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Old 12-31-2016, 05:30 PM   #1
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Alum vs FRP RIB dinghy

In the market for a new RIB, lighter is better, and there seem to be a flood of new alum dinghys on the market. Any concerns with the alum pitting, painted or bare, etc? Always appreciate the wisdom and experience.of the members of this forum. Cheers for a wonderful new year.
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:04 PM   #2
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Buddy had an alum inflatable. The one issue he had was the towing eye deformed from the pulling after about a year, but he towed it full time and was operating a day sail business so it was under way almost daily.

As far as weight it was much lighter than the same size frp dingy. He had no issues as far as to putting or the paint. The one he had was a Highfield brand.
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:15 PM   #3
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Current RIB is an AB 8.5' with a bare alum hull. Motor is a Nissan 9.8 2 stroke. I did install a plastic keel protector and beaching on our gravel and oyster beaches has not been any issue whatever so far.

I have previously also had a painted aluminum hull - the paint bubbled off in spots. I recommend the bare - it may be a bit cheaper $$ as well.

Used to have a Caribe RIB fiberglass hull - it was stated to weigh in at #110 lbs., but was actually around #130lbs. very heavy to try to cart about with the motor if the tide went out.


The current alum AB with a 9.8 Nissan 2 stroke together weigh around #133 lbs.

This becomes somewhat manageable between the admiral and I if stranded by the tide.
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:07 PM   #4
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I have the powder coated AB, I've had it a year now and it seems fine, a few scratches on the bottom but it has the rubber protector, inside looks really nice, and easy to clean. No bubbles on the bottom as yet, but it is stored out of the water when not in use.
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Old 12-31-2016, 11:11 PM   #5
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The Al. boat is lighter will take more abuse and needs less maintenance.
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Old 12-31-2016, 11:21 PM   #6
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What he ^^^ said. Been using and abusing them in Australia for decades.
No powder coat or paint, raw alloy is best by far.
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Old 01-01-2017, 07:45 AM   #7
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I'm a recent convert and will never go back. I'd recommend unpainted. It doesn't look as yachtie, but a painted hull won't look very yachtie for long anyway, so you might as well get ahead of it. At least unpainted aluminum is supposed to look the way it does, where chipping and bubbling paint just looks like crap no matter what.
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:51 AM   #8
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We bought a Highfiled Ocean Master primarily for the weight saving. We love it.
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:40 AM   #9
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Drake,
Are you assuming we all know what a "Highfield Ocean Master" is?
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:54 AM   #10
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Ocean Master 350 - Highfield Boats

Remember... Google is your friend!


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Old 01-01-2017, 12:14 PM   #11
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My lighter aluminum RIB is much easier for me and my Steelhead crane to handle than a much heavier fiberglass RIB of similar size. I've had both and I don't worry about beaching or scratching or chipping with the aluminum. The lighter weight makes it easier to plane as well.
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
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What he ^^^ said. Been using and abusing them in Australia for decades.
No powder coat or paint, raw alloy is best by far.
My mistake.
I thought you were talking ally dinghy vs fiber rib.
I will never have another rib, to fragile for our usage.
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Old 01-01-2017, 07:06 PM   #13
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Drake,
Are you assuming we all know what a "Highfield Ocean Master" is?
Ocean Master 390 - Highfield Boats
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:17 PM   #14
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Confusing, 2 threads overlapping...but both are interesting.
It`s really different boats for different conditions, they all have their best applications. If your area is rocky with coral even a hard hull rib may not do, but AL would. Down here plain vanilla inflatables are just fine, they are light, not too pricey, so people use them.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:51 AM   #15
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Thumbs up Aluminum

I have a 15 year old Aqua-Pro aluminum RIB that is in remarkable condition. Holds air well. Hull is original white (paint/powdercoat?). There has been no bubbling or flaking. Nor any pitting. At 8.5' and approx. 75 lbs., it's a great little tender. When not in use, it has been stored since new upside down on the fore cabin and is covered. I am sure that has contributed to its longevity. When we replace, we'll go with an Aluminum RIB over fiberglass - just a bit longer.
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:17 PM   #16
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Great thread. At the end of this month we will be looking for an aluminum RIB at the Seattle boat show. I am hoping there are a couple dealers with package options. We are also looking at davits. Thinking Sea Wise to save swim platform room.
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:59 PM   #17
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It seems unanimous that AL is preferred over FRP. Does anyone feel otherwise?
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Old 01-03-2017, 03:31 PM   #18
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So I wonder how many AL dealers there will be at the Seattle boat show
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Old 01-03-2017, 03:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
It seems unanimous that AL is preferred over FRP. Does anyone feel otherwise?

I neither agree nor disagree... but FWIW I haven't gotten any sense of unanimity from reading the several threads on dinghies.

Looks to me like individual evaluation based on factors like expected usage, weight, stowage requirements, internal and external dimensions, basic design (seats athwartships? console? internal storage? whatever), horsepower requirements, etc. Lots of wandering about 'glass (or plastic) RIBs versus rigid aluminum boats... with fewer comments specifically about aluminum RIBs (unless I just didn't recognize some of those by brand name).

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Old 01-03-2017, 04:17 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
I neither agree nor disagree... but FWIW I haven't gotten any sense of unanimity from reading the several threads on dinghies.

Looks to me like individual evaluation based on factors like expected usage, weight, stowage requirements, internal and external dimensions, basic design (seats athwartships? console? internal storage? whatever), horsepower requirements, etc. Lots of wandering about 'glass (or plastic) RIBs versus rigid aluminum boats... with fewer comments specifically about aluminum RIBs (unless I just didn't recognize some of those by brand name).

-Chris
I meant specifically in the context of this thread, i.e. RIBs with AL hulls vs FRP hulls. So that excludes a lot of other variable and choices, some of which may be better for any give application.

So if you assume one has decided on a RIB, and has a choice of an AL or FRP hull, so far I don't think I've heard anyone say they would prefer FRP, and I've heard lots of people say they prefer AL.
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