Knowing how to patch a leaking inflatable boat is an essential skill for everyone owning or renting one. We all know inflatable boats are very practical due to their portability, but leaks can damage the whole adventure.
So, just like any watercraft, inflatable boats are prone to damage and leaks may occur. That’s why knowing how to patch the leak in your Coleman or any other model is essential, and may extend the boat’s lifespan. As a result, you safely glide through the water, so you see the deal.
We mentioned Coleman as one of the most popular choices, but the advice you can find on manualsnet.com and in this article may apply to any inflatable boat.
So, stay with us, because the journey starts now.
Materials You’ll Need To Patch the Leak
The Coleman inflatable boat repair kit consists of a few tools and items you need to have always in your backpack. Sometimes you can find complete kits available online or in the stores, but in general, you need a mild detergent and a clean cloth to clean the damaged surface before applying anything. Also, make sure you have alcohol wipes or rubbing alcohol, sandpaper, scissors, some vinyl patch material, permanent marker, glue, and an air pump.
Put these things together in a bag, and always have it with you while using the Coleman inflatable boat. That way you make sure no leaks will ever surprise you.
So, once you’re set, you need to take these steps:
1. Locate the Leak
Before patching, you need to identify the leak spot or all of them, since sometimes there can be more than one damage on the Coleman boat. Try to inflate the boat and listen if there is any hissing-like sound, or check the surface to locate where the air is escaping.
Sometimes the leak is so tiny you can’t really spot it immediately. What some people do is fill up parts of the boat with water and soap to check where bubbles appear. But you must be very skilled when doing this, and ensure the boat is completely dry before fixing the problem.
So now, as you know where the leak spot is, it’s time for the next step.
2. Clean the Area
Make sure you use a towel and clean cloth to remove any dirt, debris, and oils around the damaged area. If you don’t clean it, the dirt may interfere with the patch adhesion, making the whole project unsuccessful.
Once you clean the area, make sure it’s completely dry, so you can…
3. Roughen the Surface
Use the sandpaper piece to roughen the area around the leak. When you do this, you ensure the patch bonds securely with the boat’s material. But be very careful not to over-scrub the surface. That way, you can avoid additional damage, especially if you use rough sandpaper.
4. Prepare the Patch
Take the vinyl or PVC material and cut down a piece that beautifully covers the damaged area. Make sure the patch is bigger than the damage. You can cut a round or rectangular patch, depending on the damage, so you can cover it before adhesion. Ideally, rounded patches provide better adhesion, but sometimes rectangular shapes work better on the damage.
5. Apply the Adhesive Material
The adhesive materials are something like glue but made to perform durable patching when it comes to Coleman inflatable boats. You can buy it as a separate product, or find it in the pre-ready patching kit.
The thing is, you need to put the adhesive material around the leak, and also on the patch. Use a brush to make it even, and wait for a few seconds before putting the patch over the leak. Some kits come with an adhesive applicator, so you can use it to smoothen the sticky material before patching the leak.
6. Place the Patch Carefully
When placing the patch over the leak, you need to make sure there aren’t bubbles trapped between the surfaces. That way you ensure the patching is done properly. If needed, put some pressure over the leak, to make sure adhesive works properly.
Entirely cover the damaged area, and make sure there is enough patching around it. That way you make a durable patch that extends your boat’s lifespan for many years, or even maybe decades.
7. Let it Cure
Once you’re done with placing the patch, you need to patiently wait until the adhesive cures. It may take a few hours, or maybe days before using the inflatable boat again.
8. Test for Eventual Leaks
Re-inflate the Coleman boat once the curing and sealing are done. Check if there is air escaping from the boat. You may spot additional leaks once the most visible one is fixed. Repeat the process if needed, lowering any risk of further damage.
Additional Useful Tips
Now you know how to patch a leak on your Coleman inflatable boat, but there are still more things to learn. In general, we recommend using original products to patch the leaks, or at least quality ones to ensure everything goes fine. Still, if you aren’t sure you can do this thing alone, you can always ask for help.
As you patch the leaks, you need to be careful not to cause any additional damage. So, put the boat on a completely clean and flat surface, and be very careful as you scrub with the sandpaper.
If you follow all of the described steps, you can easily resolve any issue with your Coleman boat, ensuring no damage will occur in the near future. If you own a Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak and encounter a puncture during your adventure, knowing how to patch a leak in your watercraft can be a lifesaver.
Repairing an inflatable boat is a skill every boat owner should have. Or at least, the patching kit, as this guide will help you successfully fix the damage, even if you do it alone for the first time.
We recommend regularly inspecting your boat to detect potential leaks and make the repairs on time, ensuring you extend the boat’s life for many years that come.