Exploring the wild by getting out on bodies of water in an inflatable boat can be extremely exciting. What can be frustrating, however, is heading out for an excursion and finding yourself waylaid by damage to your boat that you didn't know was there. By taking the proper steps, you can avoid that surprise and have a boat that's always ready when you need it.
Below, you'll find a guide to some steps you should take in order to properly care for your inflatable boat. Following these suggestions will put you in a position to always be ready to explore, and never have to deal with the frustration and disappointment that comes from being stuck on shore.
Your boat will be strong enough to handle almost any water, but in order to protect it, you have to make sure it dries thoroughly after your adventure. Particularly, if you're in a body of salt water, allowing the salt to dry on the boat can lead to damage and rubber erosion that could cause a catastrophic failure.
Even if you've exclusively used your boat in fresh water, you could see mold and mildew develop if it's stored while wet. Thorough drying will also have the benefit of allowing you to thoroughly inspect the boat as you clean it, giving you an early warning for any potential damage.
Making sure your boat is filled to the correct air pressure can be a delicate balance. A boat without enough air can be susceptible to dipping below the level of the water and thus taking water on and being at risk of sinking, but an overinflated boat can pose a substantial puncture or popping risk.
Consult the manual that came with your boat to verify that you've filled it to the correct pressure. Always double check the proper fill before taking off on an excursion, and if at all feasible, check the air while the boat is in the water for the most accurate reading.
Though inflatable boats are designed to be resilient, their flexible rubber design can leave them susceptible to tearing and puncturing. Dragging your boat across a rough floor in a garage or attic can cause you to pick up abrasive damage that you may not detect until it's too late. You should also avoid allowing your boat to bottom out over rough patches in a flowing river, and attempt instead to walk and gently float the boat if at all possible.