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Old 08-08-2013, 23:00   #1
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buying a used RIB tender

I'm looking at buying a used RIB, 10'-12' long, to use as a tender on my 42' powerboat (which has a davit with electric winch). I'm a bit nervous about getting a lemon though - especially on the 10 - 20 year-olds. Sounds like some hypalon boats can be fine at that age, but how can I tell when I go take a look at the boat that it's not on it's last legs? Do you check for leaks on the tubes with soapy water? Other tips? Are patches on the tubes automatically a bad sign?

Same question on the outboard, since many of the ones I see listed have an outboard of similar age, in the 5-25 hp range. What would be your "on the spot" tests to determine whether the outboard will be serviceable?

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Old 09-08-2013, 08:45   #2
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Re: buying a used RIB tender

Cannot advise you although I can tell you that our Avon 10RIB is OLD! I purchased it back in 1997. It developed a small leak so I had to pump it up about every 4-5 days or so. I added pull rings on the bow section of the hypalon and then proceeded to rip one of them off towing it. Two years ago I had it repaired, both the small leak and the bow rings at a cost of $175.

This is the best small dinghy that I have ever seen!!! The fiberglass bottom even has a small bilge so that your feet stay dry if small amounts of water get into the boat and it does every time it rains!

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Old 09-08-2013, 09:04   #3
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Re: buying a used RIB tender

Buy a good reputable name... the AB RIBs 10-20 years ago were bulletproof. I bought a used 10 footer, it had two small round patches. It never leaked a bit the whole time I had it, I didnt pamper it and just ran heck out of it. Still going strong when I sold that boat. It sounds like the Avon's are pretty good too. There is one more brand from that time period that was very good , but it evades me. Do not buy a West Marine or Zodiac unless the Zodiac is the commercial type. Achilles are good boats but you dont seem to see man RIBS.
My AB 10 ft with double floor was quite heavy. I had a mid 90's Yamaha 15 hp two stroke that made it fly.

It would be easy to get a problem in an outboard... so not sure what to telly ou. I look for one that has come out of some old guys garage which he bought for lake fishing and didnt use much. Sometimes a 15 year old engine will look like brand new. The 90's Yamahas are great engines. The old Evinrude 10-15 hp are realatively easy to repair and to get parts for. You definitely want to see the engine run. Look for water spitting out the back. Very often a great old engine that has sat will not spit the water out but run fine. It's a good way to negotiate... every time this has happend to me it was simply a matter of clearing the little tube the cooling water comes out of! The trouble is, you cant tell if the engine has bad main bearings or a spun prop hub bytesting it in a can. So if the engine is visibly "very used" I would pass due to that possibility. If it is clean as a pin and garaged, but water doesnt spit out... buy it!
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 09-08-2013, 09:15   #4
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Re: buying a used RIB tender


First Hypalon. Second, a well known brand such as AB. Third, condition. Check the figlass bottom, look closely at the transom where the fabric is attached. Pump the dink up hard. If it leaks it will show. If a double bottom, open the drain and see if there's water in the double bottom. As for the motor, a test run would be the best bet. There should be at least a 15hp 2 stroke and the dink should plane with 4 in it.

Read about dinks in the archives. Lots of threads there to steer you away from certain well-known brands that don't stand up.

A ten year old dink can be like new. For example I have a 10'06" AB that will be ten years old this fall, no patches, looks like new and it's used extensively for 6 months a year when I'm cruising. It's cleaned about once a year, that's all. No protective coatings, nothing. Just a good scrubbing once a year. And this dink is left out in the Florida sun for 6 months a year, hanging on the arch when the boat's in dry storage.

Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:39   #5
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Re: buying a used RIB tender

The other big mistake people make is engine size.... They look at the boat data plate and see it is rated for 15 horsepower. Keep in mind the transom can only support a certain amount of weight before it effects the stability of the RIB.

So when you look at the RIB, read at the data plate and see what ENGINE WEIGHT it will carry and make sure it is enough for the HP you want.
Tom Jeremiason
Punta Gorda, Florida

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Old 09-08-2013, 11:55   #6
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Re: buying a used RIB tender

As mentioned, buy a well-known make. Beyond that, visual inspection will generally tell you what you're getting vs. the age of the boat. I have a 11 y.o. West Marine PVC RIB that looks like new, no leaks, no patches, and spends a good amount of time in the sun in the NE. If the pontoon material looks worn or the seams or tapes are deteriorating at all, walk away. You can do the soapy water test but it can be difficult to detect a slow leak. Ideally, over-inflate by a bit and let it sit for a few days, and check it for deflation. Be sure that you check it in the same conditions as you inflated it; if you inflated it in the sun on a hot day and then checked it in the shade on a cool one, it's going to appear to have lost inflation from contraction of the air.

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