A guide to RIB maintenance

Just like all vehicles, it's a good idea to regularly perform maintenance checks on your vessel, to help avoid any disappointment or your boat failing when out at sea. Doing so will ultimately save you a lot of money on costly repairs. It is essential to have it serviced professionally each year, just like you would a car, however, there are many simple checks you can do to ensure your rigid inflatable boat is performing how it should throughout the year. Have a read through our RIB maintenance checklist to see what you need to include in your regular maintenance routines.

Check for wear and tear

One key maintenance check is to look around the entire vessel regularly to search for any signs of wear and tear, or damage on the hull and repair any scratches or marks with gelcoat. Also, check connections and hoses for cracks or leaks and repair these to prevent any further damage. Monitor the propeller's condition for sharp points and soften these by filing them down, along with removing caught fishing lines that could cause more damage, especially in the gearbox.


A pain it may be, but a top tip for boat owners is to keep on top of your cleaning and rinse off the boat at the end of the day to get rid of saltwater residue. It’s easy to forget, but try not to, as salt water can be very damaging to your vessel if left for long periods of time, that’s why it’s crucial to flush fresh water through your engine after every time you use it. This simple trick is so important to help preserve the longevity of your outboard engine. Follow the advice given by your model's manufacturer.

Caring for bilge pumps

Bilge pumps are brilliantly designed to help remove any saltwater that has made its way inside your vessel, helping to prevent a corrosion buildup on the inside of your boat. Just like it's important to regularly check your engine, it's just as important to maintain your bilge pumps, as saltwater will eventually damage them. In addition, clean the wire mesh filter and regularly remove debris to avoid any clogs. 

Regular system checks 

Taking your boat for a run on the regular is the best way to take care of your systems, keeping them idle is likely to only cause issues. By simply running the engine it coats the internal surfaces in oil that helps to preserve them and reduces the chances of the cooling system clogging. 

Engine and fuel checks

For all boat owners, it is advised to book in for specialist engine services regularly, simple checks you can review yourself include, checking the engine oil colour and level. If the oil ever seems white, this is an indication that you have water in the oil and this means the engine should not be started and should be serviced immediately. As previously mentioned, don't forget to flush out your engine after every use to prevent corrosion caused by saltwater. 

Fuel consumption differs greatly depending on weather conditions, so it may be a good idea to carry an extra fuel tank on particularly windy or rough days at sea, keeping an eye on fuel levels. 

Keep tanks full

Your tanks should be kept with as much fuel as possible, if not, condensation will build-up and water may leak into your fuel. This causes bacteria and residue to form within the tank and will result in the consequence of blocked fuel filters, potentially causing a loss of power at a time where you may need it the most. 

Maintaining healthy tubes 

Maintain inflatable tubes by cleaning them and using aftercare products to remove any mould and other growths, such as oxidation, preventing UV damage and stains. As well as cleaning, you should also keep tubes inflated to a suitable level, as advised by the manufacturer. This helps to avoid straining and the tubes losing their shape. 

Protect your vessel

When your RIB is not in use, cover it with fabric to prevent it from getting damp by the rain, whilst also allowing air to still circulate so the boat can dry out. If your vessel is stored inside away from the rain then using a dehumidifier may be something to consider to help it dry out more effectively. Don't forget to rinse seat covers along with re-lubricating zips. 

UV protection

There are many parts of a boat that will become damaged and deteriorate by sunlight if they have not been protected by UV blocking polish. Before doing so, make sure the chosen area has been thoroughly cleaned, this will help to enhance its look and longevity. 


Similar to UV protection, UV blocking polishes are used to polish the glass on a RIB. This only needs to be done once a year and helps prevent the glass from looking dull and breaking down.  

Prepare an adequate toolkit

Making sure you have all the tools and equipment needed on board is a must, and what's more important is that all of it works properly and is safe for a hassle-free boating expedition.

Additional measures

For boats kept in the water, it is best to give them a refresh with antifoul paint each season to help stop marine growth from getting stuck to your vessel, resulting in damage or discolouration. As well as maintaining your boat, it's also just as important to maintain your trailer. Trailer failure is inevitable if it is not regularly checked and the last thing you want is your well-maintained boat getting damaged by the trailer. Rinse off the brakes with clean water to wash away any saltwater that may cause them to seize up. Lubricating them will help all connections to stay flexible. 


Ensure the safety of you and your vessel is a priority with our boat safety ebook, download now.

Boat Safety Guide for RIB and Speedboats


Header Image: RIBeye

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