The image most people have of a Marine Corps amphibious landing is of the big and powerful AAV- 7 amphibious tractors and Landing Craft
Air Cushions plowing through the surf to deposit
Marines and their heavy equipment and vehicles on
But long before those large transports stream in from
amphibious ships, small numbers of Marines probably
have reached the landing beach in flimsy-looking,
black inflatable boats that barely keep their passengers
above the churning surf.
Those boats are called Combat Rubber Raiding
Craft, and since 2006 they are the only small craft
the Marines have for operations in the shallow littoral
waters around the world.
“The Marine Corps’ small boat operational capability
is the Combat Rubber Raiding Craft, the CRRC,” said
Master Sgt. Joseph Dobson, the reconnaissance capabilities integration specialist at the Fires and Maneuver
Integration Division in the Combat Development and
The CRRCs are employed operationally primar-
ily by Marine Reconnaissance Battalions, Marine
Corps Forces Special Operations Command and the
Okinawa, Japan-based 31st Marine
Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Dob-
They are used “to conduct clandestine amphibious reconnaissance
and overt small boat maneuver
missions,” he told Seapower.
Those missions are usually done
CRRCs also are used by some
special radio units and by the bridging companies in Marine engineer
battalions, Dobson said.
The largest number of CRRCs
are in the Expeditionary Training
Dobson and Colbert both have served in recon and
Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command units.
CRRCs, or similar inflatable boats, are used by Navy
SEALs, other U.S. special operations forces, and by a
number of allied and partner nations.
The Marines’ F470 CRRCs are produced by the
Zodiac Corp., whose name has become virtually synonymous with rubber inflatable boats.
They are 15 feet, 5 inches long, and 6 feet, 3 inches
wide. They have eight inflatable cells — five in the
sidewalls, two in the floor beneath the gunwales and
a keel tube that runs the length of the boat and gives
it a “V” shape that improves directional stability and
The deck of the boat is composed of four interlocking aluminum plates, which are fixed to the “thrust
board” at the bow and the transom at the stern, to
provide rigidity to the craft.
The compartmented cells are somewhat isolated
by valves, so a puncture or tear in one cell would not
cause the craft to deflate and sink.
Reaching the Beach
Combat Rubber Raiding Craft quietly
carry recon Marines, Special Forces ashore
By OTTO KREISHER, Special Correspondent
Keeping a Low Profile
The Marine Corps’ small boat operational capability lies with the
Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC).
n The Corps’ F470 CRRCs, produced by the Zodiac Corp., are
15 feet, 5 inches long, and 6 feet, 3 inches wide.
n A CRRC, built to be very quiet and low profile, normally carries
eight Marines — six raiders to conduct the mission ashore and the
coxswain and assistant coxswain to operate the boat.
n Properly loaded, the CRRC has an operational range of 15 to
25 nautical miles.