So yesterday IBC received its first non rainy day in about 9 months and as this signals spring for us here in Portland I thought it was a good time to talk about inspections and maintenance. Spring and sunny days mean getting ole floppy out of storage for the first time in a long while, and for some this will be a trying day. Mice, spiders, bugs and that science experiment you’re unknowingly conducting because you forgot to rinse and clean your boat properly before rolling it up for the winter. These are but a few of the common issues we see here at the shop when the sun shows it’s face for the first time.
First thing first let’s get your boat pumped up and inspected. Does it keep air? If the answer is no then kick some more air in and spray it down with soapy water to try to determine where the air is leaking out from. Leaks will manifest as bubbles or white creamy streaks or spots. Mark the leaks with a sharpie pen and find anymore issues that need addressing. For mouse holes you’ll need adhesive and fabric, and typically you need to do an inside /outside patch over any hole big enough to fit a mammal in. First get the patch on the inside by prepping the patch and area the same way you would for any other patch. Roll the patch on its self adhesive to non-adhesive side and carefully insert the patch. Tack and unroll to bone or burnish the patch down fully. We like to do this in a dry run prior to applying any adhesive so the actions are committed to muscle memory almost. You’ll have better success if you practice this prior to gluing trust us. Once you’ve waited at least 24 hours for the adhesive to start curing kick in some air to shape and then pressure and soap it down again. If you did your job right it shouldn’t be leaking, or leaking very little. Now we’re ready to put on the outside patch, the same prep steps and adhesive applications applies here just like before. Make sure you have the patch boned down correctly and wait at least 24 hours to use the boat with a recommended time of 72 hours being best.
Plan your trips accordingly, if you waited until the last minute chances are if your boat has damage you won’t be taking it. If you are one of the hundreds of people we see every summer with a 40 year old mouse boat looking for an instant fix you will be disappointed. We will have a back log of weeks to months in the peak of the season so don’t wait too long to do your initial inspection.
Sometimes you will have some simple pin holes from that whopper of a fish you carelessly flopped into the boat. In most of these cases a quick and permanent fix is the use of a sealant that goes in the tube chamber its self. There are a great many products on the market that offer awesome sauce at a discount but beware. Try to get a reputable name or formulation such as the type we use here at IBC. Since we have to adhere to MILSPEC on many of our services we only use the good stuff and recommend you do the same. Just visit our web shop if you live outside of the Portland Oregon area for awesome sauce www.inflatableboats.com and click on the repair materials category. The way the sealant works is the air leaking out thru the hole will pull the sealant thu with it as it escapes and it will seal it off. This usually requires the user to roll the boat over side to side and end to end to ensure a conformal coating is applied to the interior of the tube chamber. Call a friend and swap sea tales while you do this, you might actually find you have more than one pin hole so don’t do this on the new carpet.
For the science experiment we use many cleaners and conditioners located in yup you guessed it our cleaners and conditioners section of the web shop. Keeping ole floppy aired up to the correct pressure and clean will extend the life of your boat greatly and prevent problems further down the road that could’ve been avoided. If you have questions give us a call here at the shop (503)235-2628 chances are we’ve seen what you are looking at and have a fix for it already.
If all of this sounds too daunting give us a call and we’ll do it for you, but don’t wait until the last minute or your trip will suffer. We have people send us their boats from all around the world to get genuine IBC service and repairs done and we’re a small crew focused on quality so it will take as long as it does.