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.

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.

Inflatable Boat Capacity VS The Other Guys

Much has been touted about boat capacity in the world of tin and fiberglass boats, but how does it compare to an inflatable boat?

Tin Boat Capacity Plate

Inflatable Boat Capacity Plate

Upon comparison you see the tin boat is rated for up to a 60Hp outboard and up to seven people or 1325Lbs. total combined weight of cargo, people, and weight of the outboard, this must include fuel as well.

It must be noted the aluminum boat is 17 feet OAL and the inflatable boat is 15 feet 5 inches OAL.

The inflatable boat is rated for up to a 60Hp outboard and up to nine people or 2535 Lbs. total combined weight total.

This difference of two additional people and a surplus capacity of 1210 Lbs. in an inflatable boat that is almost two feet shorter starts to shed some light on the question of relative capacities in boat types. We selected the tin boat as a comparison here because in the Pacific NW we are tin boat centric, the same lack of capacity exists in fiberglass construction.

This added buoyancy in the inflatable boat means you can handle most things water wise,  and the likelihood of an inflatable boat coming to the rescue when your tin boat sinks is very high. The stability, capacity, and performance is of merit to the recreational customer as much as the professionals, and military users alike.

Seeing an inflatable boat tied to another boat or on deck gives people a look at the inflatable boat world but it’s a fleeting glance at best and an afterthought seconds later. What these mariners are saying with their inflatable boats is they are light, easy to store, carry a lot of goods and are safe where the other boats can’t be. Lest we forget they will go into mere inches of water fully laden.

What the rest of the world is missing is the inflatable boat as a primary platform has quite a lot of appeal in it. Cost of ownership and maintenance is within the average person’s grasp for a very high performing boat. Water sports become available without a second mortgage. Fishing even the most remote spots in a boat are now on the table. Moving cargo to remote locations means you can build that cabin you always wanted. Hunting spots where there are no people is easier and safer. You can roll up even a big inflatable boat and stick it in a closet if you want. The list goes on and on and on when you consider an inflatable boat and what it really means.

Some of the diehards in departments and agencies that are in districts that have water will still be drinking the jon boat kool aid until they ship water and have to get rescued themselves in, you guessed it, an inflatable boat.

Sadly these lessons have to be learned over and over again when there is a tragedy such as the Houston area flooding right now. The smarter choice, the one with the surplus capacity, means you have more options available as a boater than you thought.

Exercise your freedom get into the smarter boat that does more with less, spend less money and get more with an inflatable boat from The Inflatable Boat Center.

Fishing With Friends

For some reason we still get calls all day long from people that ask “Can I fish in an inflatable boat?”. Well the answer is YES! In fact there is so much fishing, specimen collecting, crabbing, etc. that I don’t have the space or time to try and document it all. We ask our customers to email us pics, and most say they will, but the reality is unless someone has a question or problem we don’t hear from them for 20 years.

We recently had one of our surfers in the shop looking to pick up some gear and Mike asked her if she had any fishing pics. Asheley being the sweetheart that she is sent us a couple to share with you here on our blog. Asheley and Kevin run a Bombard Commando C4 for surfing and fishing off the West Coast, in fact several of their friends IBC’s Mike included do so as well.

In the pic above you’ll notice 3 Bombard Commando C4s launching off the beach in the early am (photo was lightened for presentation) getting ready to mission. In this Girl Power Bombard Commando centric blog post you may be wondering why so many people utilize the Bombard Commando as a platform for fishing and surfing and play. If performance in open water, speed, and handling coupled with safety and confidence are concerns of yours then wonder no more. The Bombard Commando is championed by many professionals who require more from their inflatable boat where kitchey swag accessories have no place. The Bombard Commando series is all boat and no bull and that is where the difference is.

The girls asked me not to tell you where they go or what they use to catch all of the fish they get, and the boys were a little nervous about giving up their spots as well so let’s just say in the ocean and rivers on the West Coast.

I guess the real question you should be asking yourself is what can’t you do in an inflatable boat? If your name is Asheley and you run a Bombard Commando the answer is there isn’t anything you can’t do! Thanks for sharing Ashley and the rest of you, your secret spots are safe with us!

To get your own inflatable boat or RIB for fishing and fun with friends give the pros at The Inflatable Boat Center a call (503)235-2628 and get on the water today.

Professional and military users ask for Adam.

