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12 ways to make your inflatable boat last longer

12 ways to make your inflatable boat last longer

white ford with inflatable rigid hull boat in trailer launching into river side view

Cruising on your inflatable boat is all about good times and carefree moments on the water. But, hey, to keep that vibe going, a bit of maintenance goes a long way. 

 In this blog, we’re not talking about some fancy boat spa treatment – just a few simple steps to ensure your boat stays ship-shape for those impromptu adventures.

Choose good quality inflatable boat materials

Select premium materials for the longevity and performance of your inflatable boat. Prioritize models crafted from top-tier materials like Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) or Hypalon, which offer exceptional durability, resilience against UV rays, and the ability to endure diverse environmental conditions. 

Clean your inflatable boat regularly

Substances like suntan oil, beverages, and fuel can induce chemical reactions that may compromise the boat’s structural integrity if not cleaned and treated regularly.

Clean and dry your boat regularly to maintain its appearance and prevent long-term damage. Thoroughly dry the boat before storage to prevent potential mold buildup. Even if you plan to put the boat back in the water promptly, drying allows for a quick visual inspection to identify potential issues. 

Watch what you clean your inflatable boat with

Dust, sand, and seagull droppings pose an unexpected risk to the longevity of an inflatable boat, as people often resort to cleaning them with whatever is readily available. 

However, using harsh chemicals such as kitchen cleaners containing carbolic acid can potentially harm the boat’s surface rather than benefit it. A wash-down with a suitable inflatable boat cleaner is sufficient if the dirt and debris are minimal.

Inflatable material care is crucial, and depending on the material of the inflatable, owners should utilize water-based protectant solutions to preserve its integrity. 

It’s essential to remember that excessive scrubbing may contribute to wear and tear on the inflatable boat’s surface.

Inflate and deflate your inflatable boat properly.

Correct and mindful inflation and deflation are crucial for ensuring the longevity of your boat. 

Overinflating places excessive strain on seams and fabric, while underinflating can result in poor performance and potential damage. Over-inflating the boat can lead to significant damage, so inflate it flexibly. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines for inflation pressure and utilize a reliable pump with pressure gauges for accurate inflation. 

When deflating, take your time and use a pump to release air gradually, avoiding the use of sharp objects that may cause accidental punctures. 

Keep your inflatable boat away from sharp objects

Sharp objects pose a clear and significant threat to inflatable boats. Leaving oars, knives, ropes, and fish hooks in contact with the boat’s material can lead to abrasion and eventual damage. 

It’s challenging to completely avoid sharp objects, especially at docks with protruding wood or barnacles and beaches with shells and rocks that can tear the boat’s material. Therefore, it’s crucial to exercise extra caution and take measures to minimize the risk to the boat, such as careful storage and navigation in areas with potential hazards.

Focus on inflatable boat hull maintenance

Owners who store their vessels in the water should pay close attention to the hull maintenance. Regular inspection and treatment of the hull are more feasible for those who store their boats out of the water. 

Owners should apply wax to the bottom of a fiberglass boat and treat it with the same care as a larger vessel. This proactive approach prevents the buildup of microorganisms and facilitates easier hull cleaning over time.

Focus on the inflatable boat outboard motor

Establishing a regular maintenance schedule is the most effective way to care for a motor. Refer to the owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with the factory recommendations and adhere to them diligently. 

Motors are costly components to replace, and many issues can be entirely avoidable through proper maintenance. While it may be a commonly repeated advice, its significance cannot be overstated. 

Inspect and repair your inflatable boat after every use

As previously mentioned, damage to a PVC boat resulting from improper operation may not manifest immediately. Therefore, it is essential to meticulously inspect the vessel after each trip to identify any scuffs, scratches, or punctures and repair the same. 

In the event of a puncture, having a repair kit on hand is crucial; these kits are typically provided with the boat. A repair kit can address a hole or abrasion on the spot, allowing for continued use, such as fishing on the same day. 

Hire a professional for inflatable boat repairs

While proper cleaning, storage, and routine checks can enhance the longevity of your boating experience, accidents can still occur, necessitating repairs. 

In the event of damage, some individuals may attempt to repair inflatable dinghies independently, thinking a simple patch will suffice. However, when dealing with high-quality materials and any motorized vehicle, including inflatable boats, the safest course of action is to enlist the services of a professional. 

Professional repair services have the expertise and experience to ensure thorough and reliable repairs, maintaining the safety and integrity of the inflatable boat for continued use. Even with professional repairs, no boat can last indefinitely. Maintenance needs may eventually transition into replacement requirements, prompting the search for a new inflatable boat. 

Store your inflatable boat properly

Given that many boat owners don’t use their boats year-round, whether due to seasonal changes or periods of inactivity, it’s essential to ensure ideal storage conditions. Proper storage is crucial for preserving the integrity of your inflatable boat. 

When the craft is not in use, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can weaken the fabric and result in deterioration. Store the boat indoors or use a boat cover to shield it from the elements if possible. 

The optimal boat storage environment is dark and dry, helping to prevent the degrading effects of UV exposure and inhibit mold growth. While Hypalon has UV-resistant properties, storing the boat in a dark space provides an extra layer of protection.

Additionally, it’s important to avoid tightly folding the boat for extended periods, as this can create creases leading to material fatigue.

Cover your inflatable boat while storing

When owners regularly use their RIB, it’s advisable to cover it after cleaning and drying. This practice shields the vessel from environmental elements such as birds and the sun’s UV rays and ensures the watercraft is ready for a new adventure without additional cleaning. 

In cases where the vessel is tender or trailered and cannot be kept undercover, obtaining a custom-made quality cover is crucial. Custom covers prevent water pooling and ensure proper protection against the sun/UV and various weather conditions, preserving the integrity and appearance of the vessel.

Invest in a durable, high quality inflatable boat

At Stryker Boats, we take pride in offering premium inflatable boats that have been trusted by passionate adventurers and professionals for many years. 

Our boats are designed to ensure safety and reliability during any boating adventure, regardless of the weather conditions. With unique capabilities and valuable accessories, our inflatable boats are built to the most elevated quality standards, ensuring durability and peace of mind.

If you’re ready to create priceless memories on the water, we invite you to explore our wide range of inflatable boats to find the perfect fit for your requirements:

For more information about Stryker Boats and our offerings, don’t hesitate to contact us online or through our email at hello@strykerboats.com. You can also connect with us on social media for updates and insights

So, there you have it – a guide to keeping your inflatable boat in the game. No need for a captain’s hat or a marine biology degree, just a few practical steps to keep things smooth. 

Whether you’re chilling on the lake or heading for the waves, a little maintenance now means a lot more fun later. So, let’s make sure your boat stays as cool as your next water outing – easy, breezy, and ready for whatever comes its way.

Learn more about the best practices for maintaining your inflatable boats.