Winter is a great time to pull out your Takacat (if not in use) and get it ready for the up and coming season. Whether you are getting ready your inflatable boat, kayak, paddle board or Takadoc, we recommend pulling it out, setting it up follow a few important steps to ensure it's in good condition and safe to use. Here's a guide to help you prepare your inflatable boat:
Clean the Boat: When cleaning your inflatable, we recommend using our Takacat Boat Cleaner and a soft brush or sponge. Our cleaner is formulated for use on PVC inflatable boats and has a salt repellent formulated into the product as well as a UV additive built in. It’s like sunscreen for your boat! Otherwise mild soapy water will do the trick in most cases. Dry off with a towel or leaf blower before folding and packing away. Pay attention to areas with dirt, grime, or salt residue especially in moving parts such as the rowlocks and transom. Rinse it thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Make sure not to use any cleaner that is caustic or solvent based or brushes that could damage the boat's surface.
Inspect for Damage: Thoroughly inspect your boat for any signs of damage, including leaks, tears, or punctures. Inflate the boat and spray a soapy water solution over its surface. If you see bubbles forming, it indicates air leakage. Patch up any holes or leaks using a repair kit designed for inflatable boats.
Check Valves and Air Chambers: Inspect the valves for any signs of wear or damage. Ensure they are properly sealed and not leaking air and nip them all up. Inflate each air chamber separately and check for leaks. There is a short video showing how to do this on our website under the resource section. Use your Valve Spanners that came with your boat. If any valves or air chambers need replacement, check our online store as we are have all replacement parts available online.
Verify Oars, Paddles, and Seats: Examine the condition of your boat's oars, paddles, and seats. Ensure they are free from cracks, splits, or other damage. If required, clean and lubricate any metal parts, and replace any damaged components.
Inspect and Prepare Safety Equipment: Check that your safety equipment is in good working condition and up to date. This includes life jackets, flares, a whistle, a first aid kit, and a throwable flotation device. Replace or replenish any expired or damaged items.
Lubricate Moving Parts: Apply a small amount of silicone-based lubricant to your Rowlock Pins and to your transom bolts. And doesn't hurt to spray a bit of lubricant on your rails and wheels and then wipe off with a rag to leave a bit of surface protection. Don’t forget any other moving parts such as oarlocks, hinges, and valves. This helps prevent rust and ensures smooth operation.
Inflate the Boat Properly: Inflate your boat to the recommended pressure specified in your manual. Avoid over-inflation, as it can cause stress on the seams. Use a high-quality air pump with a pressure gauge for accurate inflation.
Winter is a good time to send your outboard in for its annual service and to maintain its warranty.
Test on Water: Before heading out on your first summer adventure, perform a test run in calm waters. Ensure the boat is stable, and there are no unexpected leaks or issues. Take note of any handling or stability concerns and address them accordingly.
Store Properly: When not in use, store your inflatable boat in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Avoid folding it tightly for long periods, as it can damage the material. A great tip is to make sure you assemble your two transom boards with the two washer, rubber washers and eye bolt and pack in the bag so its all together. Use a boat cover or a protective storage bag to shield it from dust and debris.
Doing all of the above will ensure a smooth start to your boating season.
Remember to always follow safety guidelines. Enjoy your summer adventures on the water with your inflatable boat!