Swift Water Rescue Enters The American Vocabulary

The IBC team has long been a provider of training and equipment to the rescue and military communities and continues to do so with pride today. Recently while waiting in a drive thru line I was listening to discussions on the radio of swift water rescue in some of the flooded hurricane areas. The reporter called out swift water rescue and defined it to another speaker during the exchange. Later that evening I again heard swift water rescue come op as a topic on the evening edition of the local news. More and more use of the term just seemed to be popping up all over the various media channels in this latest news cycle.

Let’s face it the news is a business, and it’s their job to engage listeners, viewers, and social media users to sell ad space, but I took no umbrage as the term filtered into the common vocabulary as a benefit.

Essentially it’s this, as weather events, and natural disasters make headlines and primetime broadcasts we’ll be seeing an increase of the use of the term. This makes me happy as a professional inflatable boat jock. Too many local governments wrongly assume that they will never encounter a flooding incident so they don’t incorporate or enact a plan to address it.

Planning for the worst is much ado about nothing to government bean counters who think that rescue budgeting isn’t necessary. Tell that to the person who was rescued from dark cold water by a volunteer or outside agency. Yes weather events happen, and seemingly more frequently than ever before, and the one thing the government is always short of is mission capable boats and trained operators.

Lessons learned from flooding events always surface as a lack of stable craft with little to no draft led to increased casualties. The “It won’t happen to me.” mentality is increasingly proven to be wrong and when things are at their toughest only the toughest will be able to get the job done.

Most swift water rescue teams are only utilized when flooding is the plan of the day, and water likely isn’t swift in most areas unless topography is the dictating factor. This lack of foresight to low land communities with no rapid moving rivers stands in the way of budgeting for an inflatable rescue boat. Clearly as we can all see here in the US and abroad the truth tells a different story when unexpected rains fall.

To me there is nothing more tragic than a preventable loss of life, or when what should have been a rescue mission turns out to be a recovery. Compared to the costs of running a tin jon boat, (something rescuers know to be a hazard by the way), the cost of ownership and maintenance of an inflatable boat is much cheaper. The inflatable boat carries more cargo weight or people, costs less to operate and goes into much shallower water without grounding, even when laden with tons of cargo.

Personally I’ve been on just about every type of water craft available from submarines, to  Zodiacs, to a hovercraft, landing craft, dive boats etc. and the one boat that ticks the boxes off and saves more precious cargo is the Zodiac MILPRO inflatable boat. Whether you completed missions like me in the military or as a civilian, the Zodiac MILPRO has become ubiquitous in the rescue community. So why are we always in short supply when disaster hits?

Ask your local government officials this question. Too often the “Pros” are basing their whole mission load out off of their experience as a recreational fisherman in a tin or fiberglass boat, something that is woefully in adequate for the flooding mission or swift water mission profile. Try getting a big heavy tin boat launched into a flood zone where the gradient is varied and uncommon obstructions like fences and fire hydrants are the norm. All of the fishing experience in the world goes out the window and operators begin to realize just how bad that ultra expensive tin rescue boat was. Costs not in dollars but in lives are what become the tangible data metric. Trust me that government bean counter isn’t getting his or her feet wet, rendering crucial first aid or delivering supplies to cut of populations.

As we assimilate the term “Swift Water Rescue” into the common vocabulary we should be thinking on how those assets serve a bigger mission profile to save more lives. If your community is too small to field a proper swift water team in addition to their current department responsibilities take charge and hold a fund raising event to facilitate one. The life you save might be your own.

To speak with one of our qualified professionals regarding your swift water or flood rescue needs simply pick up the phone and call  (503)235-2628 don’t wait until it becomes a recovery mission.

Zodiac Open Series Of RIBs

While messing around with some photos today I came across this batch from earlier in the year. Zodiac hosted an event in North America and we sent Adam down to represent IBC and run some new boats Zodiac was offering up for this year.

If you’ve been in the shop this year then you’ve more than likely experienced the Zodiac Open RIB Series first hand and put one on your wish list. If you were really good and not on the naughty list you got one for yourself and are out having fun not reading my blog. Those of you who’ve been stalking my posts, pics, and videos know all about the open series but wanted some more. This post is for those of you who still are on the fence wondering if you want all the awesome these Zodiac Open RIBs offer.

Now the pics!

