To expand the operation of Hamble Lifeboat in 2016, we purchased an addition to our fleet. We purchased a 3.3m Foldable RIB (Frib) from FoldableRib based in Hamble Point Marina. This addition to our fleet allows our 10m Halmatic Ribs to remain in deeper water as a mother ship and allows launch the Frib from the Lifeboat as a space platform. The Solent has a tidal range of near 5.0m the Lifeboat is at time limited in being able to pass under bridges (Northam Bridge and Swanwick Bridge), over banks or get close to shallows due to the Lifeboats draft. The Frib was put into action within her first few weeks in service and has proven a great asset in searches.
The crew banded together to raise funds by being sponsored to drive around the Solent area in a 6.0m Frib loaned by FoldableRib powered by a 25hp Suzuki outboard looking to be run continuous for 48 hours. The engine was faultless during the endurance run covering 100’s of miles. Over the 48 hours, the crew of the Lifeboat and staff of Frib operated a relay system changing crew and refuelling every four hours. Based on the ability of the Suzuki engine, Hamble Lifeboat purchased a 6hp outboard from Suzuki to power the Frib.
A local building company McCarthy & Stone kindly made a donation to the Lifeboat service as a result of building a care home in the village. This kind donation boosted the funds raised by the crew and allowed the service to purchase a Frib and outboard thus boosting the Lifeboats capabilities greatly. McCarthy & Stone built on the site of the Harrier Public House, with this we have named the Frib Harrier with callsign HR1.
The Frib is an incredible versatile piece of equipment. It folds to the size of a large suitcase, weighting 43kg, has a capacity for 4 persons and take only five minutes to assemble. Since putting her into service we have used the Frib for a water rescue inland as crew carrier her to a piece of water and used it to get to a car submerged in a creek.