Best Uses for Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs)

A rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) is ideal if you're a boating enthusiast looking for your first or next boat. Regardless of your aquatic pursuit, a RHIB is one of the most versatile boats available. Their compact size and lightweight frames make them appear to be gliding across the water at high speeds. 

RHIBs have multiple uses that will give you value for your investment. Read on for more about what RHIBs are, their pros and cons and the various applications for using your RHIB. 

Best Uses for Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs)

What Is a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat?

A rigid hull inflatable boat loosely translates to a blow-up boat with a hard shell, which is what this type of boat can be described as physically. The floor of the boat supports passengers and lighter items while the inflatable rubber tubes on both sides help absorb the shock as the waves hit the hull. 

There are two variants of RHIBs, which are:

  • Open RHIB: These are mostly seen recreationally when families enjoy them on calm waters on a sunny day. They are perfect for fishing, swimming or just relaxing. They have no overhead cover on deck, so it's important to accurately forecast the day's weather since there is no cabin to serve as protection during a storm. Despite this, they are extremely durable and safely handle any weather.
  • Cabin RHIB: Passengers are covered by a cabin on the deck for overall protection. These RHIBs are commonly used for tours and as research vessels. They are also generally longer and can accommodate more passengers than a cabin RHIB.

Pros and Cons of RHIBs

RHIBs have pros and cons like any other hull boat, which we'll explore below. 


A few rigid hull advantages include:

  • Stability on water: RHIBs are reputable for their buoyancy and sturdiness on water, especially at high speeds. With a firm v-shaped hull and rubber tubes on both sides, the boat is designed to stay afloat regardless of adverse water conditions. 
  • Lightweight capacity: These boats have the capacity to carry heavy loads despite their light build. They are constructed using a combination of wood, steel or aluminum to maintain a suitable body-weight ratio for water activities that require high impact resistance. 
  • More affordable: RHIBs are overall more affordable to purchase and maintain than other hull boats because of their lightweight construction and common materials. Their engines are smaller but powerful enough for these planing hulls to propel themselves through waves.
  • Extremely fast: The RHIB is for you if you enjoy the adrenaline rush of pushing your boat to reach top speeds. 


When compared to other hull boats like the soft hull type, there are a few drawbacks to RHIBs. They include:

  • Weight: RHIBs are generally lightweight but are still heavier than other boat types. This is not a real disadvantage since it helps keep the boat afloat but they may need a trailer for transportation, which could be an additional expense. 
  • Fuel consumption: Since they are heavier and able to carry a larger capacity, they consume more fuel. 
  • Motor power: Most RHIBs are engineered to push through strong winds and waves so the more they need to endure, the bigger the motor must be. Their horsepower (hp) ranges from 5-300 hp.
  • Damage prone: The hull is prone to scratches and dings if it hits hard surfaces like a hard bank and the rubber tubes can be deflated if struck with a sharp object. 

Best Uses for RHIBs

Best Uses for RHIBs

The biggest advantage of investing in a RHIB is having a range of water pursuits to enjoy. Whether you use it for leisure and recreational purposes, fishing, diving or even rescue operations, it meets all the requirements to do these efficiently. Here's more on each of the best uses for RHIBs.

Recreational Boating

Recreational rigid hull boats serve an important purpose for those who enjoy the ocean leisurely. That is to be the safest and most reliable mode of transport as they navigate the waves in all weather conditions. If you enjoy spending time on the sea with friends and family, whether going on an adventurous ride out on the crashing waves or soaking up some sun in the middle of nowhere, this one's for you. 

RHIBs can accommodate a fair amount of passengers due to their suitable weight, size and storage capacity. Explore the ocean quickly by getting from one part to another until you find the ideal location to unwind. 

Different reputable brands offer their own add-ons and warranties for abundant options. 


Avid fishermen will revel in the pleasures of taking this handy boat out to sea for their catch of the day. It can take heavier loads, including all your necessary fishing equipment and a passenger or two depending on the size of the boat. They are spacious enough to stand in and you're able to comfortably hang over the sides to reel in fish. The shallow draft allows easy access to remote locations — however, avoid approaching banks at a high speed to prevent damage to your hull. 

Some features that make RHIBs great for fishing include a trolling motor, rod holders and a livewell. Three air chambers within the inflatable tubes keep the boat stable and secure. The remaining two will continue providing support if one of the chambers fails. This ensures peace of mind when utilizing your rigid hull inflatable fishing boat. 


Getting to your diving spot is quick and easy and you also have enough space on board for diving gear. Multiple divers can join one trip to maximize fuel consumption. Here are a few things to keep in mind when using your RHIB for scuba diving:

  • You'll need a ladder to reboard the boat.
  • Ensure the rubber tube air chambers are inflated enough and well maintained to manage the load.
  • Have an experienced diving instructor on board to assist with any potential emergencies. 

Rescue Operations

RHIBs maneuver swiftly through the water, reaching top speeds within seconds. This makes the RHIB perfect for rescue operations where every second counts. Whether you're an independent owner or belong to the Coast Guard, lifeguard units or a search and rescue team, a rescue RHIB will make any operation easier as you navigate all types of waters and weather conditions. 

They easily carry the required rescue equipment and amount of people to deal with emergency rapid response situations. 

RHIBs as Tenders

Why not use your RHIB as a tender for recreational and commercial activities? Yachts that are anchored out at sea use RHIBs and smaller boats for passengers to dive from or to restock food and other supplies. They offer a quick alternative to docking and save the yacht on fuel by running these errands. 

Ships use them similarly, although they are more commonly stored in the hull and disengaged for use during an emergency. They also ferry passengers over short distances if the ship can not dock for any reason. 

Fawcett Boat Supplies Is Your Boating Needs Solution

Fawcett Boat Supplies Is Your Boating Needs Solution

At Fawcett Boat Supplies, we have everything you need to set sail, whether it's your first time venturing into the exciting boating world or you're an experienced sailor who needs parts and services. 

Contact us through a request form and we'll get back to you to discuss your boating requirements. 

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