Exciting Antarctic Project for UK boat builder

Image of the Island RIBs team fitting the fuel tanks on one of the BAS boats. Image of the Island RIBs team fitting the fuel tanks on one of the BAS boats.

Island RIBs have been commissioned to build two 7.5m RIBs, capable of withstanding the harsh environment of the Antarctic. The boats, which will be deployed by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), demonstrate high levels of sea keeping ability, stability and flexibility of design.

The research craft’s primary roles are to support world-class marine science and operate as a search and rescue vessel for the Rothera research station. The two Island RIBs boats will be used to transfer scientists, engineers and their equipment to and from the remote island sites in safety, battling the unpredictable, freezing conditions. They will be used as a platform for research divers, as well as to deploy and recover sampling equipment and autonomous underwater vehicles.

The base platforms are designed to be interchangeable, so either of the boats can be deployed as a search and rescue craft or a dive vessel for the teams that work from the Rothera station. This flexible design has a series of deck fittings installed that allows all seats, dive suites and stowage boxes to be changed or removed entirely. The RIBs are also fitted with custom Mercury engines from Barrus and enhanced tubes from Venture Marine Ltd.

Jo Burke, Director of Island RIBs commented that:

"This contract is a fantastic opportunity for us. The boats selected by BAS are our standard production boats, with some minor modifications to protect the tubes against ice damage.  This is testament that our design works due to the attention to detail that has gone into developing it.

“Our RIBs are built with a focus on safety, durability and ease of maintenance. A BAS technician, who is very likely not a marine engineer, with training, will be able to carry out maintenance and repairs. This is especially important considering the remote locations they will be operating in.”

The boats will be launched in time for Seawork and will be exhibited with Barrus on VA012.