Inflatable Boats FAQ

Q: What Are Inflatable Boats Made Of?

A: Inflatable boats can be broken into two categories: rigid inflatable boats and regular inflatable boats – there is a slight difference in how they're made and from what they are made. Rigid inflatable boats are made of a rigid frame usually made of fiberglass or plastic that forms a hull shaped like a "V" for better maneuverability as well as inflatable air bladders that consist of several layers of water-proof fabric melded together into a multi-ply substrate. While compounds and polymers are being developed regularly for improved marine technology, plastic and fiberglass are the most common elements of inflatable boats.

Q: Are Inflatable Boats Safe? Can't They Pop?

Because inflatable boats are made of a thick, multi-ply material it is infrequent that even with direct contact against rocks that the material with either tear or pop. It is entirely possible that a forcible enough impact could puncture the material, the leak will usually take time to deflate the boat giving the passengers time to get to shore. Minus over-inflation, there have been no reports of inflatable boats popping while being used. When compared to many hard-shell boats such as plastic kayaks, inflatable boats are extremely safe and a tremendous amount of fun.

Q: How Do I Find Out the Brand of A Used Boat?

Generally, inflatable boats have some kind of logo or decal on their side or on the inside. If you don't find one of those, every boat should have an ID imprint or plate which will tell you (in code) the brand, serial number, dimensions, capacity and sometimes manufacturer contact information. You can usually find the plate or marking on the back of the boat. Upon ascertaining at least the manufacturer if you still have difficulty in identifying the brand of boat, as is the case with some older models, write directly to the company and someone will be able to help identify the vessel for you.

Q: How Do I Find a Leak in My Boat?

As advanced as screening techniques get for finding pin-point holes in car tires, the old tried and true methods still remain the best for finding leaks in inflatable rubber or composite materials. You can kill two birds with one stone by mixing up a soapy solution and filling your inflatable boat to the appropriate PSI. Gently apply a layer of soapy water to every inch of your boat and wait to see if you can spot bubbles appearing anywhere on the inflatable bladders. If you see bubbles, air is effectively making its way out and you need to get the hole patched or plugged. If you see no bubbles it means that your craft is airtight and that you can board it in safe conscience. If you find that your boat is losing air over time but you have not seen any bubbles when testing using this method, there are repair centers available that can offer a second test and professional second opinion.

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