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Product Knowledge / How to Repair Inflatable Boats

[2/16/2013]

How to Repair Inflatable Boats

Sustaining a gash on an inflatable boat need not be the end of your boat.  Using a fine needle and a strong polyester thread you can use a baseball stitch to close the slash. The repair does not end there though. You need to patch the stitched slash. Since repair kits normally contain small patches only you might have to source for a bigger patch that matches your boat's fabric from major boat distributors. You need to have at least 2 layers of patching materials for permanent repairs.


Most professional repair shops do not stitching but proceed with patching the tube from the inside. This works fine but not every boat enthusiast has the tenacity and the talent to do this.  The use of glue may just be too much for stubby fingers that it is best if you leave the interior gluing to skilled repairmen. However if you think you are adept in using glue for major repairs, why not?


Note though that not all glues are created equal and therefore not all glues will work on inflatable boats.  There are two types of glues: single-part glue and two-part glue.


One-part Glue is the "glue" itself. It is not as strong as two-part glues but it has its advantages. It is cheaper, easier to use and has a longer shelf life. This type of glue can be used for both Hypalon and PVC boats. Generally known as contact adhesive notable brands are Elmer's, Barge Cement, Dura-Bond these and other marine contact glues are available in most marine supply shops.


Two-part Glue cures with the use of a catalytic agent. A kit comes with two tubes- one contains the glue while the other contains the catalytic agent. Two-part glues are stronger but aside from being expensive it is not as easy to use and has a shorter shelf life.


It is a must to select the type and brand of glue most appropriate for your boat.  For two-part glues, here is a general guideline on application.

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