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 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

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

 

 

River Huggers Press Day with Portland’s Mayor Wheeler and IBC

Monday started early for IBC as we made ready and launched at 4:00 am to support the Portland River Huggers swim across the Willamette River. Portland’s very own Mayor Ted Wheeler joined in the swim and several news teams were there to cover it from all angles, our job was easy, we just piloted the boat. 🙂 IBC’s Mike was on station to take out the media and provide safety and rescue services as needed with the 40 Hp rigged Zodiac Bombard C4R Commando.

Thankfully there were no casualties and everyone had the endurance to make the swim under their own steam. Mike (our intrepid adventurer) pretty much insists on using the Zodiac Bombard Commando platform as his vessel of choice in marine operations. Mike keeps his boat open and mission configurable to quickly adapt to conditions and the ever changing marinescape as it unfolds.

IBC provided a platform for the various news channels to film and report on the events as they unfolded live on the water. Mike grabbed a couple of selfies with the news to prove to the boss he wasn’t sleeping in which are featured below. To view the news articles about the Willamette River click the links provided.

KOIN TV Article

KPTV TV Article

River Huggers Out On The Willamette For The Summer

To find out more about inflatable boats call (503)235-2628 and ask for Adam or visit IBC online via their website inflatableboats.com

Military and Profession users please call (503)235-2628 to discuss your mission profile or optempo.

 

2018 Dragon Boat Races

The 2018 Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races brought some liquid sunshine to Portland this year but the competition was red hot. The Inflatable Boat Center was on hand to lend a safety boat and operator as we like to do for local events. Thankfully it was a casualty free year again with only a broken tiller on one of the boats that led to a low speed collision.

Law enforcement was in full force with several other assets which helped to transfer some of the load off of our already heavily laden mission profile.

All in all it was a good time despite the rain that menaced paddlers throughout the event. IBC took out several news channels for the event, which was a first for many of the news teams. KATU’s Amanda shared some of her pics below in the link, and more will follow as the media is dispersed thru the proper channels. Unfortunately we weren’t able to collect any images this year ourselves due to mission tempo and our event responsibilities.

The boat IBC chose to use was the Zodiac Bombard Commando C4R open rigged with a 40hp outboard tiller arrangement. The tiller allows for ultra fast throttle and steering response when maneuvering tight and fast conditions, or in this case around lines and other small craft in the exclusion zone. Having 40hp on a Bombard Commando C4 gives the operator smooth speed and the ability to bring heavy loads to plane easily to complete the mission at hand.

After the event while in transit to the pull out location IBC’s Mike was on hand to lend assistance to a small sailing vessel that was over turned. With the Bombard Commando, some line, and a bit of seamanship Mike was able to right the vessel and tow it to a nearby dock. The Bombard Commando’s incredible buoyancy and soft sided nature allowed positioning without damage to either vessel as lines were put under load.

The Bombard Commando line of boats continues to perform where others can’t and is a favorite of the IBC staff for all things on the water.

To see about getting your feet wet in an inflatable boat purchase contact Adam at IBC or shop our online store https://www.inflatableboats.com

Local customers can stop by our showroom

Inflatable Boat Center

2041 SE Powell Blvd.

Portland Oregon 97202

(503)235-2628

http://katu.com/news/local/photos-teams-from-around-the-world-compete-in-2018-dragon-boat-race

C-3 Commandos Save The Day At The Bottom Of The World

The internet is filled with good and bad, and every once in awhile good seamanship stories leak out. In the Yachting World news we came across a story about Skip Novak and a recent Antarctic expedition turned beach recovery utilizing the trusty Bombard C3 Commando and some good seamanship.

Check the link below for Yachting World’s full text on what went on at the bottom of the world.

http://www.yachtingworld.com/voyages/real-life-rescue-skip-novak-aids-lone-yachtsman-recovering-yacht-beach-109399

If the Bombard C3 Commando sounds like a boat you’d be interested in give us a call (503)235-2628 or order online with our secure shopping cart.

www.inflatableboats.com

Zodiac’s Open 7 – A Walk Around

Well now that most of the show season madness is over and everyone is waiting for their orders lets take a look at Zodiac’s Open 7 RIB.

