There is no joy in putting away toys for the season, yet taking proper steps to store your inflatable boat will prolong its life for years to come

Whether your raft, cataraft, paddleboard or inflatable kayak is coated with hypalon, urethane, PVC or any other synthetic rubber, there are steps to ensure the craft is in ship-shape condition season after season.

The steps are basic, but essential:

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When the dog days of summer wind down and spirits get deflated over the prospect of the end to the floating season, it’s good to remember that spring is just a ski season away.Tiona Eversole

First, remove all the dirt, sand and grime from the surface as well as all its cracks and crevasses. With a cloth or large scrub pad, clean the boat using an inflatable boat cleaner or mild dish soap. Hanging the boat, cataraft pontoons or paddleboard can facilitate cleaning and drying.

Once clean and dry, apply a coat of 303 Protectant to the entire surface of the boat to help protect the coating and have it in good shape for next floating season. If you notice any scrim shots or places where the coating is worn or exposing fabric, repair it on the spot with an Aquaseal adhesive.

Inflatable boat maintenance
Hanging your inflatable kayak, paddleboard, raft or cataraft pontoons will facilitate cleaning, drying and protectant application.Jan Nesset

If you have the room, store your boat partially deflated and cover it with a tarp — and off the floor, if possible. If space is limited, deflate the boat after it has dried from its cleaning. Then loosely roll it to avoid getting kinks in the material which could produce a puncture, leak or weakened spot. If possible, store the boat out of the weather and sun. If you store your boat outside, cover it with a tarp. Regardless of where the boat is stored, covering it with a tarp is a good idea.

Adventure Pro Magazine - inflatable maintenance
Whether you store your inflatable inside or outside it’s a good idea to cover your inflatable with a tarp as an added measure of protection.Jan Nesset

Rodents have been known to chew on the fabric of a stored boat, creating tremendous damage, especially those placed on the ground. If you have no other choice but to store your boat where rodents may dwell, hang the boat, place it in a tub or drum, use repellents, tarp it securely or employ live traps.

inflatables maintenance
If you have the room, store your inflatables off the floor where they’re safe from rodents and random impacts.Jan Nesset