An inflatable kayak is a fun piece of water equipment; however, as fun as it is, you must keep it clean and dry after each use for it to last. Maintenance is an important part of the sport of kayaking and keeping it dry is one of the biggest parts to maintaining your kayak so that it lasts for a long time. Your kayak is an expensive piece of water equipment that needs to be kept as clean and dry as possible.
Drying out your inflatable kayak
If you have the time and it is a sunny day, you can lay your kayak out in the sun and allow it to dry naturally. If not, and you are short on time, then you will need to get to work right away at drying out your kayak.
Ensure to bring two towels with you when you go out kayaking; because you are going to need them both to dry out your kayak.
While the kayak is still inflated, remove the seats and bags from and dry all the outer surfaces. This process is generally done quickly, due to most inflatable kayaks dry easily.
The next step is to deflate the floor of the kayak and flip it over on one side to allow any excess water to drain out. Using the towels, soak up the water that is left over as well as any other debris like rocks, gravel and sand. If you are not able to get all the debris out, do not worry about it, just as long as you get it completely dry.
Now finish deflating the rest of the air out of the kayak, use the towels to dry away any remaining moisture. The entire process takes only a matter of minutes, depending on how meticulous you are about cleaning the kayak. As you are rolling up the kayak to store it away, dry off the underside of the kayak with the towels.
How dry is Dry Enough?
If you live in a humid climate, there is no need to worry if some moisture remains in the kayak; as long as you are using it at least once a week. However, if you are preparing to store it away for any length of time, you will need to ensure it is completely dry to prevent the growth of mold or mildew.
Good time management is important when drying your kayak. If you are having a relaxing day, and it is sunny, you can allow the kayak to dry naturally. However, if you are pressed for time then you need to get working on it right away. If you are not careful about keeping your kayak dry and free of moisture you will soon develop a mold problem, which can do irreparable damage to your kayak. If this happens, you will most likely be forced to purchase a new kayak next season.
Allowing the kayak to sit out in the natural sunlight is the best way to ensure it dries completely. Also, when you are folding it up to store it away you need to make sure to dry the creases so mildew does not build up.
Applying a Finish to Your Inflatable Kayak
If just drying and cleaning your kayak is not satisfactory, there is another option. There are inflatable boat finishing products, which protect your boat from discoloration and harmful UV rays of the sun. Using a finisher on your kayak will allow it to maintain its shine and appearance as well as remove any unsightly scratches.
You can apply the finish with a soft cloth by buffing it in using circular motions. It is imperative that you do not overuse the finisher or polish. There is a variety of different products made to polish different types of kayaks. Once you have applied the polish, you can allow it to dry in the sun and then buff it out with another soft cloth to create the final shine.
Tips for Caring for Your Kayak
A kayak can last for several years if it is taken care of properly. By taking the following steps you can assure many years of use for your inflatable kayak.
Using a protectant on your kayak will aid its finish from UV damage. The strength and life of your kayak can be advanced when you use a 303 Protectant Spray. This protectant spray behaves similar to the way sunscreen does when applied to your skin. It should be applied every one-two months for best protection results.
First, you should wash your kayak with an inflatable boat cleanser to remove the dirt, grease and any other stains. Once doing this, apply the 303 Protectant Spray to the entire kayak. Even if you do not have a specific boat cleanser, as long as you use a cleanser that is natural and free of harsh chemicals you should not be doing any harm to your kayak.
Once you have dried and cleaned your inflatable kayak a few times, you are going to be doing it like a professional and you will not require any assistance from another person. Just like any other task, the first few times will seem a bit troublesome; but after you have done it four or five times you will be doing it like it was second nature. When you first start drying out your inflatable kayak, do not spend too much time worrying about the sand and gravel; the biggest threat to the life of your inflatable boat is water and moisture. Once you have perfected the skill of drying the water and moisture out of your inflatable kayak, you can work on learning how to efficiently clean up the sand, gravel and other debris that it collects while in the water.
Tips for Storing Your Inflatable Kayak
When putting your kayak away for storage, ensure that it is a cool, dry location. This will help in the prevention of any mold or mildew building up. If even a small amount of moisture is remaining, even after you have dried it, leave the kayak to sit out in a dry area until it is completely dry before folding it up to store it away.
Try and store your inflatable boat indoors; however, if you must store the kayak outdoors, ensure that it is completely covered with a tarp and not exposed to any direct sunlight, leaves, berries or rain.
Repairing Your Inflatable Kayak
Unfortunately, there may come a time when your inflatable kayak needs some repair work done. Often these repairs are simple and can be done by consulting the owner’s manual for your kayak. Whenever you take your inflatable kayak out, you should always bring the repair kit with you. Repairing your inflatable kayak should not be done in the direct sunlight, if at all possible.
Inflatable kayaks are made to be one of the safest water crafts; used by the Coast Guard, the military, and rescue agencies worldwide. On the rare occasion, one should become punctured, it can be easily and quickly repaired.
An inflatable kayak with a small (pinhole) leak can be easily repaired by taking the following steps:
- Deflate the air from the boat
- Completely clean and dry the area requiring repair
- Smear a small drop of glue on the area
- Allow the glue to dry for at least 12 hours
- If it is necessary to get back on the water sooner and you cannot wait for the entire 12 hours, let it dry for 30 minutes. Then inflate the boat but only ¾ of the way on the side being repaired. This will allow you to use the boat sufficiently until permanent repairs can be made.
If your inflatable kayak is in need of a larger repair, you will most likely need a patch. A good way to determine this is anything larger than a pinhole requires a patch repair. Patches can most often be put on in a few minutes, if the damage cannot be repaired with a patch you might need to call the manufacturer and bring the boat to a repair shop.
The first thing you need to do if you suspect your boat has a leak is to find the source of the leak. This can be done with a little soapy water. Put some soapy water in the area of the suspicious leak and if there is a puncture, the soapy water will bubble out.
When making repairs to your inflatable kayak, if done correctly the boat will be back to an almost new state and should last for a very long time. It is very rare that you ever will need to repair your inflatable boat and in most cases never will. However, this section is in this article in the case that a repair is needed.
If you follow the tips in this article about the care of how to dry, store and repair your inflatable kayak. You will be rewarded with many years of use. Keeping you inflatable boat dry and free of moisture is the first step to ensuring the long life of an inflatable watercraft.