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An Easy to Store, Combination Hard Bottomed Dinghy/Life Boat

Posted by on June 9, 2011

Steve Callahans FRIB ready for production

In our book, Cost Conscious Cruiser, we have a complete discussion of why we are not comfortable with currently available life rafts. Steve Callahan is definitely someone who supports our view that a tender that is rigged out to work as a sailing life raft not only saves money, but presents a safer alternative since daily use means you know the thing will work when you need it in an emergency. In other words, you get two boats for the price of one and eliminate the need to pay someone else to inspect and repack your life raft every year. He learned this the hard way after being forced to spend 74 days in a sub-standard raft after loosing his boat in  the mini-transat race several years back. That is why he spent a lot of time and thought coming up with what he calls the FRIB, folding rib. Steve holds two patents on this folding boat. Light weight, easy to store. Definitely worth a look. Steve can be contacted at

These photos are provided by Steve as is this diagram, reproduced from Cost Conscious Cruiser. The FRIB is 10 feet long, excluding inflations tubes and weighs about 100 pounds. These photos show her folded, with her lifeboat canopy, sailing and being rowed with four on board. You can see more photos and details by going to Steven’s website – The exact link for the FRIB is –

Steven has spent the past few months working as a survival-at-sea advisor in Taiwan where the movie version of The Story of Pi is being shot. On his return he will be working with the folks who plan on putting version 2 of the FRIB into commercial production soon.

9 Responses to An Easy to Store, Combination Hard Bottomed Dinghy/Life Boat

  1. RichC

    Now that looks like the perfect sailing tender and survival vehicle for those of us struggling to carry (and have inspected) deck mounted liferafts that we’ve never practiced deploying, hate (or are very unhappy) with a roll up inflatable dink and keep a hard bottomed sailing dinghy at the dock — won’t fit on deck (is heavy) and swamps easily in choppy conditions. I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open for more from Steve Callahan. Thanks.

  2. harley

    Will it fit on deck of a PS Dana24? Do I have to have it certified? I had a raft on my boat in Florida and nobody would let me watch them certify it. I’ve been arond.
    Anyhow, let me know answers. TNX, Harley

  3. Sandy

    So where or when can I buy one of these?

  4. Trevor Bergman

    How conveniant

  5. folotp

    There is no way to know how long it will take for the FRIB to be available for purchase. In the mean time, what do you think of the ? Thanks.

  6. BaySailor

    I recently contacted Steve Callahan with hopes of buying one of these, or getting the plans or even getting his recommendation as to whom to see about the floatation collar shown, thinking that I might add it to a Fatty Knees. Unfortunately, he was unable to help at this time.

    Does anyone know how to reach the Pardeys? Perhaps they can help with information on putting together the dinghy they have/had.


  7. Jim Buschman

    I too would like to see more of Steve Callahan’s folding life dinghy.
    Does anyone know where to purchase one of these?

    How do I reach Steve Callahan?
    Thank you. I am new to this group.

  8. denverd0n

    Unfortunately, it is now four years later and no further progress seems to have been made. As far as I can tell, no one is selling anything like the FRIB, and no plans are available for those who might want to make their own. This is curious, because it certainly seems like a near ideal option that–I have to believe–would have a substantial market.

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