principles, there are many hull types and engine sizes in various pricing categories.

Soft Inflatable Boat

A soft inflatable boat (SIB) lacks a solid RIB hull and often has a removable slatted floor, so the boat can be deflated and transported in a car or other vehicle. A soft hull inflatable boat will typically be less costly than a Rib, but often these boats are limited in both speed and range. SIBs are light, easy to carry, and reasonably priced boats ideal for shallow water fishing and beaching. 

Such boats have a low draft and feature a soft hull, making them ideal for beaching or getting in some shallow water fishing. These boats also tend to be more challenging to navigate in heavy weather. However, soft hull inflatables are popular with anglers because they have a larger storage area for fishing gear.

SIB Materials

Most inflatables use Hypalon or PVC as their outer covering. Some use glass-reinforced plastic as an alternative. These materials can provide more durability and have a higher price tag than less-durable alternatives such as vinyl and soft-shell fabrics. Still, a large variety is available across a vast price range.

Available Options

  • Floors with super-compressed air
  • Roll up slat floor
  • Ribbed air floor
  • Hard floor made of fibreglass, aluminum, or wood panels

What are the Differences Between a Rib & a Sib?

A rigid inflatable boat (RIB) and soft inflatable boats (SIB) are two of the most popular boats for personal and recreational boating. They’re relatively inexpensive and easy to use and can be turned into a powerboat. Still, some key differences determine what type of water user you are. For example, if you plan on making long-distance trips in rough waters, a RIB is probably your best option. If you plan to use your boat primarily in calm or sheltered water, a SIB may be right for you. It’s essential to understand each type before making your final purchase decision to ensure that you get what’s best for your needs.

The Benefits of Solid Hull Inflatables (RIB)

A rigid hull inflatable boat, or RIB, is a motorboat that combines a solid hull with soft, inflatable tubes. The combination offers excellent performance on flat and open water. The advantages of a RIB include its speed and stability. 

They’re also popular in areas with many rocks because they can easily go over them without damaging anything. For businesses like resorts with lots of access to lakes, rivers, and open water, RIBS is great for boating around, fishing, and exploring new places for business. Any company with employees who want to spend some time out on a lake will be sure to appreciate such an offering. 

And if you just want something faster than most boats, then going with a rigid inflatable boat might be your best bet.

Are RIB Boats Safe?

Yes. RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) boats are considered safe when operated correctly and with the required safety equipment. RIB boats are designed with a rigid hull and inflatable tubes, which improve their stability in the water. Added shock absorption makes RIB boats comfortable and safe to operate in rough waters. Still, it is very important to ensure good maintenance and regular inspections.

The Benefits of Soft Inflatable Boats (SIB)

The most significant advantage of a soft inflatable boat is relatively affordable. Compared to a rigid inflatable boat (RIB), which uses rib-like tubes, a soft hull inflatable boat is much lighter and less expensive. They’re also a lot more portable, making them ideal for those who plan on boating in remote areas; you can easily deflate them and store them in your trunk if you have room. And because they are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) materials, they are entirely submersible—meaning you don’t have to worry about getting stuck out at sea. 

Sib vs Rib (Compared)

SIB – Pros

  • Low price
  • Lightweight
  • Portability
  • Do not require the trailer
  • Easy to store
  • Perfect for fishing and general fun. Easy to bring ashore.

SIB – Cons

  • Limited speed capability and engine size
  • Less stable at speed than a RIB, easily flipped
  • Limited space
  • Lack of comfort
  • Lower in water – much wetter ride than RIB
  • Not well suited for water-skiing, as a dive boat or in choppy conditions

RIB – Pros

  • Fast, high performance and safe to go fast
  • Lockers to store your gear
  • Rough-and-ready to handle even the roughest conditions
  • Solid floor
  • Komfort, secure seating
  • Depending on engine size, there is a wide variety of uses for these boats.

RIB – Cons

  • Higher price
  • A heavy boat to launch and get back onto the beach
  • The cost to store your boat at the shore, plus mooring charges
  • The trailer needed for on-road transportation
  • Non-foldable
  • They’re not suited for the beach.

Buying your Inflatable Boat

The search process begins identically whether a RIB or SIB is right for you. Look up information online and check out online forums for specific boating-related info that may help you find answers.

In addition to the above, there should also be boat shows where you can come face-to-face with some experts and sample a broad range of topics. It’s another excellent opportunity to chat with instructor guides who can help point you on the right.

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