The repair kit is a thing, which should always be with you, when you go boating. The most necessary things are:
• An assortment of patches of different sizes – normally you get some from a boat complete set and some from your dealer or distributor. 10-15 different patches are enough. Be sure that the patches you have are made of the same material as your boat (PVC or HYPALON)
• A two-component glue (100ml set), which is appropriate to the type of the boat fabric you have: PVC or HYPALON. Check if the volumes with ingredients are full and closed tight. Read and understand the instructions how to use it
• A small polyethylene cap (appr. 50ml) for preparing a glue mixture
• 1-2 middle-size acid brushes
• Small scissors, a knife or razor blades
• Waterproof sandpaper and masking tape
All these things are very easy to get, just do not forget it!
The damage of inflation valves is one of the most typical defects. Problems can be different: the calve cap lost, air leakage through inlet opening, air leakage between the valve body and tube fabric. In most cases the only way out is to change or reinstall the valve. You can do it at a service station or by yourself (in this case you need a especial tool for valve replacement).
To dismantle the valve you must:
• STEP 1. Deflate the boat
• STEP 2. Squeeze the valve nut through the tube fabric by hand or by any mechanical means (something like vice) gently, without damaging the tube material
• STEP 3. Insert the valve tool and screw out the valve body from the valve nut (the nut stays inside the tube) After dismantling inspect the condition of the valve for damages, cracks, deformations. As a rule it’s better to take a new one for exchange
To install the valve :
• STEP 1. Insert the valve nut inside the tube, or use the old one if it’s in a good condition – just clean it
• STEP 2. Put some marine sealant onto the valve treads and the surface, which contacts the fabric
• STEP 3. Screw up the valve body to the valve nut by hand, and tighten it then by means of a valve tool hard, holding the valve nut through the fabric (same as when dismantling)
• STEP 4. Leave the valve for a 24-hour sealant cure
• STEP 5. Check the air tightness with the soapy water.
Air Leakage is of the problems of all inflatable boats. The air pressure gives strength and safety to your boat, and to loose it means to loose everything. You have to know:
THERE’S NO INFLATABLE BOAT IN THE WORLD WHICH IS 100% AIRTIGHT ! EVERY BOAT IS LEAKING, AND THE ONLY QUESTION IS HOW MUCH!
How to recognize that your boat is leaking:
• IN CASE THE PRESSURE LOSS IS LESS THAN 20% PER 24 HOURS – THE BOAT IS OK, IT’S ACCEPTABLE
Such boat can stay without inflation for 3-5 days.
• IN CASE THE PRESSURE LOSS IS MORE THAN 20% PER 24 HOURS – LOOK FOR LEAKAGE
Such boat becomes soft much quicker – in 1-2 days.
Till now the best and most effective way to find the leakage is soapy water.
• STEP 1. Prepare the mixture: take 50% of liquid soap and 50% of water and mix them
• STEP 2. Inflate the boat hard till maximum pressure allowed
• STEP 3. Paint the mixture rich over all the places to be checked
In case there’s a leak you will see it immediately: there will be columns of tiny air bubbles
Very often the leak source is very small and it’s a real problem to find it. Use the following scheme for search:
Here are some words about glues in general. First of all the glue you are going to use should be recommended for inflatable boats repairs. You can get it either from an inflatable boats Dealer, Distributor, or from any marine shop.
Depending on the type of the fabric your boat is made of you will need glue for PVC or for HYPALON. They are different. So, choose the right one for your boat and always check it in the glue description before you buy it.
Glue can be one-component or two-component. What is the difference?
One-component glues are mainly for a very common use. They are easier in use than the two-component ones. But the strength of one-component glue joints is not high, especially when the weather is hot.
Two-component glues have the second component, called “hardener”. This ingredient stimulates the polymerization of glue, which sufficiently increases the strength and temperature stability of joints.
In this connection the recommendations are:
– One-component glue is applicable for very easy and momentary repairs, when you have no possibility to repair the damage with two-component glue.
– Two-component glue is a preferable one in any case – use it as the main one!
The technology of glue application in case of repair is quite easy:
• STEP 1. Locate the place of repair and choose or cut out the proper patch
• STEP 2. Prepare the glue mixture: add the exact quantity of a hardener to the glue and mix them hard. The ratio of a hardener is always mentioned in your glue application instructions. In general the hardener ratio is about 4 – 5%: 4 – 5 parts of a hardener to 100 parts of a glue. Use the mixture within 1 hour maximum as it cures quickly
• STEP 3. Bound the gluing area on the boat with the masking tape in order to minimize the glue excess
• STEP 4. Carefully clean and dry both surfaces to be glued. In case you have a HYPALON boat it’s absolutely necessary to rough the fabric and the patch with sandpaper to make the surfaces 100% mat (for PVC it’s not necessary)
• STEP 5. Apply the first thin layer of a ready mixture on both surfaces and dry them for 20-25 minutes
• STEP 6. Apply the second thin layer of ready mixture on both surfaces and dry them until it is tack-free (about 5 minutes)
• STEP 7. Take off the masking tape, put the patch onto the previously marked place and press it
• STEP 8. Place the ready joint onto any flat and hard surface and press the joint AS HARD AS POSSIBLE using a metal roller or any other hard round thing (a glass bottle, scissors rings etc.)
• STEP 9. Leave the ready joint to cure for 2 days without move before you inflate the boat
In case of an emergency repair leave it for 2 hours without move at least, and then inflate the boat till the pressure is less than nominal. In 2 hours the seam reaches about 70% of strength, which can be satisfactory to reach the place of destination driving with care.