Prop Guards For Safety

The recent deaths to some first responders and marine enforcement deputies that triggered an action requiring Prop Guards on certain county police/fire units weighs heavy on our minds here at IBC. When we train swift water rescue, flood response, etc, we are training with Prop Guards or special forces outboards that have an enclosed impellor device to prevent prop strikes.

Just because we are training with these devices doesn’t mean they are for training only. The super secret outboards we supply to Navy and other special forces units were developed specifically to keep combat swimmers and rescuers safe from such occurrences. The use of Prop Guards on civilian and state/federal rescuers is still considered mandatory by IBC pilots/instructors Mike and Adam.

The cavalier attitude that “It won’t happen to me.”, is often followed by tragic news. If you are operating with swimmers/victims in the water you need to have a Prop Guard installed period. Fears that performance will be affected to detriment are unfounded and misplaced. Even if you lose one knot off the top the benefits far exceed the reduction in speed of one knot. If you think you can’t suffer the performance loss you’ve never seen the Australian Surf Rescue competitions on TV or the internet. The Aussies use a very well covered design and perform rescues daily without putting a victim thru a blender.

IBC stocks Prop Guard brand Prop Guards for all sizes of motors that will fulfill any requirement military or civilian, and has other options for rock protection, and special purpose/tactics as well. Don’t be a statistic, don’t let ego run the show, be prepared and be safe as boating and rescue have always been  classified as dangerous. The toughest people we know are smart enough to use a Prop Guard so an average boater shouldn’t have any excuse to not have one.

Mike doesn’t like getting the calls from police and fire agencies, neither does Adam, and especially if it involves children as was the case recently. Don’t be foolish, get a Prop Guard, shut off the motor if there are swimmers in the water, keep a proper watch, don’t drink and boat, and always wear a life jacket. No one likes to do a recovery operation, those images will stick with you for the rest of your life.

To get a Prop Guard click here or call Adam (503)235-2628 for military and professional applications.

 

Spearfishing On A C4 Commando Turns Into Rescue on The High Seas

When I was down talking to the Oregon State Marine Board during and advisory team meeting last week I heard about a rescue on the coast and several more, basically some scenarios and not much detail. I of course offered up a boat and motor to do a recovery where a body was in some fast water and unreachable for days with Oregon’s typical tin boat flotilla. They passed because tin runs in their veins here and inflatable in Oregon means a cheap inflatable floating cooler. I guess what most people don’t realize is when that tin takes on water it sinks, and we come out in inflatables and rescue the tin pushers.

Working with some of the nations best rescue, military, and law enforcement on their various missions means we typically mean what we say when we flap our gums. We flap them a lot!

I got a call from a recent enthusiastic Bombard Commando C4 owner who wanted to thank IBC for helping him pick the right boat for the adventures he liked going on. When he described his outing I knew which Oregon State Marine Board topic he was talking about and asked if he could in his own words just give us a little something for our blog readers. His pics and story are below.

“It was May 28th. Memorial weekend, 2017. My son and I were enjoying our first dives on our new boat that we just bought at Inflatable Boat Center in Portland Oregon. It was a bit of a rodeo getting our Bombard Commando C-4 launched because of the heavy boat traffic. Once in the water and underway to our favorite dive site, the 25hp Mercury put her right up on a plane with ease. There was a good size swell initially  but things calmed right down for us.
Once on site, we dropped anchor and went right to work. This was the first time with decent visibility for my 14 year old son to go spearfishing. We collected our limits of nice sized black snapper, made our safety stop and hit the surface. After a short surface swim back to the boat, it was time to head back in.
We motored out a little way and I let him take the tiller and run the boat for a bit. As we approached the bar, I took over. As soon as we ran up along the jetty towards the harbor, a man came running down and looked panicked. Honestly, I thought it was another crabber that lost his pot in the rocks. Much to my surprise, he told me that there was a boat not far out that had been blowing their horn and he could see them waving their life jackets.
I headed straight out to see if we could help. As I approached, I cautioned my son. I reinforced the fact that we have no idea what their distress is. It could be a motor that wont start. It could be a boat taking on water. It could be a man overboard. I told him to use extreme caution as we approach. As it turned out, it was a drift boat with an older Suzuki outboard that would not start. I was a bit surprised that they did not have even one oar on their drift boat.
We connected a line to their bow and ran it to the transom of the Commando C-4. Underway, we towed them across the bar and into the harbor. Immediately we were approached but the Coast Guard. I slowly came to a stop being careful to not foul our prop with the tow line. The Coast Guard asks if they were the ones blowing their horn and waving life jackets. They said that they were. I asked if they wanted me to continue towing them or if they prefer me to turn them over. They suggested we continue our good sam efforts.
Once back to the dock, I was told I could go. The folks from the Coast Guard went through all of their gear, making sure that their vessel was legal. I was told that no one on board had a boaters card. Not that it would make a difference in getting a motor to start but if it were later in the day and the sun was going down, it could have been a very bad situation for them.
Commando C-4 rescue. Not the first and likely not the last. What a day for my young son!”

