Inflatable Boat Repair

From Small Leaks to Large Holes---You Can Repair Them All!

Inflatable boats, while having many advantages over their traditional counterparts, have the disadvantage of having to be repaired after long-term use. The fabric used to make these boats can wear thin and tear easily after a long period of time. Luckily, there are easy-to-use repair kits available at most locations that deal in inflatable products.

There are simple patch kits available on the market.  These kits include a cleaning solution, a small piece of material that you can use as a patch, and a bonding agent that will hold the patch in place. First you need to clean the area around the hole with the cleaning solution. Then you should fit the piece of material over the hole and cut off whatever amount will not be needed. When doing this step, make sure that you leave enough material to ensure that the edges are large enough so that an adequate amount of the bonding agent can stick to it. You then apply the bonding agent around the hole and press the patch into place. You should let the bonding agent set up before you place the boat in water. As the time it takes for a bonding agent to set may vary, you will want to check the instructions on the kit to avoid getting the patch wet too soon.

There are also sealant kits available to repair your inflatable boat. These kits are injected right inside your boat and plugs leaks and small holes from the inside (much like the popular Fix-A-Flat products do to your car tire). This repair kit should only be used on the smaller leaks and holes. It is not effective on larger holes and tears.

Seam-repair kits are most effective for large holes and tears, especially along the seams of your inflatable boats. You just pull the sides of the ripped seam together and apply the bonding compound over it. As it dries, the compound forms to make a new seam. Again, you need to read the instructions so that you do not introduce water to the area before it is set.

A more complex method to repair your boat is the PVC repair kit. This kit is used to repair your boat if it has PVC material in its design. It can be used to repair patches made onsite as well as larger holes. You will need to make sure that you have a cleaning agent. MEK (methyl ethyl ketone) is recommended. You will also need a Scotch Brite pad. The first thing that you need to do is to clean the area around the hole thoroughly and then use the pad to buff the area completely until it is totally smooth. You should then allow your boat to sit for a period of time to allow all the water vapor to evaporate and the dust from the buffing to settle.

Your repair kit should have two chemicals, glue and accelerator. Once your boat is dry, you should mix these two chemicals in proportions of 98% glue and 2% accelerator. You should then apply this mixture to the boat and to the patch that you are going to use. Let these stand for about fifteen minutes to allow them time to dry while you begin to boil water in a small pan. You then apply a second coat and put the patch into place. You place the pan of hot water on a small area of the patch to activate the glue, leaving it there for about two minutes. Then you move the pan to the next section of the patch and continue this until the whole area has been heat activated. This patch will be 80% cured in an hour which means that for onsite repairs, you can quickly get on your way. However, this is not recommended except in emergencies as you want to ensure that your patch job will last. It is best to leave the patch sit for approximately a week, at which point the glue will be cured 100%. 

The kind of repair kit that you will need depends upon the type of inflatable boat that you have and the kind of repair that needs to be done. Using the proper kit and following the instructions can ensure that your repairs will last and will help to lengthen the amount of time that you have to enjoy your inflatable boat.

See Also: Inflatable Boat Repairs

About The Author:
Cara Kelley is a successful author and regular contributor to