Northern Rib Hire was formed to run in partnership with Hovercraft Services Ltd. Hovercraft Services Ltd was formed in 2006 with one Osprey 5 Hovercraft.

This Hovercraft was Chartered by Carillion Rail in April of 2006 to provide safety cover for the award winning Leven Viaduct deck replacement project.

The viaduct is on the Leven Estuary in Cumbria, and as such, is in an intertidal area. The hovercraft provided a valuable asset. 2 months into the project, Carillon requested that a rib be on site to back up the hovercraft during high winds (which can restrict hovercraft operations). Hovercraft Services continued on the project until its completion in October 2006.


Since this initial contract, Hovercraft Services Ltd has gone from strength to strength, with a varied selection of ribs both open and cabin from 4m to 12.5m, small survey / dive catamarans 10m and 12 m.

Our Skippers are trained to a minimum of RYA advanced power with a commercial endorsement; the majority of our skippers have Yachtmaster power commercially endorsed.

In 2011, Hovercraft Services Ltd moved from a rental unit into a new purpose built 300sq foot workshop, come storage facility, and to accommodate our expansion, another unit next door but one was purchased in April 2015. This is now our main storage facility whilst the original unit will be workshop and storage.


Northern Rib Hire can transport any of their vessels by road using either our fleet of Hi Lux vehicles fitted with Tachographs to be compliant with VOSA regulations for towing, or for the bigger vessels we have our own artic trailer for the cabin ribs and Cheetah catamaran ensuring swift delivery to any part of the UK within 24 hours!