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Rigid Inflatable Boats Market Size, Share, Growth & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Hull Type (Fiber and Aluminum), By Tube Type (Hypalon and PVC), By Length (3-9 Meter and 9-15 Meter), By Propulsion Type (Outboard and Inboard), By Usage (Professional and Recreational), and Regional Forecasts, 2022-2029

Last Updated: July 01, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI107225



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The global rigid inflatable boats market size was valued at USD 1.28 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow from USD 1.36 billion in 2022 to USD 2.10 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.78% during the forecast period. North America dominated the rigid inflatable boats market with a market share of 39.84% in 2021.


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The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with rigid inflatable boats experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of 8.61% in 2020 as compared to 2019.

Rigid Inflatable Boats are lightweight boats that are designed to have high-performance capacity. These boats are popular due to their speed, ability to cope with different challenges, and versatility. The hull of such a boat is made out of metal such as aluminum or composites such as fiberglass. They are fast, responsive, and available in sizes ranging from 9 feet to 55 feet.

These vessels find use in law enforcement and are also used for taking larger boat passengers to shore or for recreational activities.


Restrictions on Manufacturing During the Pandemic Caused Delays in Rigid Inflatable Boats Deliveries

The COVID-19 pandemic had a staggering impact on the industry and hit the market sizing from 2020 to 2022. The lockdown situation across the globe has temporarily disrupted various activities in the processing industry, such as crafting, raw material supply, and distribution chain, among others. These factors affected the supply chain and led to delivery delays and backlogs for key players in the market.

Rigid Inflatable boats are lightweight boats that have a high-performance capacity and combine tube-based vessels and traditional structure vessels. The hull of such a boat is made from either a composite material, such as fiberglass or aluminum, and it is surrounded by rubber and other inflatable materials.

These boats have been popular among law agencies and emergency personnel as they are fast, responsive, and can manage different conditions on the water. They are safe and are known to be virtually impossible to sink. They come in different sizes, from about 9 feet to 55 feet in length, and can be propelled by outboard or inboard engines.

Such a boat is ideally constructed to be aerodynamic, have a low center of gravity, and hydroplane across the water. These boats can also be designed for pleasure cruising and water sports adventures.


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Growing Demand for Rigid Inflatable Boats for Marine Security Applications to Boost the Market Size

  • Rising preferences for the use of rigid boats for security purposes have generated a need for the construction of boats. The naval and coast guard boats are usually engineered for high-speed boat interdiction and non-compliant boarding team operations. These boats are manufactured to provide maximum mission range and crew comfort, and they are designed for both shore-based and shipboard operations. Such boats can withstand extreme weather. Thus, taking the above market analysis into consideration, higher growth numbers are anticipated for inflatable boats industry during the forecast period.

  • The demand for longer length is increasing. 11-meter-long Naval Warfare rigid boats may be constructed of composites with an inflatable tube and reinforcement fabric. Such boats can operate in rough seas and winds of 45 knots.

  • In October 2021, United States Marine Inc. won a contract of approximately USD 0.54 million for indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity for up to 35 11-meter navy special warfare, trailers, accessories, spares, and other technical assistance.


Lightweight, Fuel Efficiency, and High Maneuverability Capabilities of Rigid Inflatable Boats Propel Market Growth

Rigid inflatable boats have several advantages over traditional rigid-hull boats. They are less expensive than rigid hull boats of similar size and capability. These boats are usually used for boarding other boats. The inflatable tubes around the rigid hull act as giant fenders when pulling alongside another boat, preventing damage to both boats.

These boats are comparatively faster and more fuel efficient than a solid hulled boat of similar size. Light boats can use smaller engines to generate the same performance, saving on the operational cost of a boat. Cutting down on fuel costs results in a positive impact without sacrificing functionality and performance.

Weight plays a major role in maneuvering these boats. The lightweight capabilities can help the boat to track well and maintain a stable ride even through the roughest of waters. The buoyancy tubes ensure that they're practically unsinkable and help in having smooth rides, making them apt for marine mission applications. Thus, taking the above factors into consideration, higher growth numbers are anticipated during the forecast period. 

Rising Marine Security Threats are Likely to Surge the Demand for Inflatable Boats

For marine security, the coast guard uses rigid boats. These boats are used by the coast guard for diverse missions, including homeland security, patrol, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, and search & rescue. They are built to meet and exceed all requirements.

The naval and coast guard rigid inflatable boats are specifically engineered for high-speed vessel interdiction and non-compliant boarding team operations. Manufactured to provide maximum mission range and crew comfort, they are designed for both shore-based and shipboard operations.

In addition, these boats can withstand extreme weather conditions with a primary mission of insertion/retrieval of SEALs and a secondary mission of maritime interdiction operations. Thus, taking the above factors into consideration, rising fleet size is anticipated to be market driver during the forecast period.

The 11m Naval Special Warfare Rigid Hull (11m NSW RIB) inflatable boats are made of composites with an inflatable tube made of reinforced fabric. They can operate in rough seas and 45-knot winds, but for training other than heavy weather, the Navy limits their use to somewhat milder sea conditions.


