Naiad has been the world specialist in the design and construction of rigid hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) since the late 1970's. When Naiad first entered the market, existing companies were simply putting a hard hull on an inflatable vessel, with a focus on fender design and textile technology. We decided on a different approach.
Naiad focused on creating high performance hulls, rapidly building respect and a strong reputation for hull design and strength. In addition we realised that existing vessels had non-detachable fenders. We decided to make the fenders relatively cost-effective and easy to replace, like the tyres on a car, creating a dramatic improvement in value to our customers. Our buoyant fenders are fitted to the hull as non-structural components, easily removed for repair or replacement.
This entirely new concept was tested and refined in our first one hundred boats over a period of five years. The system proved to be excellent, and we have continued to improve our designs over a further two decades. In 1996, Naiad developed a removable foam fender system as an alternative to airfilled buoyant fenders, utilising a urethane and foam construction suitable for extreme commercial use. In 2002, we enhanced our airfilled buoyant fenders to incorporate a middle layer of closed cell foam for heavy commercial applications.
>Not only was Naiad the first in the world to fix removable fenders to the hull, but the company was also the first to design cabin structures for inflatable vessels to provide protection from the elements.
Ranging in size from 2.5 metres to 24 metres and powered by outboards, diesel jets and stern drives, Naiad vessels are now used by governments around the world for customs surveillance, fisheries protection, Police and Coastguard duties, and are used as commercial and pleasure vessels for fishing, diving, surveying, pilotage, tourism and as tenders for yachts.
Photo courtesy of The Southland Times
The soft ride and predictable handling of Naiads makes them easy to drive in rough conditions, while maintaining excellent speed. Many Naiad vessels are used for various tourism ventures off the coast of New Zealand. Each boat can carry up to one tonne of people at a speed of 45 knots, and over the course of a year will clock up four thousand hours running time, travel thirty thousand nautical miles and carry in excess of five thousand passengers.
Nadi International Airport selected Naiad Rescue Vessels for their ability to launch quickly off the shore. The New Zealand Coastguard were impressed by the safety and predictability of Naiad vessels, which are uniquely capable of handling the extremely rough conditions of coastal New Zealand. More than 75% of Coastguard units now use Naiad as their principal vessel for search and rescue operations. Major units typically use 6.8 - 12.6 metre models, but many others use smaller vessels that are still capable of handling rough conditions.
Naiad is now considered the world's leading designer of custom designed and built RHIBs for commercial use.