Here is a collection of frequently asked questions many people have with regard to getting started with inflatable boats. If you have any other questions, write to me and I’ll try to answer to the best of my knowledge.
What is an inflatable boat?
As the name suggests, inflatable boats are watercraft that make use of air to take their form. The bow and sides are flexible inflatable tubes, constructed from rubberized synthetic fabric like PVC and Hypalon.
What materials are inflatable boats made of?
The main materials in the construction of inflatable boats come in the form of rubberized synthetic fabric. The two primary fabrics that are used in the manufacturing of these boats are PVC and Hypalon. Both of these elements have their distinct advantages and disadvantages, highly depending on how and where they will be used.
You can read more about the materials used in the construction of inflatable boats here.
What types of inflatable boats are there?
There are several types of inflatable boats. They can actually be classified into five (5) different categories:
- Inflatable Rafts
- Inflatable Pontoon Boats
- Inflatable Kayaks
- Inflatable Dinghies
- Rigid Inflatable Boats
Each of these are tailored and constructed to serve different purposes. Moreso, some of these watercraft are further divided into subcategories, giving more precise attention to what they will be used for.
If you are looking to buy a new inflatable boat, here is a list of the best SIBs you can choose.
If you want to save some money and buy a used SIB, you should really read our recommendations on buying used inflatable boats.
What do I need to get started with inflatable boats?
Read our getting started guide here. It is a great primer for newbies to the world of inflatable boats.
What type of flooring does an inflatable boat have?
There are four (4) types of flooring for inflatable boats:
- Roll-up Floors
- Hard Floors
- Air Floors
- Rigid Floors (for RIBs)
These types have distinct characteristics and features that make them different from each other. Nevertheless, they play a big part in a boat’s stability on the water.
You can learn more about the type of floorings for inflatable boats in this article.
How can I stay safe out on the water?
Safety should be one of your main concerns if you decide to take on boating as a hobby.
Do I need to register my SIB in the USA?
It depends on which state you live in. Here is info on the registration requirements of SIBs for all US states.
How many years will an inflatable last?
In theory, inflatable boats can last up to 10 to 15 years. However, there are a lot of factors that can affect their life expectancy, such as the fabric material, glue quality, maintenance, and usage. Nevertheless, the average is around 10 years for most inflatable boats because this is the time that the fabric starts to delaminate and the glue to wear off.
Read more about factors that can lengthen or shorten an inflatable boat’s lifespan here.
How do I inflate an inflatable boat?
To pump air into an inflatable boat, you will need to use an air pump. It’s pretty much like any other inflatable object in this world., you don’t have to overthink this one. It’s not rocket science, but there are a few things to take note of on the proper way to inflate it.
You can read about the correct way to inflate your boat here.
One thing to keep in mind is the correct air pressure you need to inflate to. Here is a guide on the recommended air pressure for inflatable boats.
What kind of pump works best with an inflatable boat?
There are two types of air pumps: electric and manual. Like any other equipment, they have their own advantages and disadvantages.
If you can’t decide on what kind of pump to use, you can check out a list of the best electric and manual air pumps that I have tried here.
Can I place a motor on an inflatable boat?
Yes, you can equip an outboard motor on an inflatable boat. Most inflatable boats have a transom where you can conveniently mount an outboard or electric motor. In some cases, you will have to buy a motor mount to be able to attach it on an inflatable boat. Nevertheless, all inflatable boats are capable of being powered by a motor.
What kind of motor is best with an inflatable boat?
The best type of motor to use on an inflatable boat will highly depend on several things. There are a lot of factors that you have to consider before buying a motor for your boat: type of boat, power output, power source, boat usage, and your budget.
How do I transport an inflatable boat?
One of the best features of an inflatable boat is its portability, providing a lot of options on how you can conveniently transport it. Unlike traditional boats, an inflatable boat can be transported in five (5) ways:
- Deflated Transport
- Car Roof Rack
- SUV Cargo Area
- Pickup Truck Bed
You can read more about how to transport a SIB here.
How do I dry my inflatable boat?
There are two (2) ways you can dry your inflatable boat after using it. You can either wipe it dry or let it dry under the sun. The latter is less recommended, however, because it can damage the fabric of your inflatable boat over time.
How do I store my inflatable boat?
You can store your inflatable boat inflated or deflated, but, of course, storing it inflated will require a large, covered storage space away from any sharp objects. Storing it deflated, on the other hand, will need thorough drying first to prevent mold and mildew from forming on your inflatable boat.
You can read a complete guide on the proper way to store your inflatable boat in this article.
How can I prevent my inflatable boat from molding?
The secret to keeping mold away from your inflatable lies on the proper drying and storage of your inflatable boat. After every use and before storing it away, you have to make sure that the entire boat is really dry. Aside from that, you should also avoid storing your boat in humid places.
You can find clever tips and advice on how to prevent your inflatable boat from molding here.
Can I customize the floor on my inflatable boat?
Yes, you definitely can. Truth be told, DIYs on inflatable boats are becoming popular among boat owners these days. Most people, nowadays, customize their inflatable boats to their liking. Some even install hard floors on their inexpensive inflatable watercraft just to give it an upgrade.
Here is a detailed guide on how to build a hard floor for your inflatable boat.
How do I repair leaks on my inflatable boat?
Repairing leaks on your inflatable boat will depend on the size and number of leaks in it. For punctures, you can seal them using glue or boat sealant. For tears, you will have to do a patchwork.
If you get a puncture out on the water, this article contains helpful tips on what to do.