Inflatables Question - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-26-2006
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Inflatables Question

Is it possible for an inflatable to have only a vinyl floor (instead of plywood or an inflatable deck)? The one I'm referring to is an older Boston Whaler inflatable that doesn't seem to have all the pieces...or does it?

The only stabilizing parts are the 2 wooden seats on top of the tubes, but nothing at the water line, so hence the question. Thanks to those that know a lot more about this than I do!

This is my first post on this forum and I look forward to someday being able to answer some questions. A new (to me) H260 will be joining our fleet next month!
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Old 08-26-2006
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I don't know if anyone still makes these, I had a Metzler that had multiple tubes in he floor and was inflated to be very firm. It was a lightweight hypalon boat but had problems with leaks at the seams. Someone bought them out and I don't think they are being produced anymore in small tender sizes.
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Old 08-26-2006
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Thanks, Gene. The boat I'm looking at doesn't have inflatable tubes in the floor... just a sheet of vinyl. Has anybody ever seen an inflatable that didn't have any flooring material...or is this the reason that Boston Whaler stopped making them?
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Old 08-26-2006
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Sure, have seen them but they are pretty out of date & not very practical & subject to damage. If you have one of these, you can build a marine plywood floor in 2-3 pieces that you can shove between the floor and the tubes during linflation. This will provide better stability and protection.
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It is possible that it was designed this way. But without knowing the make and model, it is very unlikely that anyone could say for certain.
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I had a Whaler inflatable about six years ago. It had a three section plywood floor. You installed the floor sections when the boat was half inflated, when fully inflated the whole boat was quite rigid. The floor fit very tightly even when partially inflated, if you want to make a floor, you might try to find another Whaler with a floor to copy. Perhaps look around area dingy docks, some of these are still in operation.

Good luck.
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Might be nice to make the replacement floor boards out of starboard, rather than plywood, as it would be much lower maintenance.
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Inflatables Question

Good points, all. I can make a pattern out of cardboard and then use a sheet of 1/2" marine plywood for the pieces. Round the edges, a couple coats of polyurethane and viola!
I think the model is a 70D, although the plate is heavily scuffed. I sure hope that doesn't refer to the year of production.
Thanks to all of you for your input and suggestions!
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I would use a piece of 1/2" Starboard (Marine polymer lumber) as it won't require finishing or painting, and even if it gets soaked, won't warp or delaminate, like the plywood will. It can be worked with standard wood working tools. If you buy it wholesale, it is about the same price as Marine-grade plywood.
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Starboard is heavy and flexes a lot. I like it and have used it on several projects but it has no strength on it's own. Plywood or marine grade 1/4inch Masonite works well. Masonite doesn't need to be treated, but is slippery unless nonskid is used or a cross-pattern of some kind is cut in. Several boat manufactures use this.
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