Owning a Ballistic

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Cost of Ownership
What you can do with a RIB


Cost of Ownership

When looking at the cost of owing a RIB there are a number of things that should be taken into consideration when working out overall cost.

1. RIB and Engine Servicing
2. Safety Kit
3. Insurance
4. Storage
5. Depreciation
6. Training

1. Boat and Engine* Service & Maintenance

It is essential to service your RIB and engine at the manufacturer's recommended intervals. This will ensure all warranty issues are covered and guarantees maximum re-sale value. You will also want to ensure that your RIB and engine remains in first class order by making routine visits to your local RIB and engine dealer for servicing and maintenance.

There are simple checks and maintenance that you should carry out before and after use. These are precautionary measures designed to keep the boat well maintained. These elements may not be part of a service and service of the boat and engine must still be done at the manufacturer's recommended intervals.

1. Wash the RIB with fresh water (soapy if available) after each use and flush the engine through with fresh water (NOT soapy).

2. The hull (GRP) should be regularly washed to remove any marine growth.

3. Don’t use abrasive solvent or chemical products for cleaning, if you wish to use chemicals to clean your tubes or hull then speak to your local dealer for recommendations.

4. Never use high pressure cleaning equipment as it is likely to damage the boat.


Budget approx £500 per annum for boat servicing. This will include general up-keep, repairing breakages, cleaning, getting ready for the season and putting to bed for the winter. Budget approx £2 per horsepower. A 250hp engine will cost approx £500 for servicing per annum.
*note that the Evinrude E-TEC engines do not need servicing for the first 3 years.

2. Boating Kit

The list of safety equipment below is the minimum you should carry on any journey.

Lifejackets – Boating can be extremely unpredictable. It is vital to wear lifejackets or buoyancy aids when on board. If you find yourself in the water, a lifejacket or buoyancy aid could save your life, but only if you ensure that it is the correct size and type for you, properly fastened and that you understand how to operate it.

First Aid Kit – It is advisable that at least one crew member on the RIB has a basic understanding of first aid. A comprehensive first aid kit is strongly advisable and could prove invaluable while waiting for professional assistance to arrive.

Fire Extinguisher – Fitted as standard to all Ballistic, it is advisable that all crew members know of its location and how to operate it.

Flares – An essential part of your safety equipment. Ensure you have the right type for your journey, coastal inshore or offshore and familiarize yourself with how they are used.

Other essential kit includes: anchor/chain/line, mooring lines, heaving lines, torch, exposure blanket, engine tool kit, spare VHF (handheld).

All the above boating kit can be found at any good chandlers.

Cost: Budget approx £300 - £400 for safety kit.

3. Insurance

Due to FSA regulations we are unable to provide an idea of approximate insurance costs. If you are interested in getting an insurance quote then please contact Gareth Jones at Heath Lambert for a quote. Click here for more information. see link to page:

4. Storage

There are a number of options available.

A. Dry storage

Cost of dry storage is dependent on location and RIB length but budget approx £2,000 – £2,500 for a season (6 months).

B. Marina storage

Cost of marina storage is dependent on marina location and RIB length but you can budget from any where between £250 to £350 per meter per month.

C. Storing at Home (trailering)

There are lots of public slipways that can be used to launch and recover your RIB for free.

5. Depreciation

Average depreciation is 6-10% per annum. This is based on average wear and tear and not on commercial RIBs.

6. Training

We strongly advise that everyone who is new to ribbing or a bit rusty takes a training course. Attending a suitable training course is increasingly being viewed as a means to getting more from your RIB through a better understanding of its capabilities and harnessing its power.

R.Y.A. Powerboat Level 1

Introduction to Powerboating: This is a basic powerboating course for the novice or for young people. A one day course, level one acts as a confidence boosting introduction to boating and going to sea.

R.Y.A. Powerboat Level 2 / I.C.C.

