The Ballistic RIB design originates from expert Lowestoft boat builder Paul Frankowski, whose aim was to create a high-performance boat with a superior load-carrying capacity. In the mid 1990s, entrepreneur Nick Parish bought the rights to Frankowski’s design and created the Ballistic brand. Parish spent a few years developing the Ballistic RIB brand in the leisure and commercial markets from his Hayling Island base before deciding to find a partner to boost production levels.
In 2002, Parish teamed up with Hampshire-based JBT Marine, one of the leading second-hand Rigid Inflatable Boat distributors in the UK, but not before his new partner had put several Ballistic RIBs to the test in the unforgiving Trans Agulhas race in the shark-infested waters of Cape Agulhas off the southernmost tip of South Africa. The Ballistics performed superbly.
Parish and JBT Marine worked together to build the reputation of the Ballistic, in particular in the family leisure boating sector, before JBT Marine bought the rights to the boat in 2005. JBT Marine has since further expanded production of the Ballistic and continues to update and improve the boat’s design. It has also begun to build a global distribution network for the Ballistic, most recently establishing the Ballistic brand in Scandinavia, where the boats are proving popular on the waters of Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
Ballistic RIBs are a favourite leisure boat and speedboat, used as super-yacht tenders, as support craft for sailing boats and as family leisure boats. As a family leisure boat, Ballistics are popular for harbour and beach-hopping, as a way to enjoy watersports such as wakeboarding, waterskiing and snorkelling and as a simple cruiser for getting out on the water.
One particularly high-profile champion of the Ballistic is Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson, who has three of these high speed boats on his British Virgin Islands retreat Necker Island. He is due to add to his Caribbean Ballistic RIB fleet in the near future, with new inflatable boats destined for his new, luxury, eco-friendly Mosquito Island resort.