Carefully Examine The Inflatable Boat Tubes When Buying Used As They May Reveal Some Of The History Of The Boat
The inflatable boat tubes are one of the most important parts of an inflatable.
Is the material damaged by sun? soft or sticky? Are there multiple patches? Check the keel and tube bottoms.
Are the patches on the inflatable professional or amateur? (a lot of dried glue around a patch, small patches, curled patch edges all are indicators of amateur patches)
Professional repair jobs are often invisible because instead of patches, they put on extra D rings, handles, or tube bottom guards and they do the same thing on both sides to make it look like it was never patched, but the accessory was simply added on purpose!
I like that kind of repair work!
On Hypalon tubes, have holes been patched with silicone or shoe goo? If they have,it is very difficult to patch them professionally later because the glue won't stick to the material after contamination with silicone.
Speaking of silicone contamination. Has the boat been treated with Armour All? This product is bad news for inflatables. It is silicone based and will make it very difficult to patch the tube material in the future.
Ask the seller if they used a protectant on the tube material. If they say they used Armour All or other silicone based products, thank them and walk away.
If they used a water based protectant like "303 Products - Aerospace Protectant", then you will be able to make future repairs without difficulty, and the boat will be in better cosmetic condition too!
Also ask about the use of tube sealant. This is a product that can be put inside the tubes to stop pin hole leaks. It works well, but again, if a major repair is required in the future, patches will not stick to the inside of the tubes.
Has the boat been painted? Many one part inflatable paints start to peel within a year of two. If the application of any type of paint was not done carefully it may begin to peel off.
Obviously, buying a used inflatable boat has its risks, but if you know what to look for and what questions to ask, you can save a lot of money!
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