How to repair inflatable boat: main problems and solutions

  1. Inflatable boat repair materials and tools
  2. General tips of inflatable boat repairing
  3. Inflatable boat repair instructions
    1. Repair of large punctures for inflatable boat
    2. How to repair inflatable boat water leaking
  4. Inflatable boat repairing tips

Even the most quality and durable boat can require repairs. Eventually, almost any boater can face such a problem. Among the main types of damage are punctures, cuts, ragged holes and water leaks.

Inflatable boat repair materials and tools

In most cases, a boat can be restored by own strength. PVC or hypalon / neoprene are well repairable. To fix the boat, you will need the following tools:

  • patches;
  • high-quality glue;
  • scissors or knife;
  • solvent;
  • roller (metal or plastic);
  • hair dryer;
  • pen or marker and brush;
  • soapy solution / lather.

Of course, in most cases these tools are available on land. However, every experienced person always has a minimal repair kit and a lighter in the package.

General tips of inflatable boat repairing

Any type of work should begin with preparation:

  • the damaged boat must be deflated;
  • it should be well washed and dried;
  • clean and degrease the damaged surface.

Proceed only after these actions. It will ensure a reliable and high-quality repair of the watercraft.

The difference in the repair of polyurethane, hypalon and PVC boats. The main difference is that the surface from the hypalon should be sanded before cleaning and the use of the solvent. It helps to reveal the fleecy structure of the material and achieve better adhesion of the surface and glue.

Inflatable boat repair instructions

Many owners are interested in how to repair a hole in an inflatable boat. What should you do to fix a small puncture?

  1. Cut the oval or round patch. Remember that its length should be 1.5-2 inches larger than the diameter of the slit or cut.
  2. Clean the surfaces. Use a solvent to degrease the patch and the puncture site.
  3. Apply the patch to the damaged area, circle it with the marker or pen.
  4. Apply glue evenly to the surfaces with a brush and wait until it dries.
  5. After 15-20 minutes, apply the second layer of adhesive and wait 5-10 minutes.
  6. Lightly heat the area to be restored using a hairdryer or lighters. It activates the glue molecules and helps to achieve the best result.
  7. Add the patch to the puncture and firmly press it.
  8. Roll the place of gluing with a solid roller to remove any air bubbles.
  9. Lightly inflate the boat and allow the glued area to dry out.

This method works well with repairing a small hole in inflatable boat.

Repair of large punctures for inflatable boat

Large sized punctures and damage are difficult to stick neatly. Therefore, the edges of the cut before gluing should be sewed together by a strong nylon thread using the herringbone pattern. Repair of inflatable boat with large punctures practically does not differ from the previous procedure. The only difference is that not only outside but also inside patches should be applied.

After you have sewn the damaged edges together, you can proceed to the gluing stage. See the inflatable boat repairing steps mentioned above.

TIP. To achieve maximum strength and reliability, two patches can be glued to the surface. In this case, the size of the first patch should be less than the size of the second one.

How to repair inflatable boat water leaking

The main problem is to determine the leakage location. You can face the situations when there are no visible gaps or they are too small and not visible with the naked eye. Try to paint the supposed puncture site with soapy lather to determine the inflatable boat water leaking. Then push it and you will see bubbles in these places. If you do not have a soapy solution on hand, you can pour water on the boat - you will also see the appearance of air bubbles in the damaged areas.

After detecting a leakage, mark this place with marker or pen. Deflate boat and dry it thoroughly. Only after the boat has dried, you will be able to continue. The procedure is similar to the method of restoring small punctures.

Inflatable boat repairing tips

  • All works should be carried out in a well-ventilated place. The optimum temperature is 60-75 degrees F.
  • Apply gluing on a flat surface. Place a floorboard or any other board under the damaged area.
  • Do not clean the PVC or PU surface with sandpaper! It will damage the material and aggravate the situation.
  • The time of drying and re-application of the adhesive to the surfaces may vary. It depends on the ambient temperature, humidity, quality and time of storage of the glue itself. To ensure its readiness check the adhesives condition – it is ready when sticking to the fingers a little.
  • The time of inflatable boat gluing and drying varies from a few hours to several days. You can find the exact information on the label.
  • You can use the painter's tape to avoid getting the glue on the surrounding areas.
  • Do not use open flames to heat up the materials to be glued. It helps to avoid the damage of the material and ignition.

If you carefully use the boat, it will last a long time. By following the inflatable boat repair recommendations from Beluga Boats team, you can easily fix your watercraft and continue enjoying fishing or a great pastime on the water.

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