National Powerboat Course: Level 2 provides a more comprehensive course over two days. The content of the course covers slow and high-speed boat handling, the basics of local navigation, charts, tides, rules of the road and the skills and techniques required to help you enjoy daytime boating.

R.Y.A. Intermediate Powerboat

Day Cruising Course: The Day Cruising Course builds and expands on the Level 2 certificate. The course extends the candidate's knowledge of both the practical and the theoretical aspects of coastal boating.

With extra navigational techniques, passage planning, tide work and further boat handling skills, the syllabus should prepare the candidate for making coastal passages safely and with confidence.

R.Y.A. Advanced Powerboat

Day & Night Course: Boat handling, seamanship, pilotage, Navigation, safety and confidence by day and night are the things that the candidate will bring away from this course. The syllabus is designed around the needs of commercial power boaters and includes a night passage exercise and practical heavy weather handling where possible.


Obtaining the correct licence to tow

If you passed your driving test after January 1997, new legislation came in which states you must pass an additional test to prove that you are safe to tow any trailer with a load greater than 750kg. Various driving schools will also be able to teach you how to tow if you think you require a course.

Here are some that we have found below:


Please note that we have not tested any of these courses to confirm the quality of them. Alternatively you can look in the yellow pages and see if your local driving schools offer any courses.

DVLA trailer tests cost about £90. Please see the link below for more information.

Buying a trailer for your RIB

• Ensure you buy a trailer which suits both the weight and dimensions of your boat

• When searching for your trailer, it is important that you know not only know your boat length, but also the true kerb weight of the boat (which includes fuel and all equipment aboard) so as to not exceed the maximum weight of the trailer which is given by the manufacturer

• If you are looking for a second hand trailer it is important that you view the trailer before purchasing it in order to carry out a general appraisal. Check the tyres, brakes, bearings, winch and lights are in reasonable condition and be aware that if they aren't, you may have to change them at a later date.

• It is always advisable to buy a reputable brand of second hand trailers as replacing broken bits and obtaining spare parts will be easier. Be aware that although the trailers do not necessarily have a maximum life, the availability of their parts does.

• If you require further advise regarding purchasing a second hand trailer, please call JBT Marine on 0870 9089336.

Selecting a vehicle to tow with

It is important to ensure that the vehicle you intend to tow your boat with is suitable for the job.

Towing capacity of the car

• Check the gross weight of trailer and boat doesn't exceed the towing capacity of engine/vehicle. The car's maximum towing limit should be found in the vehicle handbook or on the chassis plate which is usually under the bonnet.

• If you aren't given the exact towing limits, you will be given the car's Gross Train Weight (GTW) and the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW).
Vehicle's Towing Limit = Gross Train Weight - Gross Vehicle Weight

• If you are in any doubt, call the manufacturer to check as it is illegal to exceed the car's towing limit.

Vehicle and trailer dimensions

The length of trailer that you are permitted to tow with your vehicle depends upon the vehicle's gross towing weight:
Maximum permitted length of towing vehicle and trailer combined is 18m.
Maximum overall permissible train length is 18.35m (this includes a potential overhang)

Light Requirements

2 x back sidelights
2 x red stop lights
1 x illuminated number plate
2 x red triangular red reflectors
2 x amber indicators
If trailer is wider than 1.3m it must have at least one fog light.

Before you start your journey

Car checks:

• Fill up with fuel and oil before attaching the trailer to avoid complications of entering a petrol station with the trailer attached.
• Ensure that the radiator is filled with water as when towing a large load the engine is under greater strain.
• Check the brakes will be able to safely bring the vehicle and trailer to a halt.
• Practise driving with a trailer

If you haven't driven with a trailer before, it is an idea to practise somewhere like a deserted supermarket car park at night. You will then be able to practise moving, stopping and turning and reversing down each of the parking rows. Be aware that most normal driving characteristics change dramatically and you will need to do all basic driving manoeuvres like turning, accelerating and stopping much more slowly. You must allow more room when you overtake, more time when you stop and generally be more patient!

