What do I do if inflatable boat air compartments become soft?
This can be a very frustrating incident, especially if it is happening over time. The tubes or floor is getting soft over time usually means a leak somewhere. Inflatable boats, rafts, kayaks and SUP’s are all tested at the factory, after the Saturn logos are applied to the tubes. These inflatable water craft are inflated at maximum pressure and left inflated for a full 48 hours.
As a rule if your inflatable beach raft is soft the first time you inflate the boat, then it is very likely you are not locking the air valve of the inflatable dingy correctly. It is fairly certain that your Saturn inflatable boat is not going to leak right from the start. Even though it is an affordable inflatable boat, doesn’t mean it is not tested and developed to the highest of marine standards. These fishing boats and diving rafts are often times left out in the sun for long periods of time. That being the case often the PVC fabric of your inflatable raft will fade and wear. Ideally deflating your inflatable diving raft after each outing would increase the life of the water craft. But if you need to pinpoint where a leak is coming from there are some guidelines you could follow to increase your chances of finding an air leak on your inflatable diving raft.
The inflatable raft, especially the less expensive inflatable rafts can often times need air leaks repaired. If that is the case with your inflatable rescue boat, then you will need to check the raft’s air chambers to locate which of the 4 air chambers is leaking.
On Saturn inflatable boats there are 3 air chambers separated by baffles. When checking for a leak on the surface of the inflatable raft, each chamber must be inflated and left for some time. Alternatively, the application of soapy water can also show pin holes and slow leaks. If no bubbles are observed, and the chamber doesn’t go soft over time, then another chamber is the leaking chamber.
If a valve is thought to be leaking, fill the inflatable air chamber completely, until full pressure is reached. Apply soapy water around all surfaces, including the valve housing, the cover cap, the plastic body, cap body and around where the string securing the valve cover cap in place is located.
Over time it is possible for the rubber seal ring to become degraded from dirt and debris, oils and grime, fouling the airtight on the inflatable boat valves. In many cases a small amount of air escapes allowing the tubes to soften over time. A bit of acetone can be splashed onto the seal ring to remove dirt and grime from the inflatable raft valve cap seal. Allowing the acetone to evaporate will ensure a better seal when the valve is then closed. There are many ways to approach a softening of the tubes in an affordable inflatable raft.
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