Ribeira Brava

With the Atlantic Ocean at our feet and a light salty breeze in your face we go out with our cosy tradicional vessel to wherever our spotter guides us. “Ribeira Brava” is a tradicional wooden fisher boat lovingly restored till the details. This old school ‘masterpiece’ is now the only boat in Madeira equiped with an original sail, since most of these traditional boats have been destroyed and no longer exist.

Tour Details

Our tradicional fishing boat has place for
16 people & 4 Crew Members.

Tour Specifications:

90,1 % Success of the trips
2.5 – 3 hour tour
Can stand & walk
Toilet under deck
Comfortable tour
Traditional boat
English & German speaking guide

Please, check our booking conditions below:


44€ Adults
22€ Children
(from 2 – 15 years . under 2 years free)

Daily tours:

Jun – Sep:
9.00am . 1.30pm . 5.00pm

Oct – May:
10.00am . 2.30pm*
*closed on Sundays

Tecnical Specifications

The Ribeira Brava is 12 meters (39’4”) long,
4 meters (13’1”) wide and has a draft
of approx. 1.2 meters (3’11”).

With a full tank containing
2,000 litres of fuel,
the boat weighs 15 tons.

It is propelled by
a 211 HP Scania diesel engine,
and has a maximum speed of 12 knots.
Depending on speed and weather
conditions, she uses 20 to 40 litres
of fuel/hour.

Before Coming on Board


Safety on board

Due to its traditional structure, the Ribeira Brava lies very safe in the water, glides smoothly through the waves, and you feel that it was built for these waters. This boat is extremely well suited for the observation of shy marine mammals. The low-lying deck allows the passengers to experience whales and dolphins in a close, personal way. The boat can carry 16 passengers. There are enough life jackets on board, among them several for children and babies.

There is a life raft for 20 persons on the boat and all other required safety equipment (signal rockets, anchors, ropes, fire extinguishers, bilge pumps, etc.).

Ribeira Brava also has an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), which ensures that the boat can be located instantly at all times with satellites. Every year, the boat undergoes inspections on land and water by the maritime administration of Funchal.


Weather Conditions

The weather in Madeira is something very special, and difficult for outsiders to judge. On the very same day, you may experience all four seasons. Our work is directly dependent on weather, for which reason we always consult different weather forecasts before each trip. Sometimes, however, the weather or the sea changes rapidly, and turns out different from the forecasts.

It’s for this reason that we have to cancel bookings sometimes with short notice. We always do our best to make a responsible decision and have the best interests of our guests in mind. Please remember:

– we are not on holiday, and earn our living with the sea trips;
– we are seaworthy;
– we have encounters with whales and dolphins almost every day;
– we are responsible for you on board and at sea.


The Story of a small fishing boat

The Story of a small fishing boat In September 1964, the construction of the Ribeira Brava, a fishing boat was completed in Machico. Initially, it was used to catch tuna and cutlassfish in Calheta and was later also used in Câmara de Lobos. In 2000, after 36 years of service, the decision was made to scrap her. It was at that point that a Madeiran, Rafael Gomes intervened. He was determined to save the Ribeira Brava that he had known from his childhood from certain destruction. At that time, the Ribeira Brava was already one of the last ‘chavelhas’in existence in Madeira.

Rafael first decided to purchase the wooden boat more for sentimental reasons than for business. With the boat’s painstaking reconstruction, however, he not only saved an old boat from the scrap-yard, but also helped preserve the traditional knowledge about the construction of these boats and the related history of an old fishing culture.

The trapezoid-shaped sails of these boats, which 50 years ago graced the scenery of Madeira’s ports and coastal waters have all but disappeared by now. This leaves the Ribeira Brava as the only boat in Madeira equipped with an original sail. The boat has also retained its original name since 1964.

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