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ambianceack 06-08-2012 07:45 PM

Infltatable boat repair or buy new
We purchased a Brig inflatable in May 2007. Wood floor, air tube for a keel. It is 10' in length, PVC material with four tubes (i.e., keel, 2 sides and one bow). We do leave it in the sun and exposed to the weather for about 6 months/year. Perhaps not important but run a 2.5 hp 4-stroke kicker. We have patched a small hole on the bottom and finally bottom painted this spring, using the appropriate paint. We are two weeks out of warranty.

So, both seams in the bow tube recently let go and now the inflatable has to be shipped to Rhode Island for repairs, if possible. Estimated cost is around $500.00 and Brig has offered to help pay for some of the repair, which seems fair.

Is it worth the repair? Does this happen a lot with inflatables? Are all glued seam inflatables useless after 5 years? Is that true of hypalon inflatables?

Should we just buy a new inflatable? The $2400 inflatables are glued seams are they worth it? FYI $2400.00 is stretching our budget.

jrd22 06-08-2012 09:59 PM

Re: Infltatable boat repair or buy new
5 years should be nothing for an inflatable. I've got an old Achilles that looks like junk but still holds air just fine. I think I would buy a different brand rather than put good money into something that will probably fail somewhere else soon. Bummer.

RobGallagher 06-08-2012 10:12 PM

Re: Infltatable boat repair or buy new
If you are in it for the long run, buy Hypalon.

Just about every inflatable that I see in the dumpster is PVC.

Hypalon is more expensive, so if the up front cost is a factor, consider a used Hypalon over a new PVC.


JimsCAL 06-09-2012 08:32 AM

Re: Infltatable boat repair or buy new
Leaving a PVC boat in the sun for long periods will kill it in a few years. I wouldn't put that kind of money into a 5 year old PVC boat that had seen that kind of sun. has lots of boats for under $1000. If you can't afford hypalon, get a cover.

hellosailor 06-09-2012 11:58 AM

Re: Infltatable boat repair or buy new
"We are two weeks out of warranty."
Did you buy it with a credit card? One that has a one-year warranty extension? CHECK and if so, use the credit card's warranty extension to replace the dink.

Once the seams have let go you are probably playing whack-a-mole. PVC seams should be FUSED and not able to let go unless the gluing or material was not done properly, so i'd expect any seam repairs to just mean "oh look, another seam let go" a month or three from now.

Maintenance (covering it, keeping it out of UV exposure, and not using ArmorAll-type products on glued seams since apparently it can encourage glue to let go) is a big issue and by all means, pamper the new one. But replace it, don't waste your time playing whack-a-mole.

Two weeks out of a four-year warranty, a smart maker would just replace it for you without trying to fix it. You might encourage that thought with them.

But I think your best bet is the credit card company, if they extend warranties (many do) they'll either re-imburse the purchase price 100% or often replace the product.

Cruisingdad 06-09-2012 12:07 PM

Re: Infltatable boat repair or buy new
I would put my money ino a new one. I agree with those above.


kdhamric 06-09-2012 07:04 PM

Re: Infltatable boat repair or buy new
Just went through this with a 6 yr old pvc west marine 310 RIB. It started leaking at multiple seams. Repair shop in Annapolis looked at it and quoted $800 - told me it was probably not worth it. Bought a AB Hypalon 4 weeks ago which was definitely not in the sailing budget this year.

I feel your pain!


ambianceack 06-09-2012 07:13 PM

Re: Infltatable boat repair or buy new
Thanks for the feedback...

ambianceack 06-10-2012 08:55 PM

Re: Infltatable boat repair or buy new
We have decided against another RIB and are focusing our search for a fiberglass tender. Currently looking @ the Puffin, Dolphin or Walker Bay fiberglass dinghies.
Does anyone have any experience with anyof these boats. Stopped by a West Marine and they sell plastic tenders worried about durability and ability to repair them.

Stumble 06-10-2012 09:31 PM

Re: Infltatable boat repair or buy new
The walker bay from West is pretty meh in my eyes. I have used one a few times, and they are fine for getting to and from a boat. Or when lightly loaded, but seem to suffer when you need to move more than two people.

Have you considered trying to find a 10' sailboat? I know someone who used a cape dory for years. Even a snark, or something similar can usually be picked up for a couple hundred bucks, and as long as there is nothing wrong with them structurally can last for years. Plus you get to sail around with a sailboat following you.

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