By all viewing angles the observer realizes that Zodiac’s Open 7 is a whole new and modern approach to running the blue water. Generous aft seating means bringing friends and family out for some exploring and adventure was never easier. Transom steps and boarding ladder options envelope the outboard and give bathers a sure and positive way for getting into the Zodiac Open 7 regardless of fitness level.

Zodiac’s forward thinking seems apparent just about everywhere you look. Upon inspection you’ll notice deck fittings already strategically placed to add additional seats, scuba racks, etc. making the Zodiac Open 7 truly mission configurable.

Integrated anchor roller and bow step up forward removes the uncertainty of anchoring up for lunch on the hook or a simple swim call. The chain locker is generous and offers easy access via a marine latch and forward hatch.

Refueling can be a pain at the fuel dock so Zodiac made it easy on the Open 7, with access to the secondary hatch right where it ought to be.

Speaking of hatches the Zodiac Open 7 has a lockable gas strut assisted console hatch that leads to a truly cavernous under deck stowage locker. No more worrying about gear left aboard, pfd storage or water sports storage. One just puts everything below safe and secure.

If water sports are your thing then Zodiac has heard your call and made a sleek and functional towing arch option that looks as good as it works. If you’re towing the kids on a tube or you’re trying to set the wakeboard endurance record the Zodiac Open 7 answers your call in a stable, safe, fun, and efficient craft.

With the ever changing field of marine electronics breaking new tech every six months it’s hard to plan for dash space to layout all the doodads. Zodiac is above all a tech company and as such redesigned the console and dash on the Open 7 to accommodate the future of boating electronics. This was a forward thinking move and one that the mechanics and riggers are cheering about. The would be boater can have everything they ever dreamed of and more!

When considering a hull’s efficiency to cut thru the bumps and chop many manufacturers take the easy way out and design for one scenario thereby limiting what the boat will do in any given sea state. Zodiac has taken their enormous knowledge base into the design phase and put together a truly open water hull. Performance is optimized to the very edge of hydrodynamic law making the Zodiac Open 7 suitable for blue water, fresh water, lakes or rivers alike. Zodiac takes it’s lessons learned from hard military applications, shipping, rescue and exploration to a whole new level for the recreational customer. Many state and federal organizations will love the what this hull design will do for their missions let alone the recreational customer out for a quick fun trip.

In the terms of power and economy IBC’s choice to rig their premier Zodiac Open 7 with a clean burning and quiet Yamaha F250HP outboard is a perfect balance of power and grace. The Yamaha F250 coupled to Zodiac’s Open 7 purrs like a kitten sipping fuel like the aforementioned kitten lapping milk from a saucer. Pushing the throttle forward transforms the kitten into a team of roaring lions on a yolk. Taming that lion team is easy with the Zodiac Open 7’s hydraulic steering control and offers nimble maneuvers at any speed. You won’t even notice how fast you are moving until you see your speed on the generous digital screen. The Zodiac Open 7 literally tears your expectations asunder and gives you the smoothest ride possible afloat.

We just couldn’t find anything wrong with the Zodiac Open 7, it all seems so right. At a price of $70K with trailer from IBC in Portland Oregon it makes you wonder why anyone would need another kind of boat when the Zodiac Open 7 does it all, and does it better.

To view the Zodiac Open 7 contact the team at The Inflatable Boat Center (IBC) by phone (503)235-2628 and schedule an appointment. If you’re on the other side of the world have a look below at IBC’s Portland Boat Show Open 7 premier in North America.

Shop IBC by visiting their website www.inflatableboats.com

Boat Show Special Pricing

IBC is back from our last big show and we’re getting ready for the season opener. Special Boat Show Pricing is going to expire soon so don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. As always IBC is there to help you get on the water with the right boat at the right price.

To order your new dinghy, adventure boat, rescue boat, professional or military boat call one of friendly sales staff at (503)235-2628 today.

IBC is a 5 Star Gold Rated Yamaha Service Center, as well as a certified Zodiac Repair Facility, and MILPRO Elite Dealer/Service Center. IBC is uniquely qualified to address your inflatable boat needs and is Zodiac’s Senior Dealer in this corner of the world. Let our decades of experience help with your next undertaking whether it’s in the high polar latitudes or even the inland waterways of our nations’ heartland.