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Useful RIB/ inflatable boat part terms and names

Useful names and terms for Rigid inflatable boat parts to help potential customers and/or new enthusiasts gain a greater understanding of their boats

Bimney mounting point

Bimneys are a great addition to many ribs, providing shade or shelter which is great for long days out on the water. the problem that may arise is where to mount the bimney feet. this image is a fiberglass moulding with a quick release

  • Mounting canvas roof/ sun shade/ canopy
  • Can be mounted on rubber or grp tube mountings

Flat rubbing strake/rub band/ rub rail

Flat strake is great addition to commercial style R.I.B's it can be placed above and below a d-strake for added protection or in many rows by itself in addition to around or under the bow like many of the larger ribcraft and humber R.I.B's. usually between 90-110mm, One thing to bare in mind is the black does tend to withstand more physical and uv punishment than the grey.

  • Used as a minimalistic strake or above and bellow other strakes for wider protection
  • Can be used as a reinforcing strip
  • Also known as 100mm flat
  • EPDM

Teardrop Rubbing strake/ rub band/ rub rail

One of the more popular strakes, its common to see cobra ribs with a double teardrop and a coloured hypalon strip down the middle. these strakes are usually between 95-110mm wide. One thing to bare in mind is the black does tend to withstand more physical and uv punishment than the grey.

  • Mostly used on leisure ribs and inflatables
  • Can be used to make bow fairlead/ snubber
  • Can be mounted one on top of the other to make a double teardrop srake
  • Useful when using boat covers with side hooks
  • Common in black and grey

Big -D Rubbing strake/ rub band/ rub rail

The big-D strake is widely used and is great for bumping off of piers, boats meanwhile protecting the tube. It can also be useful giving someone in the water a ridge to stabilise while getting fins on or perhaps sorting out their mask/snorkel. these strakes are often referred to as "heavy duty D" because of its strong design and excellent wear resistance. One thing to bare in mind is the black does tend to withstand more physical and uv punishment than the grey.

  • Mostly used on commercial RIBS
  • Very versatile, can be used as Snubber, Fairlead, Handles, Paddle or boat hook holder, Rope tidy
  • Wide base for added adhesion
  • Mostly found in black and grey
  • EPDM and PVC

Double Teardrop Rubbing strake/ rub band/ rub rail

Here is the double tear drop as previously mentioned, it offers better protection than a single and some would say is more aesthetically pleasing. when joined these often have around 17mm wide protection area, One thing to bare in mind is the black does tend to withstand more physical and uv punishment than the grey.

  • Extra wide protection
  • Comes in grey and black
  • Looks good with coloured strip between the hooks

Bow Fairlead / Snubber

Fairleads are quite a common addition to these types of boats they can be fiberglass mouldings with a roller to guide the rope or like the image below a shaped rubber channel.

  • Can be made out of flat, Teardrop and D strakes
  • Fairleads usually operate as a rope guide or protection on the bow for ropes to rub
  • Protects the bow
  • Acts as a guide for rope to travel through without damaging the tube
  • Spreads the weight load so it isn't directly on one area of the Tube


This bit of the bow protection can sometimes go all the way from the top of the bow to the bottom and can be made with big-D and little D-style strakes as well as flat strake

Jam cleat

Often found on leisure boats these bow cleats are stylish and practical offering a wide mounting base for strength and replicable jam slot should the grips wear out or get damaged.

  • Good for roping off your mouring lines
  • Pretty robust
  • Doubles as a control handle
  • Available in "fast rubber" or pvc
  • Several colour variations available

Bow roller moulding

Bow roller mouldings have become increasingly popular in recent years they are useful for leverage and protecting the tube and strake from chaffing

  • Easier lifting of anchor
  • Protects the tube and strake from rope abrasion

D-ring patches

D-rings are very useful to have on any RIB but more commonly commercial, they offer fixing points and great tie off points for fenders and can be made strong enough to use as mooring points, these are made using 316 grade stainless and extra durable polyester webbing which is both stronger and more U.V resistant than nylon but is inevitably more expensive.

  • For fastening objects inside the boat
  • Can be used as lifeline loops
  • Can be used for mooring
  • Can be made extra strong for towing
  • Marine grade stainless D-rings

Life Line patches

Webbing lifelines are more costly to manufacture than their rubber counterparts but from my experience, the larger bonded surface and the strong polyester webbing allows these patches to last longer. These can be square, round, oval or many other shapes to suit your RIB or inflatable.

