Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Dinghy Wetsuits

Caring for your inflatable dinghy - Ten Top Tips

by Des Ryan on 15 Sep 2013
The dinghy - the cruising sailor’s favourite companion SW
Inflatable dinghies are the most popular transport for cruising sailors - they are fairly easy to maintain and can be deflated or stored easily on the deck during long journeys. However, even though they are easier to maintain than fibreflass dinghies, they still require care to keep them in the best shape for the longest possible time. Here are Ten Top Tips to keep your dinghy in great condition:

1. Think of the UV:
Dinghies that are in use often have to suffer a lot of sunlight. Either purchase a hyperlon dinghy for the way it stands up to UV light destruction, or, if you have a PVC dinghy make a canvas sleeve. Depending on where and when you sail, stowing the dinghy out of the sunlight will extend its life. However, make sure that the dinghy doesn't get too cold - near freezing or freezing temperatures can degrade the material.

2. Keep it inflated whenever possible:
To allow an inflatable to languish in a deflated state promotes seam separation, chafing and abrasion. An inflatable should be kept pumped to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer, and, since many inflatables lose air over time, they should be inspected and topped up.

3. The 'old carpet' trick:
Carrying a piece of old carpet on board can be useful in protecting your inflatable if you have to tie up to a barnacle-infested old dock, seawall or piling. Simply drape the carpet over the shore-side tube before tying up.

4. Washing:
If possible, wash your dinghy with fresh water and get the trapped sand and salt out of it when you have finished using it. Even wiping it with a wet cloth will make a difference. If you must use soap, make it a mild dish soap.

5. Avoiding cleaners:
Do not use multi-purpose cleaners, shiners, or any other commercial products on your inflatable dingy, merely wash it with clean water water.

6. Correct inflating procedure:
When inflating your raft or boat fill each air chamber in a clockwise pattern around the boat, just until the craft takes shape. Then work your way back around the boat filling the chambers to the pressure level indicated for that particular boat. Don't overfill - when finished there should be just a small amount of 'give' to a thumb press.

7. Hot air expands:
Be aware that air expands when hot. If you fill the dinghy in cool air and then experience a marked upwards temperature change, give your dinghy the thumb test again and let some air out until the amount of 'give' returns to normal.

8. Be conscious of sharp objects:
Dinghies do not like sharp objects or continual chafe in one area. Be careful when knives or fishing hooks, and any other object that could puncture the skin. Avoid dragging the boat over rocks and shells when landing on a beach and keep that piece of carpet at the ready if you are approaching a any dock that appears barnacled.

9. Chafing:
Chafing can also be a source of trouble on a dinghy. Regularly check the surface of the dinghy for possible beginnings of chafe. This can be caused by ropes oars or even coolers kept in the same position constantly

10. When the hull is punctured:
With the best will, sometimes punctures or leaks occur. To find a leak wipe it with soapy water and watch for bubbles to form. Carry a patch repair kit with you all the time so that you won't have to swim home dragging the dinghy behind you - if you can swim as far as that. Patches can be difficult to repair reliably so follow the directions very carefully.

This is just a short summary of the most vital aspects, but follow these few rules and you can expect to have many extended years of faithful service from your best companion on a sailing boat, your inflatable dinghy.
Barz Optics - Melanin LensesSouthern Spars - 100Mackay Boats

Related Articles

Coast Guard finds Aids-to-Navigation shot and sunk near Block Island
Crew of Coast Guard Cutter Ida Lewis discovered a buoy sunk in water with bullet holes, near Block Island, Rhode Island. The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Ida Lewis discovered a buoy sunk in the water with bullet holes, Monday, near Block Island, Rhode Island. The crew was conducting regular aids-to-navigation maintenance when they approached Clay Head buoy number 7 and found it submerged. The crew raised the 12,000-pound buoy and found 20 bullet holes in it.
Posted on 28 Apr
A Few Rays - When you think of sunscreen as a filter....
If a sunscreen is a filter of UV rays, how much is enough? If a sunscreen is a filter of UV rays, how much is enough? Where the skin is exposed and a sunscreen is working for you, it is filtering UV rays. Some of those rays always get through. The percentage of the high energy UVB rays (said to cause sunburn) that get through to cells in the skin can be determined by the claimed SPF of the product you are using.
Posted on 25 Apr
Boat International partners with NZ Millennium Cup 2018
Boat International partners with NZ Millennium Cup 2018 to celebrate superyacht regatta’s tenth anniversary Boat International Media, the global authority on superyachts and the luxury lifestyle that goes with them, has today announced that it will be partnering with the NZ Millennium Cup superyacht regatta, to be held in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands in January 2018.
Posted on 22 Apr
A Few Rays - What is Broad Spectrum Protection?
What is Broad Spectrum sunscreen? Ultraviolet rays only make up a small proportion of all of the sun’s rays. What is Broad Spectrum sunscreen? Ultraviolet rays (UVA, UVB and UVC) only make up a small proportion of all of the sun’s rays. UVA and UVB sun-rays are however the biggest contributors to skin damage from sun.
Posted on 19 Apr
Coast Guard urges boating safety common sense
Coast Guard reminds mariners that as the air temperature is warming the water temperatures are still dangerously cold The Coast Guard is reminding mariners Friday that as the air temperature is warming the water temperatures are still dangerously cold. With the rise in air temperature, the number of boaters, paddle craft users, and water enthusiasts taking to water activities also rises.
Posted on 15 Apr
A very difficult day - Got fuel to Cape Town
Well after my dismasting I have spent the last two days motoring North towards Cape Town trying to collect myself Well after my dismasting I have spent the last two days motoring North towards Cape Town trying to collect myself and to intercept Hong Kong container ship M/V Far Eastern Mercury who had been diverted by Maritime Rescue Coordination Center Cape Town (MRCC Cape Town) when I had issued a Pan-Pan during my dismasting.
Posted on 8 Apr
Lisa Blair heads to Cape Town under motor following dismasting
A PAN PAN was called at 0300 (AET) / 1900 (SAST) signalling an urgent threat to her safety and this remains in place. Lisa Blair has assessed the damage to her yacht, Climate Action Now, after being dismasted 895 nm south of Cape Town in 40 knot winds and seven metre swells early in the morning of April 4, 2017. She made a PAN PAN call over the radio at approximately 0300 (AET) / 1900 (SAST) signalling an urgent threat to her safety and this remains in place.
Posted on 4 Apr
A Few Rays- Calculate how long your sunscreen lasts.
Confused by SPF's? It’s easy to calculate how long you will be protected by using the following process. Exposure to the sun is a serious issue for all those who venture on the water. Confused by SPF's? It’s easy to calculate how long you will be protected by using the following process.
Posted on 2 Apr
Coast Guard joins Arctic stakeholders in historic forum
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft joined leaders representing eight coast guards of Arctic nations U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft joined leaders representing eight coast guards of Arctic nations in signing a joint statement Friday. The statement adopts doctrine, tactics, procedures and information-sharing protocols for emergency maritime response and combined operations in the Arctic. The Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an operationally-focused, consensus-based organisation...
Posted on 24 Mar
Coast Guard Foundation announces tribute in New Orleans
Coast Guard Foundation announced that its Tribute to the Coast Guard District will be held at the National WW II Museum The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that its annual Tribute to the Eighth Coast Guard District will be held at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana on Friday, March 10, 2017.
Posted on 7 Mar