RIBCraft 7.8 Offshore

The 7.8 Offshore combines safety and toughness with a comfortable ride.

We Say: RIBCraft's 7.8 Offshore search-and-rescue standards will serve a demanding recreational owner well. The 24-degree transom deadrise, combined with the shock-absorbing qualities of the collar, soften chop. In three-foot seas, it ran like silk.

RIBCraft’s hulls are hand-laid fiberglass, reinforced with a composite stringer grid. The tubes are Hypalon for durability, neoprene-lined, and boast seven separate air chambers.

My test boat’s console had space for a 10-inch electronic display, a windshield, a grab rail and a forward seat. A T-top is optional. Though RIBCraft builds more than half of its boats for institutional customers, the company finds plenty of recreational boaters who want one of these super-safe, super-tough, super-comfortable vessels for anything from fishing to beach picnics (the latter boats probably equipped with optional keel guards).

Who'd Want One: A coastal boater looking for the toughest, lightest, center console in this size range.

Another Choice: Zodiac's Pro 850 ($104,783 with a Yamaha 250 hp four-stroke) has 27 feet 11 inches of overall length and 9 feet 10 inches on the beam but is 230 pounds lighter than the RIBCraft 7.8.

Bottom Line: $110,000 with test power; ribcraftusa.com