How to repair your Inflatable Boat
First things first make sure you know what type of material you boat is made of, as there are different techniques for repairing different raft materials. This article is specifically for repairing hypalon rafts.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Hypalon Patch Material
- Hypalon Glue
- Glue Brush
- Sandpaper or similar
- Rag (to apply toluene)
- Pusher Tool /Small Roller
- Respirator and Heavy Duty Rubberized Gloves
The first three steps below are for preparing and assessing the appropriate size patch to affix to your boat. These are the same for Hypalon, PVC or Urethane.
1. Clean and dry the damaged area both inside and out.
2. Measure the size of the damaged area to determine what size patch will be needed. The size of the hole or tear determines the method of repair needed.
- For small holes, repair tape or duct tape may work for a temporary fix.
- For larger holes 2-6 inches in size, an exterior patch alone should do the trick.
- For tears and holes 6 or more inches, an interior patch may be needed. Duct tape works great as a field interior patch. This will add structure and extra holding power to the repair.
3. Cut the appropriate size patch material 2-3 inches larger than the damaged area in all directions. Use scissors to round out the corners of the patch.
4. Lightly go over the area to be patched with sandpaper or other abrasive paper. Don’t be too aggressive since you could damage the material.
5. Put on your respirator and rubberized gloves as you are about to handle some dangerous chemicals.
6. Lightly dab the surface area with Toluene. Then with a brush, apply a thin coat of Hypalon Adhesive to both the raft and the patch. Allow to dry for 30 minutes. Then reactivate the glue with a dab of Toluene again and then apply a second thin coat of shore adhesive and allow to dry for 15 minutes or until “tacky” to the touch.
8. If you’re out exploring and camping overnight, it’s best to set up camp and let the patch cure until the morning. But if you have to get going, you can cover the patch with duct tape to keep it secure until you get off the river.