Bullfrog Boats Inc.manufactures a rigid aluminum hull, inflatable-style boat. The collar is filled with flotation foam rather than air. According to Henderson, this patented design has resulted in a boat that is virtually unsinkable.
Although their boats primarily find their way to the general public, they are increasingly being used by the search and rescue community, says Henderson. The RIBs are available in 10-, 11-, 13-, 15-, 17-, 21- and 27-foot sizes. Dependent on length and horsepower, top speeds range from 40 to 60 mph. Bullfrog boats are gas, and utilize outboard engines, primarily Hondas.
North River Boats Inc.recently purchased Almar Boats and continues to manufacture inflatable vessels under the Almar RAIV (Rigid Aluminum Inflatable Vessel) brand. These vessels range in size from 18 to 45 feet, in 1-foot increments. Widths vary from 8 to 14 feet.
Available propulsion includes single, twin or triple outboard; single or duel gas inboard/outboard; single or duel diesel inboard/outboard; single or duel gas-powered jet; and single or duel diesel jet. Speed ranges from an idle speed of around 3 mph up to 57.5 mph, although not every boat they make will go this fast, Sandeman says, adding that sometimes agencies will specify a minimum speed rather than a maximum. The company has a GSA general contract and will build a vessel to agency specifications.
Northwind Marine Inc.offers several open-water RIBs including the 36-foot PilotMaster with a hybrid air/foam collar and the 35-foot Interceptor, a triple outboard, inflatable collar boat designed to carry 250-horsepower engines. Both have 586 aluminum hulls.
Northwind, which has a GSA contract, has also developed an unmanned, surface RIB called the SeaFox that operates by remote control, says Choich.
Although developed for use in Iraq, "The advantage this offers port security is that you can have one person in control of several of these vessels, because what we're running into in terms of port security is a manpower/resource scarcity," says Choich.
SeaArk Marine Inc.manufactures RIBs under their RAM Series product line, developed by adding a collar to the existing hull designs of the Commander and Dauntless series, according to McFalls.
Vessels in the Commander Series are available in 21-, 23-, 25- and 27-foot sizes with horsepower ranges from 225 to 600. The Dauntless Series consists of eight different sizes ranging from 28 feet up to 55 feet. Horsepower ranges from 600 to 1,300, and propulsion is provided by twin outboards.
Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelance writer based in Long Beach, California. She specializes in writing about public safety issues.