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BLUE WATER 480 – Ideal tender or trailer boat

BLUE WATER 480 – Ideal tender or trailer boat

The SKiP brand is named after the old Norwegian word “skip” meaning “little ship”. SKiP Inflatables specialise in tough lightweight aluminium hulled RIBs. The SKiP Inflatables range of aluminium tenders has over 40 different models, from 2.0m to 8.3m in length. In Australia, SKiP Inflatables are distributed via their Gold Coast warehouse, which has the full complement of tenders on display with many different colours in stock.


The SKiP Inflatables Blue Water series is designed as a tough, yet lightweight tender for larger cruising yachts. The open deck layout maximises space, which, in combination with the aluminium targa bar, makes for a very versatile tender – great for fishing, water sports, or just exploring extended waterways with the added safety that RIB provides. The targa bar is an ideal place for navigation lights, radars, antennas and aerials due to its high vantage point. It also offers a tow point for water sports, keeping the towrope high and clear of the prop, and is fantastic for fishing accessories, like rod holders and cutting boards.

All control cables and wiring are cleverly concealed under the floor in looming trays, keeping decks clear and wiring high and dry above the bilge. Another great design feature is the overpressure valves installed in each air chamber that allow excess pressure to be released from the tubes, in case of a collision or the tube having been over inflated. Other key features include deluxe closed-cell foam cushions with piping, davit lifting points, double transom tow points, forward anchor locker, and choice of centre or side console. The Blue Water range is designed with harsh conditions in mind. The integrated long-range 80L fuel tank, full non-slip deck, and a 20°-deadrise will let you take on even the roughest conditions confidently. With the impermeable qualities of the aluminium hulls, there is no need to worry about gel coat chips, or putting the boat on a coral beach or trailer. Aluminium will not delaminate over time, retaining its agile performance and weighing the same in 10 years time.


Our test boat for this review is the Blue Water 480, powered by a Yamaha F70. The hull is constructed with a 4mm thick marine-grade 5052- H32 aluminium, and the inflatable collar is an ORCA®828 CSM coated fabric. ORCA®828 is used in commercial boats up to 6m in length. It is the best fabric currently available to withstand abrasion, high temperatures, and UV rays. Aluminium offers many advantages over fibreglass-hulled tenders, in weight, savings and durability.

With the beautiful Gold Coast weather, we could not resist getting the boat out on the water for some water sports. With between four and five people in the boat all day, towing a skier was no problem at all. With the fuel tank up forward, the boat bow rise is really reduced when getting up on the plane. These boats are light for their size and are very manoeuvrable, with the inflatable collar proving extremely stable at rest.

Underway, this boat was a lot of fun to drive. As we headed out through the Tweed River Bar, we found that the hull was predictable and very responsive. This is a soft riding dry boat and your passengers will be pleased with the ride quality, especially on longer trips.

Ideal as a tender for larger motor yachts, the BW480 is equally suitable as a trailer boat towable by smaller family vehicles and easily stored in a modest space with the tubes deflated.

The performance numbers were taken with two adults in the boat in calm conditions. However, in choppy conditions, the numbers would not differ greatly as this is where a well-designed RIB really starts to perform at its best in comparison to other boat designs.


Model: SKiP Blue Water 480 ALX

Hull length: 4.8m Beam: 2.04m

Deadrise: 20 degrees Inside length: 3.8m

Inside width: 1050mm Tube diameter: 480mm

Hull weight: 242kg including built-in fuel tank, console and seats

Total boat weight fitted w/ F70hp Dry: 392kg

Weight of trailer and boat combined (ATM): 652kg Maximum power: 80hp

Engine as tested: Yamaha 70hp four-stroke

Fuel: 80L Flotation standard: Level

Maximum number of persons: 11

Priced from: $29,995 including a Yamaha F50 long shaft four-stroke outboard with hydraulic steering and Yamaha dual digital engine gauges; or $31,695 as shown, with the Yamaha F70. Add $2,394 for an Oceanic single-axle galvanised steel unbraked trailer.




Published in print April-June 2022