Stories like this come to us everyday and it’s always the inflatable boat to the rescue and often times its the Bombard Commando series doing the heavy lifting for the market. The Bombard Commando Series of inflatable boats is made in France by Zodiac and is the good stuff with none of the fluff or glitter you see on lesser boats. Used by adventurers and professional users alike it stands alone in a sea of cheap imitation. Get your Bombard Commando Inflatable Boat at The Inflatable Boat Center in Portland Oregon or visit our No BS secure website and get one shipped right to your door anywhere the wind blows.

The Inflatable Boat Center

2041 SE Powell Blvd.

Portland Oregon 97202

(503)235-2628 ask for Adam 😉

 

 

Another Day at the Office

 As we navigated our way up the winding lush and rocky banked river, we found the optimum location to put newly taught skills to the test. With ten knots of current, the boulder lined channel provided a challenging swift water chute to practice personnel recovery tactics. Utilizing Zodiac MILPRO Emergency Response Boats (ERB), we had the perfect platform, which provided plenty of reserve buoyancy and maneuverability to execute our simulated victim in water pick up techniques.

Here at Inflatable Boat Center, we are privileged to be an authorized Elite Zodiac MILPRO dealer and service shop. To be authorized doesn’t just mean sign up and sell a boat; instead it requires a serious level of  commitment, interest and experience with the products.  All of our IBC staff members own and use Zodiac inflatable boats year round and have done so for many years, both recreationally, in the military, and professionally. In addition, we strive to learn everything we can about our prospective customers and retain contact with existing customers in order to supply them with the perfect product for their requirements.

The new Zodiac MILPRO craft of choice for first responders is the Zodiac ERB.

These models offer a choice of floor systems, both aluminum or inflatable, fast inflation systems, Zodiac special inter-communicating valves, over pressure relief valves, quality life lines, and the perfect hull design for shallow and swift water operation. For the Spokane Valley Fire Department, the ERB 380 (12’6”) proved to be the perfect combination of performance, capacity, and portability. Spokane Valley Fire Dept. chose to carry the boat to the water vs launching from the trailer to match conditions found in the field. Powered by a 30hp Rescue Pro PumpJet outboard, the boat had enough power to get 6 people up on plane, and moreover, propelled 3 operators easily through all the swift water conditions we encountered.

In addition to supplying the fire department with a new boat and engine package, IBC offered to host a genuine Zodiac Maritime Academy training class as this was their first Zodiac; the perfect boat doesn’t help without the proper skills to operate and maintain it. This educational program specifically covered basic boat operations and maneuvering, risk assessment, broaching and re-righting techniques, personnel recovery, swift water passage making, general maintenance and in-field repairs. It takes many years of training and experience to not only teach a class like this, but also cater to the specific needs of the customer. This is an example of why we here at IBC are often selected as the Zodiac supplier for many government agencies as well as recreational boaters; from young families getting into boating, to RV expeditions, to coastal and offshore tour boat companies, as well as world cruising sailors.

Anybody can drive a boat fast and in a straight line however, but steering a boat with a tiller handle outboard is very foreign to most people including seasoned boaters. It’s the tiller handle that provides instantaneous control and allows for nimble guidance of the vessel. This is mission critical in fast-moving water as a boat can get thrown around in a split second, therefore the ability to make rapid corrections to ensure a proper course becomes a necessity of the mission.

Through coordinated instruction and live on the water demonstration, lessons were quickly learned and actively practiced among all fire rescue team members. By the second day of our course of instruction, all trainees were efficient in operating their craft with the judgment required for making the call as to what side of the boat to perform a pick up on, as well as have their crew members organized and ready to accomplish a rescue. During our class’s de-briefing our new operators rated themselves as much more confident and prepared to use their new Zodiac ERB  for  their own missions.  There is always a sense of triumph at the end of our intense training evolutions knowing that we’ve played a small role of indirectly saving lives by teaching the skills we have spent many years developing.

