RIB Proposal

At our last AGM, a group of members agreed to look at options for the 2nd RIB. This note summarises the findings and makes a proposal for moving forwards.

###Summary

* There is a clear need and desire for a seaworthy second RIB
* There are many benefits to RIB diving that align with the current economic climate.
* The existing second boat is not seaworthy and beyond economic repair
* There is no logistical of financial reason why a new RIB can not be purchased
* It is recommended that a maximum budget of £13,000 is allocated to the project

###A growing need.

The club RIBs have proven to be increasingly popular within the branch over the last couple of years. Over 20 days of RIB diving were organised and were filled almost instantly – to the disappointment of many!

Diving from the RIBs offers many tangible benefits. The poster on the notice board lists a few of these, but the primary benefit is without doubt the relatively low cost of diving. And, in the current economic climate, our branch is in an excellent position to use some of our substantial funds to support members by providing access to low cost diving.

Britvic is currently the only seaworthy vessel that the branch owns. With six divers on board she is very crowded and at her limit of safety. As many of those expressing interest in RIB diving next year are very active and want to spend the season using the RIBs there will be many members who will not get to do the diving they want, many will not get to RIB dive at all even though they want to and being able to do so is a key membership entitlement.

To serve its members, this branch must have a seaworthy second RIB.

###Investing in diving.

The RIBs are considered a valuable benefit with over 35% of the membership already indicating a desire to utilise them next year. Investment in the RIBs is likely to both encourage new members and help us retain our existing membership.

The club RIBs are solid long term investments. A RIB is a tangible asset that has a relatively low level of depreciation.

Unlike hard-boat diving, RIB diving benefits dive organisers because they are financially protected. Hard boat dive trips will inevitably be reduced in number next year as some organisers have had significant difficulty in receiving payments from members and therefore will not organise again.

###Member support

There are sufficient tow bars, Diver Cox’s and boat handlers interested in RIB diving to ensure that running two RIBs will be supported and sustainable. Further in branch training is being organised.

### The existing second RIB

This is a very tired and old boat that has served the branch well for many years. She was moth balled 2 Years ago due to the long and expensive list of repairs required which totalled approx £2500.

The glue on the tubes has also degraded and whilst partly repaired, will continue to cause problems in the future. The only real solution is to re-tube at an additional cost of approximately £3500.

The engine is also old and the vessel will basically continue to drain branch funds at an ever increasing rate if we keep her and try to use her for diving activities.

However, with a relatively small amount of work, she could be made sellable. Especially if used for in-shore, light duty and occasion activities. The trailer is in good condition with many new parts considerably increasing the sale value. If the following work is undertaken it is estimated that boat, engine and trailer will be worth between £1500 and £3000.

###Works required includes:

* General clean and tidy up – free
* Steering repair and greasing – free
* Remove rubbing strip, re-glue seems and attach new rubbing strip – parts £250
* Winch repairs – free
* Total = £250

###A replacement option

If a replacement vessel is purchased it is recommended that it should:

* Maximise diving opportunities for the members
* Remain towable by the majority of members
* Be seaworthy and fit for the purpose for which it will be used

In this respect, the vessel will need to be equipped in a similar manner to Britvic to meet SOLAS V guidelines. Some equipment from the old RIB may be usable although a judgement call regarding resale value and value for money will be required. In this respect, if funds and logistics issues permit, it would be sensible to purchase a new vessel before selling the old one.

It is recommended that a vessel slightly longer that Britvic (say 6.0 to 6.5m) is purchased such that 6 divers with full kit can comfortably be accommodated and for short trips this could be increased to a maximum of 8 in suitable conditions. This would require a slightly larger engine say 115 to 130Hp.

Storage options have been carefully considered. There are marina options that could be discussed; however, given the ground space available at the branch it is recommended that the ability to store the vessel at the club house would be a significant benefit and an appropriate cost control measure.

A longer vessel than Britvic will not fit in the same shed. Options therefore include lengthening the existing container or providing another.

Lengthening the container could be relatively easily achieved by club members for the cost of materials – £300 approx.

Providing another container and installing electricity, would have the advantage of additional storage. This could be placed behind the club house near the compressor shed.

A 20ft container will not be quite long enough so we would need a 40ft unit, the same as existing or to make a small alteration to a 20ft unit for the tow bar of Britvic so it could fit. It may be possible to obtain a free issue container and this is being investigated however; a budget in the region of £1500 would be advisable if this option was preferred.

It is recommended however, that extending the existing shed is the lowest cost and preferred option. Consideration should be given at the same time to widening the entrance end of the existing container slightly, say 300 mm. This would make putting Britvic in backwards easier and give us more flexibility with new boat options. That said there are several 6.0 and 6.3m vessels that are the same width as Britvic and therefore narrow enough to fit.

Brand new vessels are expensive and depreciate quickly. In the current economic climate, second hand vessels are relatively readily available at sensible prices.

A new vessel fully equipped, would be in the region of £20,000 to £25,000 mainly dependant on engine specification. A similar vessel, 3 plus years old with relatively low hours will be in the region of £10,000 to £13,000.

###Costing

* Shed – £300
* Old RIB – £2,000 (after repair costs)
* New Purchase £12,000
* Fit Out of new boat – £500
* TOTAL – £10,800

It is recommended that an ideal budget of £13,000 would be required to allow contingency and enable purchase of new before sale of the old.

###Finances
The branch finances are very strong. The spare cash is causing concerns for some as to how it should be used. Sensible operating cash and emergency funds should however be maintained. But it is worth considering that in an unforeseeable emergency financial situation, a RIB can be sold. For this reason it is suggested that significant rainy day reserves do not need to be maintained. A very healthy operating cash balance and contingency is suggested to be £4,000.

Plans currently remain to replace the kitchen and toilets commercially. A budget of £5,000 remains the estimate for these works. It is recommended that cash remains available for the kitchen and toilet project.

Current funds available are approximately £30,000. However £10,000 of this is allocated to pay for removal of the club building in the event of the branch dissolving. Given the significant funds available it is recommended that this money is left safeguarded. However it is worth noting that in an emergency one of the RIB’s could be sold to generate cash.

Given year on year results adding approximately £3000 a year to the reserves, it is considered that a short term depletion of rainy day funds can easily and relatively quickly be recovered in time for what ever the next major project may be.

The money is therefore readily available to undertake this project.

###Time Scale
It is recommended that the winter is used to undertake the works and that the time scale to purchase is related mainly to the right boat becoming available for the right price.

The following order of work is recommended:

1. Repairs to old vessel
2. Shed alterations
3. Purchase of new vessel
4. Sale of old vessel

Sale of the old vessel could be done before purchase of new if felt appropriate but would risk selling something we may need for the new one. This may depend on the time scale for the kitchen and toilet works.