Connecting up your trailer:

Most trailers differ slightly with respect to how you connect it up, so it is best that you ensure that your vendor shows you exactly how to connect it up correctly to your vehicle when you buy it.

It is generally regarded that on most trailers, the height of the centre of the ball should be between 16.5-18 inches to the ground whilst on the flat. This usually gives a very good ride height.

Trailer safety checks:

• Ensure that the trailer is loaded properly and is well balanced. All trailer couplings will show the maximum nose weight which they are designed to operate with. Most trailers will be between 60-100kg, and you can always buy a nose load indicator to check that the trailer is loaded correctly. If it is unbalanced, it could result in the trailer 'snaking' behind the tow vehicle.

• Check the boat is securely fastened to the trailer with at least two ratchet straps to stop the boat moving forwards and backwards as well as up and down.

• Check that your trailer is correctly and securely attached to the car and also check that both the hitchball and coupler are secure.

• Check the trailer's emergency brake cable is attached to the tow vehicle. If the police stop you when you don't have the break away cable attached you are likely to receive 4 points on your licence. Do not put a security chain and padlock between a braked trailer and vehicle when you are travelling on the road.

• If you have an unbraked trailer, ensure that the safety chains are hitched up.

• Check all the trailer lights (indicators, running and brake lights) are functioning properly.

• Check the number plate is suitably and securely attached and is visible.

• Check the tyre pressures of the tow vehicle and trailer (and spare tyre). The optimum tyre pressures for the trailer will be written on the side of the tyres and it is important that the pressures reach this level. It is also recommended that should you need to buy a new trailer tyre, you mustn't fit a standard car tyre. You must fit a tyre with a ply rating which is suitable for the boat weight you intend on carrying.

• Check the jockey wheel is wound up and secure.

• Check your visibility in your mirrors and if necessary get mirror extensions.

• Check that the mudguards are secure and actually cover the wheels as this is a legal requirement.

• Ensure you have a prop bag as it's a legal requirement.

• Check the brake systems operate properly before you embark on the journey.

Driving with your trailer:

Double check:

It's an idea to stop in a convenient place after about 1 mile to double check the trailer hitch attachment, the boat is still secure and not liable to move around and finally that the lights and electrical connections are still working and together.

Speed limits:

Please note that speed limits alter if you are towing a trailer: Single carriageways unless signs show to the contrary = 50mph Dual carriageways and motorways = 60mph.

Speed limits also alter in mainland Europe; details of this are shown on the AA website. Please see http://www.aaroadwatch.ie/eumotoring/speed_notes.asp or contact the AA for further details.

Motorway driving:

When travelling on a motorway with three lanes, it is not permitted to drive in the outside lane when towing a trailer.


Check that your breakdown cover includes your trailer. Some companies put a maximum length on the vehicle and trailer, whilst other companies will only cover the car and not the trailer. You don't want to have to leave your RIB behind in a lay-by when you get rescued!


If your trailer starts to sway behind the car when you start driving then there are two ways to correct it.

Driving along a flat level road -

• It would be advisable to take your feet of the accelerator and let the vehicle slow down gradually.

Driving down a hill -

• You must drop down a gear and accelerate in order to try to pull the trailer straight.

Once you have the trailer under the control of the vehicle again, it is advisable to stop and ensure that the load is balanced correctly.


Trailer theft is quite high on boat trailers. We would recommend that you purchase a good quality wheel clamp and that it is 'Sold Secure' which is an industry standard for quality security items. A hitch lock is also a good idea; this too should be Sold Secure.

Trailer maintenance


Boat trailers require more servicing than transportation trailers do. It is recommended to have them serviced professionally at least once a year. Generally the more you use a trailer the better it is for the trailer.

If you can’t show that your trailer was in good serviceable condition, (and this doesn’t involve you doing the work yourself) it may void your insurance.

