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Advisor contents:
 •   BOAT SELECTION
 •   WHEN YOU PURCHASE
 •   YOUR ENGINE
 •   BOATING ADVICE
 •   SAFETY ON BOARD
 •   TRANSPORT & STORAGE
 •   MAINTENANCE & CARE
 •   REPAIR ADVICE
  How to Clean and to Dry
  Wooden parts care
  Metal parts care
  Plastics & fiberglass care
  Electric system maintenance


In comparison with wooden, aluminum or fiberglass boats the inflatable boats need more care - that's true. But with regular and proper maintenance and care you can entirely enjoy the features and long life of your inflatable boat. Actually after-use care is not complicated, but it has the most sufficient effect on your boat lifespan. Keeping it clean and dry in storage, with the right service and repair is the best way to enjoy your boat for a long time.


How to Clean and to Dry  

It's not difficult to do. The most difficult is to make yourself to do it!
 •  Clean and Dry your boat every time after you take it out of the water
 •  After the boat is disassembled, wash the boat and its parts with a plenty of water and some soap
 •  If the boat is too dirty - wash the boat with cleaners, specially made for cleaning PVC or rubber
 •  DO NOT USE ANY SOLVENTS, ACIDS OR OTHER CHEMICALS, WHICH ARE NOT SPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR CLEANING PVC OR RUBBER - it will damage the boat and this case is definitely not covered with the Warranty
 •  To clean the boat use pieces of cotton fabric or cellular (sponge) to avoid the main material damage
 •  Control your energy when you clean the boat - the fabrics are very sensitive to abrasion. Too active cleaning can harm it more than normal boat use. Do cleaning gently!
 •  Always dry the boat after you wash it. In case it is impossible to do it directly after use - do it as soon as possible. In case the boat stays wet stored (especially in a warm place) - it can cause problems to wooden elements, laminations, paintings, anodizing, fabrics etc.
 •  To avoid serious damage of your boat never dry it under strong direct sunlight, especially when it's inflated hard. Always deflate the boat to dry, leaving some air inside just to keep the form.


    Wooden parts care  
   
All the wooden elements of inflatable boats are made of special marine grade plywood or wood, which are resistant to the influence of water. All of them are covered with marine paint or varnish or laminated. Marine paints or laminations are also very stable against water. While used a paint or a lamination can be destroyed somewhere, water comes inside the wooden part, and it starts swelling. If the ply is a marine grade you have nothing to worry about - the layers of ply are glued together with water-resistant resins. Actually the damages of paint or lamination are not dangerous to your boat, but if you care about your boat lifetime and outlook - it's better to repair it. For repair:
- Inspect the condition of all wooden parts at the end of a season, and mark all the damaged places.
- Leave all the damaged parts to dry somewhere in a well-ventilated and dry place.
- Grind the damaged place and adjacent area with emery paper.
- Paint all the damaged spots with 2-3 layers of a marine paint.
For painting it's better to use two-component polyurethane paints, as they are the strongest and most wear-resistant.


    Metal parts & fittings care  
   
There are three main metals, which can be used on boats: stainless steel, brass and aluminum, and the main problem for all metals in wear is corrosion.
Stainless steel is the best against corrosion and does not need any protective coating. A number of different stainless steel alloys are used in marine business, and all of them have different grades of corrosion-resistance and prices. For example:
- Alloy 316 (DIN) - or A4: one of the best alloys, which never becomes rusty. Quite expensive.
- Alloy 304 (DIN) - or A2: in the long run some rust spots can appear, but they are easily removable from the surface by means of traditional cleaning agents with no abrasives. The price is very reasonable.
Brass is also quite resistant against corrosion, but mainly all brass elements are nickel or chrome plated. On one hand this plating makes a stainless steel outlook illusion (!!!), but on the other it protects brass against oxidation (oxidation makes brass dirty, and it starts staining quickly).
Aluminum is not so corrosion resistant as stainless steel or brass, and protective plating is absolutely necessary for it. The most popular protection of aluminum parts is anodizing, which mechanically prevents corrosion. All the other ways (painting, varnishing, etc) are not so effective. You can clearly recognize the moment when anodizing is gone - aluminum starts staining. Unfortunately if it's happened there's nothing to do with it - anodizing of aluminum (as well as plating of brass) is restorable in industrial conditions only.
So, in case the plating of your aluminum or brass parts is gone and corrosion has progresses sufficiently there's only one way to solve the problem - replacement of damaged parts.
Pay especial attention to electrolytic corrosion too : for that it is better to avoid any joints of different metals together (like brass and aluminum, steel and aluminum ...), because in case of such contact the electrolytic reaction starts immediately and it is even more harmful than usual corrosion.


    Plastics & fiberglass care  
   
There's a lot of different plastic elements on the inflatable boats: oarlocks, oar stops, oar paddles, valves, handles, rub rails, etc. They are made of different plastics, such as PVC, ABS, Polypropylene, Polyester, synthetic resins, etc.
The main problems, which may happen to the plastic parts, are:
- Surface cracking, discoloration and turbidity caused by UV radiation.
- Inconvertible deformations. All plastics have no crystal structure and in the long run all of them "flow" more or less.
Keeping clean prolongs life time of plastics, of course, but it doesn't stop their destruction. Mainly all plastics already have special additives, which increase the UV-resistance and slightly retard ageing. Be careful choosing chemical products for cleaning - in case of a wrong cleaner the parts can be easily destroyed in seconds. So, if you want to use something different from usual and top-safe soapy water, make sure that the cleaner you are going to use is applicable for the plastic you want to clean.
On the market you can find so called "restorative agents" - chemicals, which can restore the surface of plastic elements. Unfortunately they just can make a temporarily better outlook.
Also be very careful with restorers, which contain silicones, because:
- The surface coated with silicon containing restorers or cleaners has a sufficiently lower ability for gluing.
- Very often the silicones can be a main reason of seams destruction - their penetration into seams areas sufficiently decreases the adhesion level.
The best way to prevent the destruction of plastics is to protect the boat against an active UV radiation by means of an overall cover and to minimize the time, when a boat should stay under direct sunlight.
All possible problems with fiberglass are similar to other plastics. Decorative gelcoat coating of all the fiberglass parts can be polished easily up to mirror shine, using the proper polishing pastes. Servicing the fiberglass parts also be careful with the cleaners, which contain solvents and other active chemicals. They can melt the gelcoat and damage the shape.


    Electric system maintenance  
   
There is just one main problem for all kinds of electric equipment, which can damage it - corrosion. Even though most of electric parts are corrosion-resistant, the contacts (their electric resistance) are extremely sensitive even to the smallest stains. Of course it's much more serious in salt waters. So, the maintenance for the electric staff is quite easy:
 •  To keep all the contacts as dry as possible. For this purpose it's good idea to put all the cables into the protective looms.
 •  To check all the cable headers and connectors for corrosion and clean it if something appears.
 •  Check the battery clamps. Dry, clean and tighten them !
 •  Open, clean the navigation lights, check if they are water tight and the bulbs are in good condition. Change the lights bulbs EVERY season.
 •  In case you do not have the circuit backers - just fuses : open the fuse holders and check every fuse. It will be also good idea to change them every season.


    HAVE A PLEASANT & SAFE BOATING !!!


   
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