Boating Tips

Caring for your inflatable is not all hot air!

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In this second follow-on article we discuss a few more RIB related topics that will assist you in keeping your inflatable in the best possible condition.


Punctures are always at the top of the list when it comes to RIBs and that is why it is important to keep sharp objects such as fishing knives, hooks and gaffs safely when being transported on RIBs. When navigating the waterways in a RIB, be cognisant of low lying tree branches, rocky outcrops and metal protrusions at the dock. Try and avoid dragging the boat across the sand as this also wears away at the RIB’s protective material. Another thing to consider is the abrasion of things on the boat such as oars and accessories. With the constant movement of the boat, even dull objects can begin to wear away and cause deterioration of the protective coating. Remember to rinse any sand out of the inflatable after use to ensure no abrasive sand remains.


There are many inflatable cleaners that do an excellent job of cleaning and protecting the surface of the RIB but do not affect the underlying Hypalon. Inflatable boat cleaner can be used in a spray bottle and diluted with water during the cleaning process and will remove dirt, stains and scuff marks. Use clean rags to wipe off the loosened dirt, and when the rag gets too dirty, exchange it for a clean rag. Work in small sections and clean thoroughly. Make sure you use the correct products for Hypalon and PVC boat materials. Many of the cleaning products also protect against UV damage and degradation.


All RIBs need careful inflation and great care needs to be taken if a high volume compressor is used to ensure the boat is not over inflated. The cells within the inflatable can easily be damaged due to excessive over inflation.


Each air chamber on a RIB has a baffle that separates it from the other chambers and adding too much pressure to a compartment can undermine or damage the separating baffle. For this reason it is important to put equal amounts of air into each chamber. Having a pressure gauge to check to take a pressure reading is important. During the heat of the day, the air inside the RIB will expand and create added pressure. Monitoring the pressure and releasing pressure is necessary to keep the RIB inflated at its optimum level.


Be careful when trailering the RIB and ensure that no abrasive ropes or tiedowns are rubbing against the boat and definitely don’t drag the boat along the ground as this will quickly do damage to it.


Inflatables are a wonderful and affordable boating alternative which offer the user many years of fun on the water. They’re east to manage, lighter that normal fiberglass hulled boats and easily transportable. With a little extra easy maintenance and care you’ll be enjoying all the various watersports of your dreams … at a fraction of the price.


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