Getting your new Zodiac Open RIB is as easy as giving Adam a call (503)235-2628

 

Be An Original

It seems like I’m having to say goodbye to some really awesome boats every other day. This week I’ve had to say goodbye to a few Zodiac Bombard Commando C5s as well as the Zodiac MKII Heritage Classic #16 of 50. Yes having to say goodbye is hard for me because I just love the boats people are requesting these days.

The Zodiac/Bombard Commando C5 is one of my all time favorites from doing arctic operations to playing around on the weekends with my best girl and will always be my go to.

Looking at the Zodiac MK2 Heritage Classic I’m brought back to where it all began for me with the Cousteau family and the Debroutelle family in France. The Zodiac Heritage has that classic look that so many of us identified with as kids but it’s made to modern standards and built to perform. Does the MK2 Heritage Classic go well at the yacht club? Yes it does, sexy doesn’t begin to describe the Zodiac MK2 Heritage Classic. This beauty has legs when you push the stick forward and feel the breeze on your face. If you don’t want to disturb your coiffed hair you can flip up one of the windshields and use the mirror to freshen up your makeup. The back to back adjustable seating means it fits any driver or passenger and as an added plus it will lay down flat and turn into a soleil tableau (sun deck) allowing it’s user to catch some rays on placid water. This one is extra special and will be missed once it’s gone.

 

We love our job here at IBC because it means we get to work with great customers who want the best for their boating dollar. Making special boat packages to delivering off the shelf products the result is always the same, smiles!

Come join the family at our showroom in Portland Oregon or by shopping our online store

Inflatable Boat Center

2401 SE Powell Blvd.

Portland Oregon 97202

(503) 235-2628

 

The Hits Keep Coming

Adam and Chris sure have been busy with the Zodiac Bombard Commandos this year and it isn’t over yet. A few more Commandos leave the shop this week to accomplish their missions. We never see them again after we sell them so it’s good to get a few pics before hand to prove they were here!

For the operators looking to use a jet the Bombard Commando C5 makes a smart choice and represents the best performance due to it’s wooden keel configuration.

To find out more about the Bombard Commando give Adam a call (503)235-2628 or shop IBC online at www.inflatableboats.com

 

Zodiac’s Pro 5.5 Built For Speed

One of our customers was looking to upgrade to a rib (rigid hull inflatable boat) from a Zodiac MILPRO ERB that he’d been using for family fun. As usual the customer had some idea on how fast he wanted to go, what sort of water he would be running, and how much he was willing to spend. Once we figured out which model would meets those needs the customer and IBC went to work on the finer details such as desired color scheme, tube material, and required seating.

Due to some physical conditions we determined that the customer would be best suited to a non-traditional pilot/navigator setup in a recreational format. To meet the demands of the physical limitation, pods or “jockey seats” were utilized in place of the more traditional leaning bolster or forward seat arrangement. The use of pods gave the customer sure footing and visibility in rougher conditions and a positive pilot position that allowed full access to all controls and functions.

The customer had us spec out a particular console that wasn’t really on the  US Zodiac menu but the Zodiac chef did it anyway. This new console pivoted forward allowing access to the underdeck area, and helped to get his new boat into the existing storage structure.

For colors we had Zodiac mix up some gelcoat to make his hull and top deck in grey. The customer went off menu again and also had Zodiac make his tubes to meet his desire for a stealthy looking boat.

To power the new Zodiac Pro 5.5 and meet the customer’s need for speed  we eschewed the typical 70Hp or 90Hp and went right to Yamaha’s F115 bad boy. Our fun loving criminal is wearing bling in the form of Yamaha’s performance stainless steel prop, making it one mean get away vehicle that will flex on anything else in the water. When asked how fast the boat would go Mike gave a nonchalant 30mph response and left it at that, all the while knowing that there’s a beast under the cowl. The customer later emailed and said it went 30mph as promised, but it did it at half throttle! Typical Mike!

As usual we had a fun time with this build, and would love to hear from you regarding your next Zodiac.

Give us a call (503)235-2628 and ask for Adam, our Zodiac RIB and Zodiac MILPRO Specialist.

 

Zodiac MILPRO SRMN 550 Custom Survey Package

What do you get when you put a Zodiac MILPRO SRMN 550 together with IBC’s Special Boats Division?

You get a mission capable boat that looks into the future of bathymetrics !

