If you own an inflatable boat, you may be asking yourself the question Can I leave my inflatable boat in the water all the time? This could be important to know if you have an inflatable boat you only use part of the year and don’t want to store it for long periods of time. In this article, we explore why it’s important to keep your inflatable boat out of the water, and how to do it safely.
So the question is “Is it ok to leave an inflatable boat in the water?” And the short answer is “No”
Inflatable boats are made of PVC plastic and, unlike hard-hulled fiberglass boats, they do not contain UV inhibitors. This means that even if you’re careful about scrubbing down your boat after each use, and take great care to store it properly when you’re not using it, direct sunlight can break down your boat’s integrity over time. Also, despite what many boaters may think, all inflatables do not have a hole for a drain plug—which means standing water does little to help your boat dry out. It also leaves bacteria at risk of growing inside of your vessel due to its close contact with raw sewage from inland waters—not ideal for those who go cruising near marinas or ports where waste is flushed into deeper waters. And finally: Drydocks cost money.
Why does it matter?
Boats are expensive and any ding or scratch on your hull diminishes its value. Does that mean you should always remove your boat from the water when you’re not using it? Maybe not. There are a few variables to consider before you make a decision one way or another: How much does your boating hobby cost each year? If you have multiple boats, what is their total combined value (including accessories, trailers, etc.)? What is their current market value if you wanted to sell them all today? Are there two-for-one deals on storage units at your marina if you need space for more than one vessel during off season? Is your marina convenient for launching and retrieval of vessels, both large and small? And so on...
How do I keep my inflatable safe on land when I have no place to store it?
Inflatable boats are much easier to store than many other types of vessels. The boats fold down into very compact shapes, making them easy to store even if you don't have much space available. While leaving your inflatable out in a yard is probably safe, and will definitely keep it safe from theft, there are a couple issues you may encounter with outdoor storage. For example, most outside elements can damage your boat's material or otherwise cause problems for its functionality. Additionally, some people may be deterred by having such a large object on display; however, with practice you can learn how to tuck your vessel away so that only those who need to know where it is will find it.
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If you have any damage to your inflatable, call a repair shop. Some boats can be repaired easily by owners, while others need to be completely replaced. If you have one of these boats, take it into a repair shop and explain what happened. They'll let you know whether or not your product is salvageable and what steps you need to take next. Whatever you do, don't continue using your damaged product until you know for sure that its been fixed or replaced. Inflatable products are built with air filled chambers so if there's been damage of any kind then those sections can puncture or deflate on their own.
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