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How to protect high pressure air floor inside inflatable boat against accidental punctures?

Posted by   Eliot
03/03/2013

High pressure air floor is very strong and rigid when it is properly inflated. There are a lot of benefits of air floor vs. hard floor when used in inflatable boats. Air floor makes inflation and deflation of inflatable boat quick and easy. It also makes boat lighter and adds buoyancy. Air floor used in Saturn inflatable boats consist of 2 layers of 0.9mm PVC separated by thousands of stitches that keeps both layers of PVC parallel. However, being made of fabric, air floor is not 100% puncture proof. It is strong and durable; however it is possible to puncture it if enough force is applied with sharp object against floor surface. For example, if you step on small pieces of broken glass that can stick to soles of your shoes and then you step into the boat and make small cuts. Or if you pull fish into the boat and let it jump around, sharp dorsal fin can puncture surface of floor if applied in “unlucky” directions. Luckily it is relatively easy to fix high pressure air floor with PVC patch or just drop of glue placed on a place of puncture.

To protect air floor from accidental punctures and to make it slightly more rigid there are several options available for that. You can get piece of vinyl flooring from local Home Depot and cut it to fit inside boat and over the floor. Or get piece of marine carpeting sold in marine outlet stores. One idea that we found to be interesting is to use flat folding chair mat that is sold in local Office Depot or Office Max and are used to put under the computer chair. These are usually made of heavy duty transparent plastic and come with smooth surface for hard floors. Mat come folded in half and may need some trimming to nicely fit inside the boat. What makes this idea good is that mat is made of hard plastic designed to take abuse and would surely make floor not only more rigid, but would also protect it from punctures and dirt. Easy to wash, folding chair mat could work great as an additional safety layer on top of any high pressure drop stitch air floor inside inflatable boat, kayak or raft.