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The Ultimate Boat
Ryan Pratt, who owns the Sea Tow franchise in Stuart, Florida, tricked out his tow boat with some of the coolest gear.
What kind of boat would you want if your job depended on it? What if other people’s boats depended on it? What about, sometimes, even other people’s lives? These are the questions that Ryan Pratt, who owns the Sea Tow franchise in Stuart, Florida, had running through his head when he purchased a Willard 370 RIB from a government auction. He took that hull and decided to see if he could rebuild it into the ultimate towing machine, adding several intriguing components to make his boat better and his job easier. Take a look at the boat and everything Pratt installed. If they work for him, then just maybe they could work for you too.
Heavy Duty, Rock and Roll
Pratt has been a licensed captain for 15 years, and four years ago he decided to buy the Sea Tow franchise in Stuart. The first thing he did was start looking for rugged boats that could handle heavy workloads in rough seas. He started going to government surplus auctions and buying 24-foot RIBs.
“I always thought RIBs were the best boats out there,” said Pratt. “The tubes act as training wheels in rough conditions or when towing.”
The Willard Sea Force 730 hull (willardmarine.com) has a constant 24-degree deadrise, giving it a sharp wave-slicing entry and running surface. As the boat pounds on re-entry in rough seas, the inflatable collar acts like an air bag, absorbing most of the impact. When in beam seas, the collar also builds in a natural five- or six-second delay in the rolling motion, providing the captain time to correct it at the helm.
The original hull had a sterndrive, so Pratt had to reconfigure the transom for outboard duty. Because RIBs are so light in the bow, a traditional outboard bracket wouldn’t work, because it would cause the boat to squat. So Pratt crafted a bracket that matches the boat’s running surface, extending it 32 inches aft. That bracket provides an additional 800 pounds of buoyancy to handle the twin outboard installation.
Check out what else Pratt added on to make his RIB the ultimate boat.