UNDERSTANDING REPAIRING INFLATABLE BOATS
Repairing an inflatable boat might cost you a bomb if you are not careful. In your business have you not had prospective clients decide not to use your service to save money, only to have a laugh at their expense when their home solution turns in to disaster and they pay a lot more for you to sort the mess out than it would; if you had dealt with it from the beginning. Well it is the same for repairs on inflatable boats and RIBs.nless you know the solution don’t try do it yourself, particularly if it is an expensive inflatable boat. It will cost you.
Most important is to remember that the integrity of air chambers in inflatable boats is a big safety concern. If your inflatable boat does not hold air you are putting yourself and your family at risk.
Inflatable boats (inflatable tenders, RIBs, ) are made from different fabrics ( for example hypalon, PVC or PU) using different procedures (examples glueing and welding). When repairing you need to know the fabric used in making the inflatable boat, so that you know what glue you need to use. For the different materials and different glues you then need to know what procedures are to be used. In most repairs of inflatable boats the procedures are most important. If you have all the correct materials and glues and you do not apply the correct procedure the repair will fail.
Another big factor is the nature of the repair to be done on the inflatable boat. If it is merely a hole on a surface of the fabric of the inflatable boat’ this is the simplest of repairs and one can be tempted to try to repair. Great care needs to taken in following the required procedures to do the patching of the hole in the inflatable boat otherwise the patch will come off.
If the repair on the inflatable boat is more complicated, for instance the inflatable boat is leaking on a seam or join , unless you have training on repairing inflatable boats don’t touch it. The leak might not even be where the air is coming out. The seam on the inflatable boat will probably need to be opened to repair. If you don’t know what you are doing with a seam you can cause a lot of damage to your inflatable boat with big cost implications.
Unless it is a simple repair on the inflatable boat you are better off consulting an inflatable boat specialist and have them do the repair. As mentioned before the integrity of the air chambers on an inflatable are of paramount importance and issues relating to safety cannot be compromised.
Mike Orsmond – RIB Force Inflatables – “We know inflatables”