When the mission requires a nimble and fast boat with unbeatable stability to profile what’s under the surface you call IBC and get the ball rolling. IBC’s Special Boats Division and MILPRO lead Adam took the reigns to accomplish a customer’s mission on the water. The mission basics required a boat that was able to precisely loiter on station to get data from the undersea gradient and yet be able to very quickly maneuver to clear a shipping lane.

The Zodiac MILPRO SRMN 550 hull was selected as the platform of choice and an offshore style double motor bracket was custom fabricated and installed allowing the use of twin Yamaha 40Hp outboards.

A custom aluminum bolster and console with equipment racks and accessory tray were added to accommodate the electronics package and computers necessary to accomplish the mission. IBC also fabricated a t-top with a radar and AIS system integrated into the nav console electronics. Ship comms were patched in and outboard data and nav data also integrated into one of several smart displays keeping operations and navigation in one centralized spot.

Forward array handling was fabricated and installed to accommodate the customer’s apparatus not unlike some EOD apparatus systems integrated at our Special Boats Division shop for special operations.

Intrinsically safe and redundant systems were the norm on this highly sophisticated system integration package that unfortunately we cannot show in this format.

All in all another fun build by the Special Boats kids here at the shop for one of our Special Projects customers.

Do you have a special need or project that you’d like to discuss with IBC?

Give us a call (503)235-2629 and get read in to what’s possible.

 

Zodiac Bombard Commando Summer

The trend of “Going Commando” continues to increase this boating season with more and more people realizing that the Bombard Commando meets their needs and then some.

Considering that the Zodiac Bombard Commando doesn’t come with any lipstick or rouge, or in other words fancy accessories, you wouldn’t think they would sell so quickly or well. Imagine a boat that will fold up and go into a small plane or submarine, even the family car that will take a goodly amount of power and handle the worst water. Now forget about what you were thinking and picture this.

Bombard Commando C3

What The Bombard Commando series represents is a good solid platform that is configurable for most any mission on the water. We have cut our teeth at IBC in class 5 white water running souped up outboards with the Bombard Commandos starting with Captain Ron. IBC’s Mike has utilized the Commando series on countless missions in the polar and equatorial regions and swears by it’s dependability and stamina in the face of adversity. Both Mike and Capt. Ron still own Bombard Commandos all these years later providing proof of the Bombard Commandos’ durability.

Many of IBC’s customers have been on the Bombard Commando boats since their inception in the very early 80’s. Once you get used to the performance of a Bombard Commando it’s hard to go to another boat type despite the attractiveness of some of the offerings today.

While we still class this boat series as recreational, many rescue and enforcement teams have recognized the advantages offered by the more rigid wooden keel setup and bigger outboards the Bombard Commando allows. Ease of assembly with the wooden keel far outstrips the inflatable keel variety in this size and class of boat due to relieving the tension on the inside of the tubes caused by the bow sag on a deflated tube. The once common place wooden keel fell by the roadside during the leisure society movement to make it easier for families to manage parts wise.

If you flash back forward you’ll see Bombard Commandos used for fishery science, marine mammal research, ecological missions, high latitude sailing, fishing, hunting, water sports, law enforcement, fire rescue, and the list goes on and on and on.

Here’s a few pics of what’s what from our friends afloat.

To get your very own Bombard Commando give Mike a call (503)235-2628 or order it from our online store inflatableboats.com

What’s in The Box?

Did you Know IBC has the capability to get a boat to virtually any location on the planet?

Volcanic acid lake? No problem!

Polar ice? No problem!

Midwest doorstep? No problem!

Ships at sea? No problem!

IBC prides it’s self on delivering the impossible on time anywhere the wind blows. If you are having problems with freight shipping of your ideal boat on the IBC website just give Mike a call (503)235-2628.

shop our online store inflatableboats.com

A New Post And Some News

This summer has been a whirlwind of activity and long hot days. To the people who have been asking about blog posts I do apologize, I’ve been busy servicing customers around the World continuously.

Ok news time!

The new Zodiac open series of ribs has been going like mad and IBC even went to test the new boats with Zodiac prior to new models being released in the US market. We currently have one Open 7 left and are back ordered on several of the other models.

IBC’s MILPRO Division has been mad at work building out some very special boats for missions upcoming and ongoing throughout the big blue marble. We’ll have a few pics to share soon but most of our projects aren’t viewable due to operational security concerns.

