Choosing the best RIB Boat in 2019
There’s never been a better time to buy a RIB, with so much choice, quality and reliability available to buyers. Our aim in this in-depth article is to help compare two of the best known brands.
You’ve decided to buy a RIB and you’ve looked around the myriad of options and finally decided on a choice between two of the most popular brands available in the UK – GRAND RIBs or BRIG. They appear very similar so it is not surprising that they’ve both made your top two. Now it is time to make the big decision, so how do you decide? Obviously, you will talk to the sales team and take a sea trial but before that what else can you do? As the GRAND G650 RIB and the BRIG E650 are the global favourites for both brands of RIB we’ll concentrate on those for comparison purposes. However, a bit of background history first.
History of BRIG and GRAND RIBs
BRIG started business in 1991 as the collapse of the USSR meant that the largely aeronautical industry employees were looking for an alternative to Soviet employment in aviation. Business partners Slava Rodionov and Andrey Grebennikov led a group of graduates and students into the new world of RIB design and manufacture from Kharkov, Ukraine. As well as being partner to Slava, Andrey was instrumental in the design process. After 10 years with BRIG Andrey decided to go it alone and started his own brand – GRAND Inflatable Boats. So although BRIG has 10 years longer in the industry the skills required to be a global success were learned before GRAND started trading. Since then both brands have created ever growing manufacturing bases in Kharkov, Ukraine, and both factories have employees that have worked in both locations. We have even met the truck drivers that have delivered both brands to us in the UK! (Marine Matters used to be the Solent BRIG dealer).
Essentially, this means that both brands of RIB have a common heritage and supply chain so if these are the brands you are looking at, it is no great surprise.
Which RIB Is Right For You?
Having dealt with the quality standard, we are now down to aesthetics. The simple way to deal with this is to say your eyes won’t lie – if you like what you see then you can’t be wrong! As with all life choices, this is your judgement call and you may feel this does not help you shorten up the wish list. Let’s look at some of the features of each these RIBs.
Square bow with back rest cushion for comfort when seated or using sundeck
|Square bow, without backrest cushion|
Bow tube handrails, unique to GRAND RIBs, for added security when in the bow at sea
|Individual hand holds built from tube fabric and glued to the tube|
Smallest RIB on the market with a U shaped rear seat and large removable free standing table
|Single bench seat in stern with pop up table on the back of the helm seat|
Stainless steel ski tower that allows easy access when reboarding via boarding ladder on transom
|GRP arch over transom and separate ski pole, also includes a boarding ladder on the stern|
Deep tube end steps, large enough to sit on while at anchor
|Two small tube end steps to assist with reboarding after swimming|
|Wide side decks on both sides of the console for easy and safe access to the bow|
Extra wide side deck on the port side from the offset console but no side deck to starboard as console is against the tube
Sundeck in the bow with folding legs for strength and security
Sundeck in the bow with simple deck boards and no legs
Single recessed console front seat giving a secure bucket seat with stainless steel grab handles
|Double console front seat but no grab handles|
|More internal volume than the BRIG created by the wider beam and clever design. This creates a huge rear seating area|
Less internal volume than the GRAND due to the narrower beam. The arch on the BRIG restricts the options in the rear seating area
|The GRAND G650 RIB is a modern design and here to stay ensuring the good future resale value|
The BRIG Eagle 650 RIB goes out of production in late 2019, this will effect the resale value when it is replaced with a different model
RIB – Boat Building
It is a common misconception that your RIB arrives at the dealer in its completed form and after a quick clean it is sold. All hulls laid outside UK arrive in crates, for ease of transport, and approx a week of construction is completed in the UK which involves the engines, electronics, all electrical finishing, deck furniture etc.
The above table lists the factory built differences but after that the fixtures and fittings, electronic navigation etc is fitted by a UK dealer. The question to ask here is who builds your RIB in the UK? Some dealers work on a “turn key” supply. This means your RIB is delivered to them on a trailer and they simply sell the completed package. While this is easy for the dealer, especially if they do not have a workshop, it does also mean that they have no knowledge of exactly how your boat has been completed. At Marine Matters, we build all our own RIBs at our workshop in Hamble, Southampton. So when it comes to maintenance and repair of your RIB, we are dealing with our own work in a fully equipped main dealers workshop. This means that the supplier of your RIB is the main dealer for the hull, engine, electronics and ancillary parts of the boat, making Marine Matters a one stop shop for all your needs.
After Sales Customer Care is the ultimate key to a RIB purchase; if we are really honest this is the place where the dealer can have the biggest impact. Let’s face it you’re going to buy what you like the look of so if the RIB does not look like your preferred option then you won’t get as far as after care. However, if you have choices and you are trying to define the best option based on the after sales care then you need to look at what the package looks like.
As mentioned above, who in the UK built your new RIB has an impact on the technical help your dealer can provide; but at Marine Matters we have a few extra tricks up our sleeve:
Solent Collect Warranty®
Solent Collect Warranty® is our unique product that can only be offered by us thanks to our registered trademark. All trailerable boats are sold on the basis of “back to base” warranty which means if you need warranty support you are required to return the RIB to the dealer. With Solent Collect Warranty® you just need to make one phone call and we will attend, no matter how small the problem, and fix it. If we are unable to do this for you at your location we will return your GRAND RIB to our workshop, rectify the issue and return it to you, all free of charge. This is one of the ways we have for thanking you for making a purchase from your local main dealer.
The GRAND RIB Owners Club (Solent)
The GRAND RIB Owners Club was created to maximise the lifestyle choice of owning a RIB; you just turn up and enjoy the events and we do all the planning and organising. These will include trips to little known places to visit, teaching you to water ski, circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight and even trips across the channel. All this is provided free of charge with you only paying for the running costs of your boat and overnight accommodation when needed. We even have some value-added perks that mean it’s not just free; effectively we pay you to be in the Club!
Marine Matters started life almost 20 years ago as an RYA Training Centre, which means we completely understand the apprehension that you may feel about taking your new RIB out. The fact that you have read this far indicates that you are on board with the idea of sunny days out exploring the local area and chilling out at anchor and all that family fun. The gap is filled with top quality bespoke training when our professional instructors can teach you and the family on your own boat. The great thing about this is it like an extended handover so after two days RYA Powerboat Level 2 training (PB2) you will know how everything works and of had the chance to use it under the expert eye of our instructor. PB2 is a very hands-on qualification with approx 25,000 people doing this course every year and is for anyone from 12 years old up to commercial operators. For the younger members of the family there is the RYA Powerboat Level 1 that can be completed at just 8 years old.
All this can be included in your personal bespoke RIB purchase package.
It’s All About The People
There is a lot of information to be taken in here but ultimately it is worth remembering that buying in the UK will mean your new RIB will meet the CE standard (a Europe wide quality mark) and if you like what you see you can’t be wrong. After this, it’s your judgement of the promises made about after sales customer care and the level of commitment to help you achieve the best from your new lifestyle choice. For me, it’s all about the “hassle free” experience; promises and commitments with small print caveats that are hard to determine detract from the whole experience. So in the end we are down to good old-fashioned relationships. If you trust your salesperson and feel that the company support them in the commitments made to you will have a good experience. It’s a cliché but “people buy from people” so get that right and the rest is easy.