Looking after your trailer:

Wheel bearings and trailer braking systems suffer very badly from salt water corrosion. Although it wouldn't be uncommon to replace bearings and brakes every other season, here are a few tips to prolong its lifetime:

• When you arrive at the slipway, take 10-20 minutes to prepare the boat before going into the water. Eg remove the straps off, insert the bungs, check over the boat, put your boating kit on, remove the lighting board and push in the trailer board poles etc.
This achieves two things; firstly it ensures that the trailer spends as little time as possible in the salt water. Secondly it will allow time for the bearings and brakes to cool before submersing them. It's quite common to see grease in liquid form around the front and rear of the wheels; this is because the grease becomes more liquid and can often find its way past seals in the bearings. If you put the trailer in the water whilst hot, the water will find its way in to the bearings.

• On returning home with you RIB, you should give your boat and trailer a good hosing down to wash them free of the salt water. Some trailer manufacturers provide a brake flushing kit allowing you to flush the brakes with a hose.

• Because bearings are nowadays fairly inexpensive, it is regarded a worthwhile cost to replace them every season whether they are still in a good condition or not.

• It is also recommended to grease the nipples on the trailer after each use.

Try not to leave the parking brake on whilst on the flat ground and chock the wheels up instead. Leaving the parking brake on for prolonged periods will make the iron filings in the brake lining material rust to your drum. This will result in the brakes sticking to the drum thus not enabling you to tow your trailer away.

If it does happen, depending on your mechanical knowledge, you may get away with tapping the brake drum with a large hammer. This will break the contact between the brake shoe and the drum. If this fails to work, you will need to strip the brakes down and clean them. It's recommended that this is done by a competent person, and if you in any doubt as to what you are doing, please take the trailer to a specialist.

Finally, also ensure that you pay attention to any maintenance instructions which have been provided by the manufacturers.

N.B. Boaters who also have caravans -

If you should tow your caravan on a dry ball stabiliser, we recommend that you wipe the ball with a solvent to remove any grease after towing your boat and before you tow your caravan again.

What you can do with a RIB

RIB-ed for Pleasure

Whether you describe your hobbies as unhurried and simple or adventurous and extreme, a RIB is the perfect accessory to get the most out of your free time.


…bypassing the miles of dirty, sweaty, headache-inducing traffic on the way to the beach…the cool wind in your face as you cut through the waves with family and friends, riding ashore with your picnic basket, barbecue and cool box…


…speeding over to Cowes or cruising the Channel to France for a day spent enjoying the delights of the ‘la vie française’…lunching at a café, sampling the catch of the day…stocking up on wine, beer and cheese…

…embarking on a romantic, moonlit cruise…the rhythmic lapping of the waves on the boat, starlight illuminating your path, the water sparkling as you go, the champagne chilling in the cool box…

…racing along the water, splicing and dicing the waves on your water-skis or wakeboard, feeling the wind blasting past your face, the adrenalin surging through your body…


…exploring the deep blue sea, diving amongst the vivid colours of the world beneath the waves…

Make it a reality…anything is possible with a RIB!

RIB-ed for Success

From the Caribbean paradise retreat of Necker Island too much wilder waters of Sierra Leone to the changeable conditions of English Channel, RIBs are essential tools for a variety of businesses and services, where their speed, capacity, agility and reliability make them indispensable.

RIBs are widely used by the police and drug enforcement authorities throughout the world, where the boat’s indispensable qualities are a key weapon against increasingly sophisticated criminals.

RIBs in business, Rigid Inflatable Boats are widely used in business RIBs are also widely used for commercial businesses, whether its diving, snorkelling, surveying or just plain cruising. Give your clients an unforgettable experience as you propel them to their destination, sun in their faces, wind at their back, inches from the water. Want to give your business that elusive professional yet fun image? Want to lift your business above the competition? A RIB can give you and your company the edge!

So, whether you’re launching a new business or looking to improve an existing one, get ahead of your rivals with a RIB.

Click here for a list of Ballisitc RIB Resources

© JBT Marine, Trafalgar Wharf, Hamilton Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO6 4PX, UK02392 397 000 | info@ballisticribs.com