Carson Rib designs are based on nearly four decades of practical experience and with up to date CAD facilities incorporating many unique and proven features. Among these are the well proven iconic Carson deep V gull wing hull design with stabilising and wave deflecting chines that run full length from the stem to stern. These broad spray chines also provide additional lift for faster onto the plane acceleration even when fully loaded and enhance overall performance, give better fuel economy and aid stability whether at rest or at speed. They also mitigate the danger of chine walking often associated with other fast planing hulls.
Carsons were the first ribs to have the inflatable tubes lifted well clear of the waterline. Unlike many other brands all Carson hulls are inherently stable and bouyant. Having the tubes clear of the water reduces drag, mitigates potential damage from debris and weed fouling and gives increased freeboard even when fully loaded. Tubes are offered with optional foam filling for better reliability and can be hypalon or welded polyurethane (PU), another Carson first since the 1980s. Mechanically attached tubes on all models provides maximum reliability, lower maintenance and easier repair or replacement when needed. All this means lower ownership costs. Carsons were the first ribs to incorporate as standard the square bullnose bow feature. This further deflects spray and provides massive reserve buoyancy in more extreme conditions as well as offering useful additional forward deck space for working and over the bow boarding of personnel and equipment. It is also a useful asset for pushing against other vessels and holding on against ladders, etc. for crew transfer. All very desirable attributes. The end result means a more useable, cost effective and practical boat for a given hull length.
The latest designs have semi wave piercing bows and longer waterlines for more speed with a given horsepower and a smoother shock mitigating ride. The bow is designed to slice through chop and moderate waves yet still has the reserve buoyancy to lift in more extreme conditions then acting more like a conventional bow. First developed in early 1980s Carson designs this latest range substantially enhances the ride comfort, performance and safety.
Some models have multiple hull steps that improve overall performance and are of a unique configuration. Unlike normal steps these are specially developed to avoid the twitchy handling that some other stepped hull designs can have. Another Carson first. These provide a smooth straight keel line to enhance handling, particularly in fast sharp turns. They also reduce interference of waterflow at the keel to provide extra directional grip and even the use of a waterjet, something not normally possible with stepped hulls. Due to their unique shape they also improve reverse handling and tight manoeuvring. Combined, all these features will give a smoother more stable ride in all conditions with improved fuel economy. Further benefits of this configuration mean easier launching from trailers and beaching operations compared to other stepped hulls.
All models are available with various deck layout options and roomy consoles that enable each boat to be to customised as required for various operations. On larger models the optional big consoles have generous proportions to allow plenty of room for instruments, etc. and good crew and cockpit protection. They may also be positioned offset allowing spacious and easier movement to the foredeck. It may also be positioned centrally for those who prefer a more traditional layout. Within the larger consoles there is room to fit sleeping berths, toilet and even basic cooking facilities. Other consoles and various seating arrangements are also offered. Customised wheelhouses and cabins are available for all models.
Optional long range fuel tanks below decks give a cruising range of over 1,000 miles and potentially double that for some of the new largest models which is of great benefit when operating in more remote regions where fuel resupply is less convenient. With added bimini tops, side screens, cockpit covers or wheelhouses these larger Carsons can stay on operations for extended periods when required. This makes them a very viable and cost effective solution to the increasing need for border control, security and other operations.
Power for all models may be either outboards, inboards, diesel or petrol, singles or twins and for the larger designs triple and quadruple engines are an option. Various drives are possible including waterjet. Depending on power, speeds of 65+ knots are available but these designs are equally suitable for lower speed operations.
A few Carsons have experienced success in endurance events and racing. A standard Carson 750 took 1st place overall in the first ever RIB race held in Britain. This was the Round Scotland RIB Race in 1990 and was crewed by an MOD Marine Police Team averaging over 50kts during the week long event. A record that was held for several years. Other Carsons have successfully circumnavigated Ireland with only two crew, held the Cross Channel Dover to Boulonge Record and many other outstanding and long range endurance achievements. Others have been built for more leisurely use including cabin variations for private cruising and expeditions. One 7.5m stepped hull model with a cabin built in the mid 1990s, named Quickstep, has made a couple of voyages crossing the North Sea from the Orkneys to Norway then up to beyond the Arctic Circle and even wintered there with the crew living onboard. This boat is still giving good service more than twenty years after being built.