The fun of using an inflatable boat lies in how well you can take care of it. But, many people buy and use inflatable boats without understanding how to care for them. This poses a significant issue. Proper preservation is essential for maintaining the boat's intended functionality.
That's why the complete inflatable boat maintenance routine is shared in this article. Learn the steps to clean and maintain your boat. Find out why it’s important to do that so you can fully appreciate the whole process and the benefits a well-maintained boat offers.
Importance of Inflatable Boat Care and Maintenance
Why does an inflatable boat need care in the first place? After all, it’s specifically designed to work even when used in tough conditions. That’s correct, but they still need regular maintenance like any other type of boat. Here are a few reasons why:
Its material, such as PVC or Hypalon, is susceptible to degradation over time.
UV rays can seriously damage PVC and Hypalon.
Salt, brackish, and other water types can also damage the boat.
When properly maintained, it proves valuable in emergencies.
How Often Does It Need Maintenance?
This would depend on how often you use the inflatable boat. If you use it every weekend, you must perform basic maintenance every week. But you can clean and maintain it less frequently if you barely use it in a year. The frequency of maintenance for your boat type determines how often it should be performed.
Step-by-Step Guide to Inflatable Boat Maintenance
Here’s a step-by-step procedure you can follow to maintain your inflatable boat:
Apply Marine Grease or Lubricant
Regularly applying marine grease or lubricant is vital in maintaining an inflatable boat. Apply it to components and other moving parts of the boat. This will prevent corrosion on these parts and keep them running smoothly. Remove any debris before applying, and use a clean cloth.
The part and components you need to grease depends on the type of inflatable boat you have. Make sure to check the owner’s manual for specific instructions. For your reference, here are the common areas where you should apply grease:
Blocks: Typically, manufacturers construct the pulleys that raise or lower the sails from metal.
Mast Step: This mast part rests on the boat's deck.
Traveler: This horizontal bar runs across the boat's cockpit. It adjusts the position of the mainsail.
Cleats: Made of metal, these fasten the boat's lines securely.
Gooseneck: This is the joint connecting the boom to the mast.
Clean the Boat
Proper cleaning is the key to proper maintenance of any inflatable boat. You need to clean two main things: the water off the boat and the interior of the boat.
Clean Off Salt/Brackish Water
First, rinse the boat when you take it out of the water. This is to prevent any invasive species from staying in the hull. When operating in salt water, preventing salt crystals from forming on the boat’s exterior is essential. Salt crystals can eat through the boat's material, causing damage and leaks. Simply rinse the boat using fresh water from a hose to clean it. You can also use a pressure washer, but make sure not to use too much pressure and be careful around seems.
Clean the Interior
Occasionally clean the interior, especially if you use it for fishing. Don’t let fish blood and other debris build up inside. Start by removing all loose debris, then vacuum the floor and seats to clean any remaining ones. For tough stains from the blood, scrub it using a cleaning solution or mild soap. After cleaning, make sure to dry it thoroughly.
Practice Regular Inspection and Repair Promptly
Inflatable boats are indeed made durable and designed to withstand even the most intense waters. But things can happen whenever you use it. The best way to prevent even the smallest wear and tear from escalating into a bigger problem is to inspect your boat regularly before and after use.
Look for any signs of wear or damage, even a puncture or loose seams. Make sure to fix any issue promptly and properly. You can use the patch kit from the manufacturer to do this.
Inflate and Deflate Properly
Proper inflation and deflation of the boat are crucial for its longevity. Overinflating can strain the seams and fabric of the boat, while underinflating can result in poor performance and damage.
Make sure to check and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to inflation pressure. Always use a reliable pump with pressure gauges to ensure proper inflation. Make sure to use a pump when deflating to release the air in the boat gradually. Avoid using sharp objects when deflating since they can also puncture the boat accidentally.
Store It With Care
When the inflatable boat isn’t in use, the best thing to do is store it partially inflated. Storing a completely deflated baot is riskier, as it is more susceptible to damage. But if you only have space for a completely deflated boat, ensure it’s clean and dry before storing it.
Moreover, make sure to roll it and not fold it when storing. The folds can cause serious long-term damage to the boat’s material. Here are more reminders when storing your inflatable boat:
Store it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
Store it indoors or use a boat cover to protect it from the elements if possible.
Always store it inside its bag.
Don’t place it anywhere near sharp objects. Dull ones can cause abrasion on the material.
Proper inflatable boat maintenance is the only way to ensure you can use your boat for a long time. Now that you know all the most important tips and routines, you can feel more confident in caring for your watercraft. Whatever type of inflatable boat you have, regular cleaning and maintenance is never a bad idea.
If you want to upgrade your boat or get an extra, visit our inflatable boat collection. We offer all kinds of inflatables that you can use to have more fun in the water with your loved ones!