  • Used to rope along the inside or outside of a rib or inflatable boat
  • Can also be made for fixing tanks , fuel cells and storage boxes in place.

Rubber life line Moulding blocks

Rubber lifeline/rope goes are a quick easy solution for ropes, with minimum labour for fitting, these can be used for both inline and looped lines. The rubber can go stiff and crack over a few years but with care may last a 10 or more.

  • Made in both EPDM and PVC
  • Common on leisure inflatable boats
  • Come in black and grey
  • Can worn with straight ropes and looped lines

Square cleat handles

Square cleat handles are very popular on commercial style ribs, they are robust and have a very wide bonding surface to give it extra strength. the handle doubles as a cleat and can also be used for holding fenders and covers/ canopies. i have seen people using these to strap boats down to the trailer while it would probably last a while and be ok, i would say its not the best idea, you would be better off strapping over the tube with some cloth on the tube to prevent marking.

  • Most common on commercial type ribs
  • Wide base for stronger adhesion
  • Come in grey and black
  • EPDM and PVC

Rounded cleat handles

These rounded style cleat handles are used more in the leisure market offering a more aesthetically pleasing design with rounded ends. it has a narrower base so less bonding area than the square version but is still a strong, useful handle option.

  • Come in PVC and EPDM
  • Used more commonly on leisure inflatables
  • Usually come in black and grey other colours may be available


The transom is one of the most vital parts of your boat it holds your tubes to the side of your rib and also carries your engine. its a good idea to keep an eye out for cracks and soft areas where the board inside has managed to get saturated and marine ply begins to break down, when this happens you must get it replaced as it could be dangerous to use.

  • The rear of the boat where the engine is mounted and rear of the tubes are connected
  • Usually tube will be connected by between 3-5 patches

Cone end panel and cone end cap moldings

Cone end end caps come in many sizes, shapes they can make the conends look like a point or they can be flat ,round/ domed, available in grp, epdm rubber, pvc they are durable and hold shape well, fiberglass ones have been known to crack and become a little fragile when pressure is applied.

  • The rubber moulding in the end is knows as an cone end cap or cone end
  • The cone panel
  • Can be short or long
  • Can angle in, out up or down
  • Sometimes will be far pointier like avons

Dome end

Dome ends are very popular often used on bigger ribs, dome ends usually sit further in the water the down side in my experience is most dome ends suffer fabric cracks far sooner than the cone shaped version whether that is user error im not 100% sure but so many times ive been asked to repair cracking/delaminating dome ends there must be some issue there.

  • Dome ends
  • Normally consist of 2 pannels
  • Can be various shapes
  • Usually have the rubbing strake wrapping around to the inside

Stepped tube end cap

Cone steps are both attractive and useful they are usually made from grp and bonded in to the tube body using adhesive, the angular design makes them easier to use when boarding the boat, and also gives it a more sporty look.

In my experience these stepped tube caps have a few issues, after a couple of years both on the top and on the bottom where the fiber glass is bonded to the tube material, on top the step pulls down on the tube effectively separating itself from the fabric and underneath the inner edge of the grp pushes a ridge down in the rubber which then creates drag that may damage the tube over time.

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Makes Boarding a bit easier

Hull Flange, gusset and edging strips

  • The area underneath the strip that runs around the outside of the hull is called the flange
  • She strips that sit on top of the flange and known as gusset strips
  • There may also be flat strips that are stuck directly to the flange called edging strips
  • Can vary from 2.5 to 3.5" depending on size of the tube

Bulk head / baffle/ partition

These are the internal partition bulkheads that make up the chambers within a RIB tube, there are a few different designs, pointy cones that are known as witches hats and these that are flat.

  • Make the boat safer in the event of a puncture
  • Makes finding leaks a lot easier
  • Less pressure drop when cold across all chambers
  • A few different construction types , witches hat, disk method, rolled on method

Inflation and pressure release valves

These are the most common inflation and pressure release valves in use in the U.K manufacturing. most manufacturers use one inflation valve and one pressure release per chamber now as standard. what you should remember is that on a hot day the air pressure will be released so if you have left your boat inflated and its soft after several hot days the chances are that it over pressurised released air and will just need some topping up.


We are based in Yeovil, Somerset but will also work in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.

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