Care and Repair of Inflatable Kayak
Many people believe that an inflatable kayak, while hugely efficient and cost-effective might pose problems in maintenance and storage. The truth of the matter is, like anything you own, properly caring for your kayak would do you a whole world of good.
It would, of course, make your inflatable serve you longer. There are so many complicated things in life, and luckily, taking good care of your inflatable kayak is not one of them. It’s quite simple, as very little damage is likely to happen when you’re on the water, it’s a different ball game entirely on land though. A lot can happen from moving from one place to another, but ultimately, inflatable kayaks are very strong and flexible.
With proper care, you’re on your way to owning yours for a long time. So what does it take to take care of your kayak properly?
Protecting your kayak
A lot of high-quality kayaks have been built to resist strong UV rays from the sun, but even the most resistant inflatable kayak can only do so much in long-term use in resisting UV rays. Of course, long-term exposure to UV rays will weaken your kayak. You can protect your kayak, merely by spraying it with a protectant readily available at any inflatable kayak and boat stores. This would make your kayak last very long even under exposure to the sun. If your boat is not kept in the sun all day, you might not need to pray as much as you would need to if your kayak is out in the sun all day.
The majority of damages that may be done to an inflatable kayak happens while on land. The water really doesn’t pose as much threat as land does and for a good reason; from moving your kayak from one place to another to inflating and deflating. Your kayak can even be scratched and damaged while loading into your truck, so try as much as possible to avoid any sharp objects and dragging off the floor or dropping, if you can help it when transporting your kayak on land.
Keep your boat dry
When you’re done with using, thoroughly drying your kayak to remove any leftover water is very important to avoid growing mildew and mold; all of which can weaken the fabric of the inflatable kayak. You can easily do this by drying it out with towels after use. You don’t necessarily have to clean the boat immediately after each use, but it’s always better to make sure it’s completely dry before storing up where it will use days, weeks or months. A dry kayak would come out of storage in great condition while a wet stored kayak would most likely smell and be weakened.
Keeping the kayak clean
If you love your kayak, you shouldn’t be told to keep your kayak clean. The importance of keeping an inflatable kayak clean cannot be overestimated. A dirty kayak is more or less turning out to be a useless kayak because when they are dirty and grime, the efficiency of the boat will eventually be reduced by degrading the materials. There is not so much you can do about stains like oil, bird droppings, and others but thankfully, those only concern the aesthetics of the kayak and pose no long-term threats. To remove these stains, you can get a cleanser and restorer from nearby stores. If you had been kayaking in salt water, be sure to rinse with fresh water after use.
Storing the kayak
Do well to store your inflatable kayak in a cool and dry place that is not really affected by extreme temperatures and other harmful environmental factors. It would help if you also avoided keeping it in a place that is prone to rodent attacks. Don’t let rats or squirrels chew on your kayak; they can ruin it completely. As well, when you store in a cool and dry place, it protects your inflatable kayak from mold and mildew growth. If you don’t have space enough for it indoors, you can improvise outside by shielding it with a tarp or any other materials to protect it. A few things to have in mind when storing are;
Don’t store your kayak inflated
For your kayak, staying inflated over extended periods of time places an incredible strain on the valve and skin. Temperature variations may cause expansion in the air in the kayak which can ruin its internal septums.
Fold the kayak properly
Here, you need a little bit of creativity and an imaginative mind because it has been shown that folding your kayak up in identical ways every time you store it will eventually result in folds or seams on the kayak. These folds or seams may result eventually in weak points, that may be vulnerable to punctures on the kayak. Alternatively, you may want to keep in mind the way the kayak came in packaged from the store, as you might need to duplicate it.
Inflating your kayak
Pumping an inflatable kayak is a pretty straightforward procedure that, ordinarily, shouldn’t take up to six minutes. As easy as this seems, its so delicate that if done inappropriately, it can lead to a rupture and damage to your boat’s valves and septums. Inflating your kayak with a foot or hand pump guarantees very little chance of overinflating, unlike an electric pump that may end up popping your kayak. If you must use an electric pump, it’s always better to stop before it’s fully inflated then finish up with a hand pump. In any case, you should have it at the back of your mind when inflating that;
Cleaning the valve first is essential: Sand, dirt and any other dangerous element may cause rupture during inflation so its advisable to make sure the valve is thoroughly clean first.
Enough room to expand: Inflate your kayak in preferably, open space without any threat of sharp and dangerous objects that may puncture it.
Keep air pressure in check: Inflated kayak come with stipulated maximum air pressure that’s enough to get the kayak to optimal inflation. Overriding these stipulations can do much damage especially to the internal septums. Keep in mind when septums are damaged, it’s very difficult to repair. Most inflatable kayaks may come with air pumps, but if yours didn’t, getting one with a pressure gauge would be a great call.
Get the show on the road: After inflating, the next thing, if it can be controlled is to get on the water immediately because leaving the kayak in the sun will cause the air always in it to expand and may cause damage.
- Store in a cool and dry place
- If there’s leftover water in the kayak after drying, leave partially inflated for a few days to get the water out.
- Rodents can ruin your kayak- Completely- by chewing. Find a rodent-free zone in your space if you have rodent issues.
- Use a protectant to protect your boat against UV damage
- Clean extensively, not necessarily after every use but enough to remain clean for extended use.
- Use a tarp and raise it off the ground if you store your kayak outside.
- When inflating or deflating, make sure the valves and gaskets are clean and free from damage
- Clean with fresh water after paddling on salt
- Fold your kayak differently each time to avoid crease.
- Don’t drop or drag your inflatable kayak.
Damages are bound to happen no matter how careful you are, knowing what to do in these situations would be of great help to you. If and when there are issues that need repair with your inflatable kayak, go ahead and follow instructions provided in your kayak repair kit. It’s a manual that comes with all inflatable kayaks.
Inflatable kayaks are arguably one of the safest kinds of kayaks. The military even uses them, as well as the Coast Guard and many rescue agencies. Nonetheless, punctures occur occasionally, and if they do, luckily, most leaks only take a few minutes to repair.
Locating the leak
If locating the leak is becoming something of trouble, apply soapy water, this will make bubbles come out from the source of the leak.
For smaller repairs, you need to deflate your kayak, then clean and dry the area just before applying a small drop of glue. Leave it to dry for about ten hours. If you are in a hurry to be on the water, dry for thirty minutes then inflate the boat, inflating the area with the repair just about done. You can permanently repair later.
For larger repairs, a patch is needed for any puncture bigger than a pinhole. Most patches are doable in minutes. If it is major, let the supplier know if it is on warranty or take it to an inflatable boat repair center.
You spent enough money on buying your preferred inflatable kayak. It only takes a little bit of dedication and little or no effort in ensuring that it stays long enough in your service without any issues that might require you spending extra cash. Treating your inflatable kayak the right way, with the right repairs done when necessary will make sure your boat serves you long enough. You won’t always need repairs, and even in most cases never. However, you need to know how to prevent them and prepare yourself if one eventually happens.