High Cost of Manufacturing Associated with Rigid Inflatable Boats to Hinder Market Growth

Rigid inflatable boats are some of the most popular lightweight boats in the market today. With advancements of technology and new materials being utilized to manufacture these watercraft, they are still very expensive to acquire and manufacture.

RIBs have a solid base, similar to a real boat. These floors are built with expensive, solid hull form and flexible tubing in turtles. All the parts and materials that are used in the manufacturing of the boat are costly. The production of these parts is expensive as these materials cannot be welded under normal conditions. The environment must be strictly controlled during construction. The introduction of any dust or dirt during the welding process can result in weak welds and a defective product.

Another reason for the high cost is expensive and a lot of labor. These boats also come with luxury features such as seats that unfold into a sun lounge and cabin with a berth, which also adds to their cost.

Modern-day boats have an aluminum hull, while inflatable boats use it most of the time as composite materials when creating their hulls. The principle behind composite building materials is very simple. A binding medium stiffens and, in doing so, makes a stronger fibrous material. These composite materials are expensive and require a skilled workforce to build. Thus, higher cost associated with manufacturing hinders the market growth during the forecast period.


By Hull Type Analysis

Increase in Tourist Recreational Activities to Boost the Aluminum Hull Type Segment

By hull type, the market is divided into fiber and aluminum. The aluminum segment owns the largest market share due to the rising demand for aluminum hull boats for water and tourist recreational activities, which is anticipated to fuel the market growth. The main advantage of aluminum is that it allows for combining high strength with low weight. The use of aluminum gives a significant improvement in the performance of the flotation devices and also reduces operating costs. Thus, taking above factors into consideration high segment growth during 2022-2029.

The fiber segment is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period. The segment is expected to experience growth due to its feature of quiet and smoother rides and aesthetic options.

By Tube Type Analysis

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Rise in Use of Rigid Inflatable Boats for Rescue Operations to Drive PVC Class Segment Growth in the Projection Period

Based on tube type, the market is segmented into PVC and hypalon segments. The PVC segment has been a popular choice for its cost advantage. The use of these boats for fishing and tourism purposes led to an increase in demand for PVC boats. The PVC segment held the highest market share in 2021.

Hypalon, while more durable, is priced at a higher range compared to PVC. However, hypalon is projected to grow at a higher CAGR in the forecast period.

By Length Analysis

9-15 Meter Length Boats to Grow During the Forecast Period

Based on length, the market is segmented into 3-9 meter and 9-15 meter. The 3-9 meter segment accounted for the largest market share in 2021. The use of such boats for mainly recreational purposes has surged the demand for such boats.

However, with advancement in technology and the use of longer-length boats by governments for applications, such as coastguards and rescue missions, the growth of the 9-15 meter length boats in the market is anticipated. This segment is expected to be the fastest-growing segment.

By Propulsion Type Analysis

Growing Demand for Outboard Propulsion Propelled the Segment Growth in the Base Year

Based on propulsion type, the market is segmented into outboard and inboard. The outboard segment holds the largest market share. The outboard propulsion type has been a popular choice for people for the ease of mounting the engines and the power options with which the boat can be customized. Due to the rapidly growing outboard propulsion type segment for a majority of boats, higher growth numbers are expected during the forecast period. It is also projected to be the fastest-growing segment in the forecast years.

The inboard propulsion type has been a popular option for recreational boating. These engines are usually situated low down in the middle of the boat. However, there may be some inherent inefficiencies with the shaft angle and the disadvantage resulting from reduced space within the boat. Hence, lower growth is anticipated for the inboard propulsion type in the forecast period.

By Usage Analysis

Rising Demand for Recreational Boating from Various Segments Resulted in Increase in Demand for Inflatable Boats 

In terms of usage, the market is segmented into professional and recreational. The recreational segment has dominated the market post the COVID-19 pandemic with the largest share in the base year. It is also the fastest-growing segment. The rising demand for recreational boating from North America, as well as from emerging countries such as India, China, and others for water sports and adventure, is expected to propel the market's growth. The major players in manufacturing, such as Brig, Highfield Boats, Zodiac Nautic, and others, have witnessed a rise in orders from developing economies, indicating possible growth in the future from the Asia Pacific region.

The professional segment is expected to grow at a moderate CAGR. The use of rigid boats by coastguards and for use in rescue missions resulted in an increase in demand for such boats.


North America Rigid Inflatable Boats Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)

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North America dominated the rigid inflatable boats market growth in 2021. North America held the highest market size of USD 0.51 billion in 2021 and will grow at a higher growth rate during the forecast period. The growth is attributed to a large number of players and the increase in demand for these boats from North America.

  • Data from National Marine Manufacturers Association in the U.S. shows that retail unit sales of new boats reached 320,000 units in 2020.