Adam Fry is a lifelong Zodiac operator from Kauai, Hawaii that now lives in Portland Oregon. Adam is IBC’s lead MILPRO Specialist and is certified in repairs and operation of the full Zodiac MILPRO line. To speak with Adam about your agency’s needs call (503)235-2628

Zodiac MILPRO MK2 Grand Raid Goes To OSU Research Dept.

Around here at IBC we get excited when we get requests from marine studies institutes looking for mission specific boats. Being marine life conservationists ourselves and boat enthusiasts we always wish we can go off on these missions to swim with sharks, or collect data about birds, etc.

Today’s mission was the latter, marine birds was the topic and night ops was the mission. To complete the OSU mission researchers had to make their observations and conduct their various operations in the dark in littoral zones where an ordinary boat just couldn’t go, nor carry the compliment of passengers and required science packages. IBC delivered a Zodiac MK2 Grand Raid (think Jacques Cousteau boat) which has the ability to carry an enormous amount of cargo and offers the robust fabric and reliability that only the Zodiac MILPRO line can deliver.

Areas that require beaching in turbulent conditions on variegated rocky coastlines require a level of finesse and toughness in the boat as well as the nighttime operators conducting the studies. The Zodiac MK2 Grand Raid meets and exceeds all expectations in this regard, and it does it at cost that doesn’t break the educational institute bank.

 

 

Other uses people might associate with the Zodiac MILPRO MK2 Grand Raid are rescue, law enforcement, heavy industry, and of course military. Some of our recreational users also spec out the Zodiac MILPRO MK2 Grand Raid for their tenders or primary boat activities. It’s very easy to understand why based on the Grand Raid’s reputation for toughness, stability and quality of construction.

To see a Zodiac MILPRO Grand Raid for yourself stop in to our shop or call one of our MILPRO specialists (503)235-2628 to discuss your needs.

MILPRO Season

This time of year IBC is always scuttling around busy with various agencies and their seagoing Zodiac MILPRO RIBs, and swift water rescue boats. In preparation to underway commitments bigger ships need work done and usually on the quick to meet mission requirements and deployment dates. The U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps Of Engineers, U.S. Military Forces, state and federal law enforcement and fire you name it and we see it here.

Sometimes the service is just a bit of paint and shine on battle damage or even planned maintenance on a unit prior to deployment. Today it was a bit of paint on a U.S. Army Corp Of Engineers Zodiac MILPRO RIB. Our job was to de-rig a console set and repaint it prior to an underway. IBC made all of the graphics, matched the color, and painted the console set, then rigged it back to spec. It’s just too bad we didn’t get a chance to re-rub the entire boat but budget and underway commitments take precedent over what we want.

Fortunately Mike grabbed a couple of pics of the boat before she had to go back to the mother ship so we could appreciate the job the repair shop did.

IBC is your one stop shop for sales and service of the full Zodiac MILPRO line of RIBs and inflatable boats. Give us a call today for your military and professional needs and see why we are ranked Tier 1.

IBC Zodiac MILPRO Rep. Adam (503) 235-2628

Zodiac MK2 Classic Fastroller

Today we’d like to mention a little known Zodiac gem that does not disappoint, the Zodiac MK2 Classic Fastroller. Mike and Adam were going to shoot a video on how to setup the Zodiac MK2 Classica Fastroller but then they realized it would be utterly boring. You see with the Zodiac MK2 Classic Fastroller all you do is unroll and inflate. That’s It! No fitting floorboards or struggling with stringers anymore just unroll and go.

The Zodiac MK2 Classic Fastroller fits the bill for a premium dinghy, exploration boat, fishing, hunting, camping, etc. because it’s so easy to use. One thing the guys love around the shop here at IBC is the Zodiac Classic Series of inflatable boats performance. While we don’t constantly show them online, we constantly love them on the water. They are such well thought out boats they are often our first pick for many missions and outings.

Manufacturing is done in France by the same people who build the Bombard Commando and Zodiac Futura models. All Zodiac Classic inflatable boats are made of stronger stuff, i.e. Zodiac’s “Strongan™” fabric that is thermo-bonded by the same machines the ESpace Division developed. ( yes Zodiac is an aerospace company too)

The Fastroller airfloor is an option on the Zodiac Futura series and for small tenders in the Zodiac Cadet series. Lightweight and ease of use make this the ultimate portable boat. Don’t get taken by some cheap imitation airfloor from a company that you never heard of, get a real Zodiac, made from the real fabric, with a real Zodiac 5 year Warranty.

Get your next Zodiac simply by shopping in our online store, or by calling the pros at The Inflatable Boat Center (503)235-2628.

You’ll love your new Zodiac almost as much as us!