Monday, June 20, 2011

How to clean inflatable boat? Choosing the right inflatable boat cleaner - part 1.

Cleaning inflatable boats is easy if you have the right tools and equipment and have a basic understanding of what you are doing.

Cleaning Hypalon and cleaning PVC or Polyurethane fabrics requires the same cleaners and techniques to get great results. Using the wrong inflatable boat cleaners or tools can have disastrous results and sometimes result in destroying the boat. Remember that inflatable boats are more delicate than fiberglass or aluminum boats and the same cleaners and protectors can not be used on both.

In my “Ask the Skipper” blog, I research the best methods of resolving maintenance issues and advise boat owners how to clean inflatable boats and RIBs (Rigid bottomed Inflatable Boat). So often the inquiries come from people that have already damaged their boat and are looking for ways to undo the damage.

The problem is that there is so much misinformation out there, borne of ignorance and desperation. Products never to use for cleaning your inflatable are: solvents, MEK, toluene, acetone, bleach, ammonia, highly alkaline cleaners (anything with a pH greater than11.5), abrasive scrub pads, steel wool. They will weaken, damage and discolor the fabric and attack the adhesives. Soaps and detergents leave a sticky residue (soap scum) which attracts and hold dirt. Soap scum is also food for mold and mildew.

Feedback from boat owners has proven invaluable to Aurora Marine Industries, manufacturers of Aurora Boat Care Products. Identifying problems and coming up with solutions has allowed them to invent the best inflatable boat cleaners and inflatable boat protection products and systems in the world. The cleaners are safe and effective and the protectors last longer, reduce maintenance and keep the boat looking like new. Their specialty products are recommended by major boat manufacturers because it eliminates warranty issues from environmental damage.

New boat owners think that because their boat is brand new that they don’t have to do any maintenance but nothing is further from the truth. Once the manufacturer makes the boat, their job is done. They don’t clean off the lubricants used in the manufacturing process or provide any protection for the tube or fiberglass hull. The lubricants can react with the environment and cause damage to the tube. The results are brown, sticky PVC, chalky, faded Hypalon, mildew and waterline stains, osmosis blisters in the fiberglass hull, barnacles and marine growth on the bottom that is almost impossible to remove without destroying the tube, leaky seams, porous tubes, and more. Most manufacturers have little interest in maintaining boats. Their job is making and selling boats not looking after them.

If you maintain your boat properly and regularly from the day you buy it and invest in the best quality products, it should last you 20 to 30 years and look great during its lifetime, whether it’s made from Hypalon or PVC. You’ll get your investment in quality maintenance products back many times over when you go to sell or trade it. If not, you could be junking it in as little as 2 to 3 years and loose your boating investment. Besides, a clean, shiny inflatable boat is not only a beautiful thing, but a reflection of your personality.

Most inflatable boats and RIBs in North America are used as tenders and are subjected to some pretty tough conditions for these boats. It’s difficult to keep them high, dry and covered and still have them at your beck and call. The first step is to remove all the pollutants, surface damage, stains and scuffs and restore the tube and rigid hull to as close to new as possible. The next step is to apply the best protector that you can, to prevent damage from the elements. The amount and type of protector that you use will be dependant on the way that you plan to use your boat. This is much easier if you start with a new boat.


57 comments:

vance said...

There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to inflatable boats, and it could be a bit overwhelming. If you're thinking about buying an inflatable boat, there are a few things you need to consider before diving head-first into a purchase. PVC or Hypalon? Roll-up, air floor, or rigid hull? These are the questions that you have to answer, and we'll help you pick the one that's right for you once you've explored the options. Now, let's go over what distinguishes one inflatable boat from another, because they're not all made the same.
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Dianne Grover said...

One may assume that the maintenance of water crafts are pretty much the same but to avoid leaving any important details out,learning the basics when it comes to the right inflatable cleaner is important. I also read another piece related to water crafts, specifically yachts on:
http://theroxor.com/2009/12/07/10-amazing-futuristic-yacht-designs
Thank you for your tips!

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I think this will also clean my pedal boat. It's of the same material. How often do I need to clean?

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