The market in Europe will grow at a moderate pace due to the increase in leisure tourism and the presence of major key players and OEMs such as Zodiac Nautic and others are some jaor reason for driving the market growth in the region. These companies also have a strong global market presence with a a wide range of product type. They largely focus on innovative product development. The rise in demand for recreational boats in the UK and other parts of Europe for leisure use during the pandemic has fueled market growth during this period.

The Asia Pacific region is expected to have the highest growth rate during the period 2022-2029. This growth is attributed to growing economies such as India and China. Countries such as China and India, along with the rest of Asia Pacific, are expected to boost the market in APAC, creating more opportunities for growth in the professional and recreational use of boats.

  • In May 2022, a Bengaluru (India)-based electric vehicle (EV) platform startup named Tresa Energy began a 12-month pilot (prototype-stage) to build a Rigid Inflatable Boat called the “EV.7M RIB”. The lightweight, high-performance RIB, which can seat 18 people, will be useful for patrolling, interception, search and rescue, and transport by the Navy.

The rigid inflatable boats market in the Middle East & Africa is expected to grow at a steady rate due to the growing demand for recreational tourism. Thus, higher growth numbers are anticipated during the forecast period.


Key Players Focus on Innovation and Advancements in Technology to Reinforce Market Position

The market is dominated by some key players such as Zodiac Nautic, Brig and Highfield among others. A wide range of product portfolios, good relations with governments and operators, and significant investments in research and development are strategies that are increasingly being adopted by large companies to expand their market share. In addition, organizations expand their business through methods such as significant spending on mergers and acquisitions, joint agreements, capability expansion, structure and design, and focus on expanding distribution networks worldwide.



  • August 2022- Ribcraft entered in the production phase of its five-year IDIQ contract to build 278 numbers of the 7-meter RIB. The contract is valued at approximately USD 0.08 billion.

  • June 2022- AB Inflatables launched its new jet tender, the ABJET 390 XP. The layout of the boat promotes better weight distribution and increases boat stability for improved performance. The boat is equipped with a removable lateral seat as standard while optimizing person capacity while allowing room for carryons resulting in ultimately maximizing deck space.

  • February 2022- Delta Power Group awarded Blue Light Commercial operators. The contract covers provisions for highly capable, state-of-the-art high-speed boats for use by Police and Blue Light operators.

  • December 2021- Zodiac Milpro International won a long-term contract for the supply of 4 RIBs to the U.K. MPS (Policing Service). This contract allows the MPS to meet operational needs through the newly selected boats, offering a good range of functionality and resilience for policing the Thames river.

  • April 2021- Zodiac Milpro, a leader in manufacturing inflatable boats and RIBs for military and professional markets, acquired Vectis Marine Design. Zodiac Milpro has strengthened its autonomy in design and innovation and its capacity for engineering more effectively. This acquisition is part of the company’s development strategy to support its growth.


An Infographic Representation of Rigid Inflatable Boats Market

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The global rigid inflatable boats market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market. It focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types and leading product applications. In addition, the report offers insights into market trends and highlights key trends in the industry. Apart from the factors mentioned above, the report includes several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Billion)


By Hull Type, Tube Type, Length, Propulsion Type, Usage, and Geography

By Hull Type

  • Aluminum

  • Fiberglass

By Tube Type

  • PVC

  • Hypalon

By Length

  • 3-9 meter

  • 9-15 meter


By Propulsion Type

  • Outboard

  • Inboard


By Usage

  • Professional

  • Recreational

By Geography


  • North America (By Hull Type, Tube, Length, Propulsion Type, Usage, and Country)

    • U.S. (By Usage)

    • Canada (By Usage)

  • Europe (By Hull Type, Tube, Length, Propulsion Type, Usage, and Country)

    • U.K. (By Usage)

    • Germany (By Usage)

    • Sweden (By Usage)

    • Norway (By Usage)

    • Ukraine (By Usage)

    • Italy (By Usage)

    • Rest of Europe (By Usage)

  • Asia Pacific (By Hull Type, Tube, Length, Propulsion Type, Usage, and Country)

    • China (By Usage)

    • Japan (By Usage)

    • South Korea (By Usage)

    • India (By Usage)

    • Australia (By Usage)

    • Taiwan (By Usage)

    • Indonesia (By Usage)

    • Thailand (By Usage)

    • Malaysia (By Usage)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Aircraft Type)

  • Middle East and Africa (By Hull Type, Tube, Length, Propulsion Type, Usage, and Country)

    • Turkey (By Usage)

    • Egypt (By Usage)

    • Rest of Middle East and Africa (By Usage)

  • Latin America (By Hull Type, Tube, Length, Propulsion Type, Usage, and Country)

    • Mexico (By Usage)

    • Brazil (By Usage)

    • Rest of Latin America (By Usage)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 1.28 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 2.01 billion by 2029.

The market will exhibit a CAGR of 5.78% during the forecast period.

Hull type is the leading segment in the market.

Zodiac Nautic, Highfield Boats, ASIS Boats, Brig Boats, Sealegs Corporation, Walker Bay Boats, AB Inflatables, Tornado Boats, and Ribcraft are the leading players in the market.

North America dominated the market in terms of share in 2021.

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