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Old 10-02-2019, 06:09   #1
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Boarding a RIB from the water

Hi,

We have just been forced to upgrade from our beloved roll-up inflatable. After a lot of discussion, we went for a baby RIB (Highfield UL260). Nice boat, does the job and keeps us a lot drier in a chop.

Something we didn't consider was boarding from the water. With the old boat, I could drop the hook, have a swim and pull myself back on board with little effort. The RIB not only sits higher in the water but has larger tubes and I can only just manage it. I am concerned that if I get even a minor injury or over tire myself it might not be possible at all.

I'm sure that I'm not the first to encounter this. Has anyone got a (preferably simple) solution?

Thanks
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:20   #2
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

Used to run river rafts and had same problem getting into the raft. Would keep a web strap over the side to use as a kind of stirrup to boost up over the side. Works well.

Note that rope ladder approach also good, but actually difficult to use. It wants to swing in under the boat when weighted and takes technique to keep it under oneself.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:22   #3
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

There are RIB ladders.

Or, what I do is tie a couple of loops in a rope, and then the rope to the RIB handles where I can use the loops as foot positions (make shift ladder).

There are also YouTube videos on how to get in a RIB, but the find a prepared rope works find for me.

The first time I ran into the problem after a couple of tries I wondered if I was ever going to get back in!
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:27   #4
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

There is a step made for this, it’s just a plastic step that is attached by a rope, throw it over the side and if it’s adjusted properly it allows you to put one foot high enough to give you the leverage to get in.
I can board without the step only with my fins on, and the wife not at all.

The step of course has a tendency to go under the dinghy as it’s only attached by a rope, so you have to keep it a little short.
I bought mine, but it’s not something that wouldn’t be easy to make.
There are a lot of ladders on the Internet, but I’ve not seen one actually used myself

There is a video of a Lady boarding backwards, she sort of rolls in, but it’s not as easy as she makes it look.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:33   #5
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

We use an aluminum collapsible boarding ladder, basically a rope ladder about 5 metal rungs. Yeah, it wants to swing under the dinghy when boarding, but it's little effort to push out and up, and then it pops back underneath you, easy as pie. Another idea is grabbing one of those emergency ladders you hang from the rails or stern in case you fall in without a boarding ladder out...that would work perfectly, and you could use it for both purposes as needed...

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Old 10-02-2019, 07:00   #6
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water




Ladder Lessons Learned (Foundation Findings #44 - March 2008)
U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that the vast majority of boating fatalities occur on boats under 20 feet. In a number of cases, the victims drowned because they couldn't re-board their boats.
https://www.boatus.org/findings/44/
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Old 10-02-2019, 07:07   #7
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

Keeping the rope handle tight helps; the higher the grip, the easier it is to ease yourself deep in the water, give a big dolphin kick, and heave yourself up. I can generally get to a sitting position in one motion, even in a dry suit. What is difficult is trying to climb in statically (just pulling). Think dolphin or penguin. Not joking.


Same thing re-boarding kayaks and canoes. If you just pull, it flips. Instead, ease down, and then flop across the bow.
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Old 10-02-2019, 07:10   #8
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

Another way is to put your back to the dinghy, reach behind your head and grab side ropes if there are any, pull your legs up and over your head. Sounds hard but is fairly easy.
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Old 10-02-2019, 08:56   #9
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

There are several manufacturers who make a hinged stainless steel ladder with a soft 'S' shape that are specifically designed for boarding inflatables. West Marine carries one. Hopefully, the link to the youtube video will work which displays another model made by another manufacturer. I finally got one for our inflatable. As time passed, I went from being able to board the dinghy without an issue, to where I could only do it with fins on to gain a height boost to board. It was at this point, it was clear I needed a ladder. The Highfield RIB design would even be more of a challenge without such a ladder. Loop and rope ladders work, but as pointed out in prior posts, don't have any resistance from swinging under the boat, making it more difficult to board.

Age (into your 70's, 80's and beyond) or injury may also limit your options for boarding. Strength, agility or injury may limit your options. It's always good to know there are more than one way to successfully board an inflatable.

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Old 10-02-2019, 08:58   #10
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

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Old 10-02-2019, 09:35   #11
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

We have an “up and over” ladder that collapses into a package about 14” long by 12” wide. Extended, it provides 4 steps, of which the bottom one or two are sufficient. Webbing steps, or even a loop of line would help avoid the “beached whale” movement.
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:27   #12
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

i was gonna suggest a rope ladder but i was beat to it ...
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:46   #13
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

Many tenders have a foil on the outboard. Not only does it provide an easy step to board, but it helps the tender get on a plane with more weight, and stay on a plane at slower speeds. This important in rough conditions to reduce pounding and staying drier.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:04   #14
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

My solution is weighted rope ladder combined with a line to the opposite side of the
You need depth for the ladder. My bottom step is 3' below the water. In boarding grab the line a d maintain tension ad walking up. The ladder will tend to swing away from the. boat not under it.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:09   #15
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Re: Boarding a RIB from the water

I mounted a mast step low on the transom. Between the step and the cavitation plate on the outboard, I can haul my fat ass back on board.
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