When making an investment in a belly boat you want to ensure you get a long useful life out of your purchase.
Here are a few tips and steps you can take to keep your float tube functional for years of use and enjoyment.
It’s important to know that your elevation and air temperature can affect an inflated belly boat.
As air heats it expands so leaving your belly boat sitting in the back of a truck or on a shoreline exposed to direct sunlight for any period of time MAY cause a fully inflated float to burst. Float tubes, in the water, are not at issue.
If you find you’ve inadvertently exposed a dry inflated float to direct sunlight then just let a little of the air out.
This is a no-brainer but worth mentioning anyway — do not place your belly boat on, below or near sharp or heavy objects. When possible, transport in the belly boat’s duffle or wrapped in a tarp to protect against puncture.
Placing heavy objects on a deflated float tube in transport can impact the structural integrity and waterproofing of the material used in the assembly of the boat — and always remember to keep the valve caps in place.
Damaging Agents and Cleaning your Belly Boat
There are a number of damaging agents that can ruin your investment if your belly boat float tube is not properly maintained. The waterproof coating and the polyurethane in the Denier nylon material is not invincible against these sometimes unassuming offenders:
- UV extended exposure
- Insect repellents
- Corrosive oils, solvents
After each use it is recommended that you rinse off all debris while the boat is inflated and let it air dry out of direct sunlight. For short term storage, the float tube can simply be deflated and rolled.
Long term storage requires a little more maintenance. The boat should be cleaned with mild soap and water and this includes the zippers for any storage. Cleaning the zippers (a great place for mold and mildew to form) with an old toothbrush is an easy way to remove any debris and will promote continued smooth operation. Again air drying — out of direct sunlight is best.
If you choose to store inflated, then some air needs to be let out of the float tube so you can pinch one inch of material. It should not be stored at inflated operating pressure that may stress the fabric.
For a deflated belly boat, when thoroughly dry, roll and store in the boat’s duffle away from sharp or heavy objects in a cool dry location.
There may be some residual water in the bladders or air cells that will not affect the belly boat.