How Long Do PVC Inflatable Boats Last?

Water sports or trips are enjoyable to watch from the shore. But they're even more fun if you have PVC inflatable boats to partake in such adventures.

Inflatable boats are the best option if your boating intentions aren’t for serious travels. They're easy to transport and store while remaining ideal for water games or short water trips.

But what's the life expectancy for a PVC inflatable boat? This question is prevalent for first-time buyers looking to get long-term value for their money.

This blog answers how long your inflatable boat will likely last. Here, we'll also highlight factors influencing your new PVC boat’s lifespan.

How Long Will Your Inflatable Boat Last?

An inflatable boat of good quality and with regular maintenance can stay working for 5-10 years. Location and maintenance quality are the primary factors determining their useful life span.

Several variables also play a role in how long your PVC inflatable boat lasts. Such factors include the fabric's quality, the seams' construction, maintenance habit and storage conditions.

PVC has come a long way. But an inflatable boat's durability is still affected by factors including UV deterioration.

For example, PVC shouldn't be in the sun for too long. This caution is because additives can migrate to its surface and break down the adhesive. Also, inflatables may be negatively affected by humid weather conditions.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not the PVC material that'll wear out. Instead, the glue securing the various trim pieces, seams, and transom often dissolve first.

Related Article: Where to Buy an Inflated Boat?

Factors That Determine Your PVC Inflatable Boat’s Lifespan

Three factors significantly affect how long your inflatable boats last. And they're as follows:

Storage in Places with High Humidity

Your inflatable boat's lifespan may drop to about two years if you live in a tropical region. This assertion further stands if you continually keep your boat uncovered.

PVC loses flexibility and becomes more brittle when subject to prolonged sunlight and high temperatures.

Sure, the best PVC inflatable boats have more robust joints. But the transom and any additional component may deteriorate with time. You can only mitigate against this degradation if you keep the boat in a climate-controlled space.

Storage in Locations with Low Temperatures

PVC boats are less likely to suffer damage from the sun in places with milder winters and summers. Generally, inflatable boats stored in these environments can last 5-10 years.

However, PVC can become brittle and unbending after exposure to subfreezing temperatures. In addition, the boat's fabric can shatter if you force it to fold when it's too stiff.

The possibility of this problem increases when your inflatable boat is rolled up after use without drying. That's why it's advisable to dry your PVC boats before dismantling your inflatable boat.

PVC Boat Construction Material

Typically, inflatable boat manufacturers use multilayer polyvinyl chloride (PVC) strengthened with a polyester thread mesh. Synthetic polymer fabrics have more excellent performance characteristics compared to natural rubber.

This sort of material is essential in the summer on open water. It's impervious to engine lubricants and gasoline. Synthetic polymer fabrics also offer top-notch wear resistance. And unlike natural rubber, it isn't susceptible to UV radiation or rust.

PVC boats with synthetic polymer material will likely last longer than the average lifespan. On the other hand, non-reinforced PVC inflatable boats have shorter lifespans but are still reasonably durable.

You can have boats made of awning material or even rubber. But in terms of quality, they rank dead last.

Cunning inflatable boat sellers may try to sell the inferior materials to you as the superior ones. Therefore, caution is needed if you want longevity for your inflatable boat.

Design Features to Make PVC Inflatable Boats Last Long

Look out for the following features before buying new inflatable boats.

Tubes

An excellent inflatable boat's tubes are separated into airtight portions. This feature makes the vessel not only reliable. But also kind of unsinkable if a single part fails.

Bottom

Good PVC inflatable boats typically have a level bottom. They're made from a single piece of PVC material fastened around the tubes' exterior. A removable deck is installed on top of the stringers for added strength.

This deck usually comprises moisture-resistant film-faced plywood, a folding floor (sole-book), or aluminum.  Also available is "Air-deck," a high-pressure inflatable floor. A strong deck means the boat's hull is more stable, safer, and practical.

Transom

Another thing which makes an inflatable boat last is its transom. Top-quality inflatable boats incorporate a rigid transom for attaching the outboard motor and the closed-perimeter PVC hull.

In the boat's rear, the PVC fabric and transom are joined symmetrically and without any skew. Good transoms are usually made of aluminum or plywood laminated with a moisture-resistant coating.

Maintenance Tips to Make Your Inflatable Boat Last Long

Questions like "how long does an inflatable boat last?" usually depend on how well you care for the boats.

You may increase an inflatable PVC's lifespan by performing a few basic maintenance steps before and after each use:

  • Get protective sheaths for your boat
  • Keep your boat in an area with a controlled temperature
  • Avoid using highly sharp objects on or in it
  • Clean the boat from time to time.

Related Article: How to Repair an Inflatable Boat

In Short

PVC boats can last up to 10 years. But as discussed in this article, how long a new inflatable boat lasts depends on different factors.

However, you only need to get the purchase right and consider the variables earlier explained. Then, follow the recommended PVC maintenance tips above to boost your boat’s effective lifespan and reduce the need for repairs. 

We at Perun Outdoors have the best inflatable boats and kayaks for your water adventures. Check out our catalogue of inflatable boats — each one with a 5+ years guarantee.