With sketches for a 15-metre set aside for a rainy day, Life Proof Boats didn’t need to look far when an owner came knocking in search of a successor to his 12-metre RIB.
It is not uncommon to see a six or seven-metre RIB zipping guests from ship to shore, but big RIBs are relatively few and far between. The current market starts to trickle off when you pass the 12-metre mark as owners make the leap from runabouts to larger cruisers - so for those who enjoy the power of a rigid inflatable and are looking to upgrade, eventually there is nowhere left to go. This was the position one owner found himself in and turned to US boatbuilder Life Proof Boats to realise his dream of a 'mega-rib' made for adventuring the northeast coast in search of surf.
Based in Washington, Life Proof Boats seemed a natural choice, specialising in aluminium performance hulls that are fast, comfortable and ultra-durable thanks to a foam-filled collar. The current range starts with a five-metre (17ft) open centre console and taps out at a 12.5-metre (41ft) full cabin model, but this owner was after something bigger still. “There's a lot of RIB centre consoles out there but there's not very many full cabins, especially over 40 feet,” says Micah Bowers, CEO of Life Proof Boats. Luckily, the builder already had a design up its sleeve.
“We have had the 50 on paper for two to three years now,” explains Bowers. The flagship model started out as an extension of the builder’s Yachtline series but began to evolve into a category of its own. The 33 Yachtline and 39 Yachtline flaunt an aggressive profile, but the new design opts for a more “classical north-eastern look”, says Bowers. It might then be pitted against the 41' Full Cabin, the current flagship of the fleet, but there are still some key differences. For example, the 50 is designed with a walkaround cabin with space set for entertaining at the bow. “That was a big part of this boat’s design,” explains Bowers, pointing to the bow. “The owner loved the bow and wanted to have a boat that had a lounge in the front.”
As a keen surfer, the owner would require the boat to carry all the kit which included stowage for surfboards. The solution was to create a hinging x-frame that sits above the three outboards. “They may run three or four hours out to find good surf so that was a big part of this boat,” explains Bowers. An al fresco dining area and BBQ make up the aft cockpit area - the entertainment centre on board - with a good-sized galley and second interior dining area. Below deck, there’s a master suite located forward while the main sofa in the saloon can convert to a day bed with bunk space for a further two guests hidden beneath. A separate shower on the port side and a master bathroom on to starboard complete the interior layout.
As an aluminium boatbuilder customising a boat to the owner’s requirements is part of the appeal of Life Proof Boats hulls. “We could create in an endless amount of boat designs," says Bowers, "and as people come to us with more requests the product line continues to grow."
“By going to 50 it allows our brand to grab those clients that are looking to grow into that bigger boat... but I think that's where we're going to stop as far as overall length." Construction on the new 50 design is set to begin this summer with delivery in 2022.