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All you need to know about Semi-Rigids: Our Mega-FAQ!

All you need to know about Semi-Rigids: Our Mega-FAQ!


Welcome to our comprehensive guide to buying, maintaining and using a RIB!

Whether you're a sailing enthusiast or a neophyte looking for essential information, you'll find answers to all your questions in this FAQ, divided into 3 chapters: 

1) Get the facts before you buy

2) Everyday use of your RIB

3) Maintaining your boat 

From the differences between boat types to best maintenance practices and what to do at sea, Orca Retail has put together its best guides and articles to help you make the most of your RIB experience.


Find out before you buy

Dinghy, RIB, inflatable boat: what are the differences?

Understanding the distinctions between dinghies, RIBs and inflatables is essential to choosing the right type of boat for your needs.

The dinghy, inflatable and lightweight, ideal for short trips from a larger boat. Lhe inflatable boat, fully inflatable, is easy to transport and store, but less stable for occasional use over shorter distances. Finally, the semi-rigid, combining rigid hull and inflatable tubes, offers stability and performance for coastal navigation and leisure.

For a detailed comparison between these different options, see this article on the differences between dinghies, RIBs and inflatable boats, and this one on the differences between inflatable and RIB boats.


What are the differences between PVC and Hypalon floats?

PVC and Hypalon floats have different characteristics in terms of durability, UV resistance and cost.

To understand these differences and choose the material that best suits your needs, check out this article on Hypalon, a versatile and durable synthetic material, this one on the latest trends and innovations in RIBs, this guide to RIB boat manufacturing, and this article on choosing between PVC and Hypalon for your inflatable tubes.


How much does a semi-rigid boat cost?

The price of a RIB boat varies according to several factors, including its size, make, features and condition.


  • Semi-rigid 5m, 40 HP engine : New from €9,000 - Used from €6,000
  • Semi-rigid family 6m, 115 HP engine : New between €25,000 and €40,000 - Used between €18,000 and €30,000
  • Top-of-the-range semi-rigid 7m+, 200 HP+ engine: Over €50,000 new and €30,000 used

For advice on selecting the ideal size for your RIB boat according to your needs and budget, see this article on choosing the right size.


How long does a RIB last?

The lifespan of a RIB depends on a number of factors, quality of manufacture, maintenance and use.
On average, float tubes, generally made of Hypalon (CSM) or PVC, have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years. Hypalon is more resistant to UV and chemical aggression, it offers greater longevity (up to 20 years) than PVC (10 to 15 years).

For its part, the rigid hull, made of composite materials for top-of-the-range models, can last from 30 to 40 years.


What are the best semi-rigid models and brands?

In the world of RIBs, several brands stand out for their quality and performance. Among the best brands of inflatable boats on the market are names such as Zodiac, Avon, Bombard and Highfield, renowned for their innovation, durability and reliability, offering a varied range of models to suit different needs and budgets.

To discover the best brands of inflatable boats on the market, check out this article on the best brands of RIBs.


What are the administrative formalities? Is insurance compulsory?

The purchase of a RIB requires compliance with certain administrative formalities, notably the registration of the boat with the relevant maritime authorities.

What's more, third-party insurance is mandatory for all motorboats, including RIBs, to guarantee coverage in the event of an accident or damage to property or personal injury.

For a complete guide to the administrative procedures to follow and the insurance required for your boat, check out this comprehensive article on administrative procedures and insurance, as well as this one on buying a semi-rigid boat and the associated administrative procedures.


Do I need a boating license? If so, which one?

Whether or not you need a boating license to pilot a RIB depends on the power of the onboard engine and the intended cruising area.

In France, a boating license is required for RIBs with a motor of over 6 hp (4.5 kW). A coastal license is generally sufficient to navigate at sea up to 6 nautical miles from the coast.

To find out which boating license is required to pilot a RIB, see this article on boating licenses for RIBs.


Where can I buy a used RIB?

To find out where to get the best deals and advice on renovating a used RIB, check out these articles on buying used inflatable boats and renovating a used inflatable boat.



Everyday use of your RIB

Maintenance  Boats

How much does a semi-rigid outing cost?

The cost of a RIB outing depends on a number of factors, including fuel, maintenance, and possibly launching costs.

For an afternoon coastal trip in a RIB, with a 6-meter model equipped with a medium-power engine, carrying a family of 4, the estimated fuel cost (€2 per liter) would be around 100 to 150 euros in total, assuming average consumption under normal sailing conditions.

To help you prepare for your boat outings, read this article on how to prepare for a semi-rigid outing.


What activities can you enjoy on a RIB?

RIBs offer a wide range of activities, from fishing to water sports to cruising.

To find out more about what you can do on a RIB, read our article on what you can do with an inflatable dinghy.


Where to sail a RIB in France

France offers a variety of RIB sailing destinations, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, via lakes and rivers.

For the best places to sail, check out these guides to the Mediterranean coast, the North Sea and English Channel, the Atlantic coast, marine parks, the best deep-sea fishing destinations, diving spots and lake and river trips.


What accessories should you use with your RIB?

To personalize and optimize your RIB experience, there's a range of accessories available, from safety equipment to comfort features.

To find out more about customization trends and the best accessories, check out these articles on RIB customization and must-have accessories.


How do you ensure its safety?

Ensuring your safety at sea is paramount.

To find out what safety equipment you need for your RIB, read this article on safety equipment for RIB boats.



Maintaining your RIB

How do you inflate your RIB? At what pressure (psi)?

To inflate your RIB, you can use a suitable electric inflator. Inflating pressure depends on the model of your boat, but in general it's between 0.2 and 0.3 bar for inflatable floors and between 0.3 and 0.4 bar for floats. For more details, consult this guide to buying electric inflators, as well as this guide to inflating.


How to maintain your RIB? Which products should I use?

Regular maintenance of your RIB is crucial to prolonging its life. Use appropriate, high-quality maintenance products to clean surfaces, protect floats and keep components running smoothly.

For advice on the best brands of inflatable boats, recommended maintenance products, seam stripping, trailer maintenance, protective tarpaulins, emergency repairs for punctures at sea, Zodiac bladder puncture repair, and general RIB boat maintenance.


When and how to winterize your boat?

To preserve your RIB over the winter, it's essential to prepare it properly. This includes thorough cleaning, draining fluids, storing in a dry place and protecting from the elements. To find out more, read our detailed guide to winterizing your boat.


Where can I get my float repaired?

If you need to repair the floats on your RIB, you can call on specialist inflatable boat repairers. Consult this list of RIB repairers in France to find a professional near you.



We hope this guide has provided you with the information you need to sail with confidence in the world of RIBs.

Whether you're about to buy your first boat or looking for maintenance tips, remember that safety and enjoyment are the key words for any adventure at sea.

Feel free to explore all our blog articles to learn more and get the most out of your RIB. Happy sailing!

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