The Special Boats Division has been pushing out special commando packages at a dizzying rate. Models equipped for skinny and swift moving water, steering helm packages, tiller models, dive boats, filming platforms etc. have been the norm everyday. Fisherman and outdoor sportsmen have been catching on to the fact that they can simply do more in a Bombard Commando.

In other news aluminum rib manufacturers have been going thru their inevitable growing pains again. Luckily Zodiac has responded and introduced aluminum ribs to the market once more helping heal the hurt. Pains caused by the current offerings of other supposed expert manufacturers mean I field a great many calls for boats I don’t sell. Those of you old enough to remember boating in the 80s will remember just how many of these Chinese boat brands there were back then. The big push to tin in the 90’s and the multitude of aluminum hulled inflatable boats that persisted into the new millennium disappeared altogether. Once good boats fell to the push to make cheaper and cheaper goods at the cost of quality. Zodiac stopped making aluminum ribs because they couldn’t compete with the Chinese labor costs in Canada or France and the tin market collapsed due to the shoddy off brand product.

People wanted Zodiac quality, but struck off to competitors trying to save a few bucks, much like what is happening in the current market. If you’ve been following our site you’ll notice all the other tin boat makers are gone at this point. Makers such as Highfield will no longer be supported at IBC for warranties or broken/missing parts. You will need to contact Highfield or your other manufacturer directly for further support.

Zodiac aluminum hulled ribs will always be supported, they are Zodiacs after all and benefit from the World’s largest dealer network. Our site isn’t showing Zodiac aluminum hulled ribs currently, we’ve sold out of the Zodiac aluminum ribs until the next season from our initial January offering. As anticipated the Zodiac product out performed all the others in the field in cost VS capability/quality. No surprises there!

One trend that has been gaining momentum is the push for customers to get genuine French Zodiac models such as the Zodiac Cadet Fastroller series. The Zodiac Cadet Fastroller series of inflatable boats are Thermo-bonded™ in the French factory that gave birth to the Thermo-bonding™ technology. Quality from the very start in it’s selection of Strongan Duotex™ fabric and use of the French technique that eliminates glue altogether makes one of the lightest and most durable boats available anywhere by anyone. Other French boats like the Classic series, the Bombard Commando series and the Futura series have dominated the market with quality where the other manufacturers have chosen quantity and free shipping instead of making a good product.

To go into more detail about Zodiac’s Thermo-bonding™ process would take a tome and a PhD in material science to understand, however we can be brief yet informative. As with all things sold today the Chinese have copied some aspects of the technology and rebranded it as heat welding to avoid litigation. Let’s be clear there is a difference no matter how slick the media presentation is from brand X the customer is being duped. The heat welding process is a good 20 years behind the Thermo-bonding process originally deployed in 1977 from Zodiac’s Engineering Dept.

Yes the future is looking bright for quality French, US, and Canadian craftsmanship. In this saturated knockoff internet marketplace where ultra cheap is the norm the consumer is easily tricked into buying garbage by the term “free shipping”. What the informed customer should know is “free shipping” equates to landfill disaster, or now the more news worthy “Pacific Garbage Patch”. Zodiac, Avon, and Bombard have always been stewards of the environment, isn’t it about time we all did our part?

More blog posts to come soon, pictures, videos and more! As soon as We get some free time from fielding all of these non-stop calls for products we don’t or won’t sell from understandably upset customers. Remember if it seems too good to be true, it is.

What Can You Do With A Zodiac?

I get this question a lot when I’m out in the regular world talking to regular people,  What can you do in a Zodiac?”.

The answer is “What can’t you do!”.

Yes we service what we sell, and we service other brands too, maybe more of the latter. Often times IBC is tasked with outfitting something special on a military or professional RHIB/RIB or rigging a complete custom package. We kind of like doing the impossible for operators in harm’s way if we can make it just a bit easier for them or to give them an advantage in an already dangerous mission profile.

Sometimes the mission is life saving or marine mammals, or marine biology, and off the shelf solutions just don’t exist for the particular application. Adam is the go to guy for MILPRO service and boat setups. When things require the best IBC delivers with the best MILPRO offerings available in the sector.

Need something not off the shelf or custom for your command? Give Adam a call to see how IBC can help you today. (503)235-2628