Do you know “how long do Zodiac boats actually last?” Are you looking for a boat that is safe, reliable, and has proven to last for years? If so, you should consider purchasing a Zodiac boat. For decades, these vessels have been the vessel of choice for commercial and recreational boaters.
In this blog post, Scott Ewart will discuss the lifespan of Zodiac boats. Moreover, we also provide information about different ways to prolong the Zodiac boat’s lifespan. So, we have started right now!
How long do Zodiac boats last?
Zodiac boats are built to last with their heavy-duty construction and superior design. So, how long does a zodiac boat last? They typically have a service life of up to 15 years or more when properly maintained. It even lasts more than 20 years if it is well preserved and made with high quality. In the case of little good and proper care, it only lasts 5 years.
Lifespan of PVC boat
Inflatable items made from high-grade materials that are well maintained will last between 5 and 10 years. Although PVC has significantly improved over the years, UV exposure still plays a role in determining its longevity.
PVC compounds can migrate to the surface of inflatables and damage their adhesive. Especially, this is damaged faster when it is exposed to prolonged UV radiation, high temperatures, and humidity. This will speed up the breakdown of any glue-bonded attachments, transoms, or seams faster.
Once the adhesive wears out, the fabric can still be utilized. However, all other components that maintain the boat’s integrity and are added to it must be replaced. This is often more expensive than buying a brand new vessel. Glue repairs may also need additional funds.
Hot-air welded seams make your boat last longer. Hot air welds melt fabric together without adhesive or friction.
Lifespan of Hypalon boat (CSM boat)
The average life expectancy of CSM is 10–15 years, but it can last even longer. Boat adhesives are known to reduce their useful lifespan. However, the chemical constitution of CSMs allows them to resist UV radiation, extreme temperatures,…
CSM boats are sought after by tropical sailors because of their longevity in humid climates. Although the fabric is robust, it does not have UV protection. If exposed to excessive heat and sunlight, the adhesive will become damaged. As a result, it can lead to more frequent top-offs as well as glue deterioration.
Top factors affecting the lifespan of a Zodiac boat
Materials used to manufacture the boat
The zodiac boat is made from two main materials: hypalon and PVC.
Hypalon: This is a superior fabric that offers superior performance and durability. It is also resistant to abrasions, tears, and chemicals.
PVC: Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is less expensive than Hypalon and has a good resistance to wear. However, it has less resistance against UV light and other environmental factors, which can cause it to degrade over time.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one type of thermoplastic polymer that is currently penetrating many aspects of life through its wide use, and has become a universal polymer.
All Zodiacs are manufactured from Strongan, a PVC. Hypalon versions were popular before 1968. Unless the yacht was manufactured before 1968, Stabond will be needed for DIY repairs on the PVC boat. Hypalon glue is used for Hypalon models.
How to distinguish a PVC or Hypalon boat
The outside and the inside of the Hypalon boat will each be a distinct color. In contrast to the PVC boat, which will have the same color on all sides.
Have rips or leaks
Inflatables made of pliable material are particularly susceptible to sharp objects. You should be mindful with knives and screwdrivers as they could easily puncture the fabric. PVC fabric perforations may be repaired easily. Repair conditions and materials are crucial (i.e., no or low humidity and a cleaned surface).
Rocks or any other submerged objects can cause damage to the sterns of rigid inflatables, yet only cuts and punctures make them leak. If your Zodiac is leaking, it’s a sign that the bottom-hull joint may be compromised.
Welding hull and stern seam failures
When it comes to inflatable products like Strangan Zodiacs, most PVC experts prefer welding over glueing. Welded seams are characteristic of PVC material, while Hypalon employs bonded seam technology.
A Zodiac’s transom has delaminated.
The transom of a rigid inflatable is the most vulnerable part of any Zodiac. Usually, it’s built from wood and then encased in fiberglass. Moisture can cause the wood to rot or delaminate, making it liable to break apart. In this case, a professional repair may be necessary to ensure the boat’s longevity.
PVC is more sensitive to UV than Hypalon. A model like the Zodiac can degrade in three years if left in the sun.
Differences between glued-seam and welded-seam boat models
Boat with welded seam
The welding technology is the most advanced of all inflatable boats. The welded seam creates a permanent bond between two pieces of fabric and prevents any leaks or weakening of seams. This makes the boat more durable than other types, and it can last up to 25 years with proper care. It also provides great load capacity, strength, and stability.
Welding melts the edges of the two PVC pieces where they meet, fusing them together into one solid piece. The strength of a thermo-welded seam is remarkable, as it can endure tremendous stress over an indefinite period of time. This means that the weld will last forever!
Boat with glued seam
When parts are stuck together, the glue will wear out after a while and come loose. It depends on what kind of glue was used and how the boat was used and kept. The average lifespan can be between two and twenty years.
You should also know that Hypalon, which is made of rubber, can only be glued, while PVC can be either glued or welded.
Regardless of the type of boat, it is important to make sure that the adhesive used provides a strong bond. A good quality glue will help extend the life of your inflatable boat.
Different ways to prolong the Zodiac boat’s lifespan
Use a boat cover
A boat cover is one of the best ways to protect your inflatable boat from UV radiation and other environmental damage. A good-quality, waterproof cover will provide protection against the sun, wind, rain, snow, and dirt.
A boat cover for being attached to a boat includes a canvas, at least one pole supporting the canvas, and at least one strap. The boat cover is arranged to be attached to the boat only using the at least one strap.
It is highly recommended to protect your PVC and Hypalon boats from UV rays, as they can cause extensive damage. If you have a dinghy stored outside, either partially or fully inflated, it’s best to use a boat cover for ultimate protection.
Regular cleaning with mild soap and water will help prolong the life of your inflatable boat. To prevent the spread of unwelcome aquatic hitchhikers, as well as to stop mold and algae growth, you can use biodegradable soap with freshwater while boating.
Keeping your PVC inflatable boat clean is essential for its longevity. Contaminants can easily seep into the fabric and cause it to age prematurely, so keeping them in pristine condition will extend both their fabric and glue lives.
Many products protect PVC textiles. However, overusing this protectant might harm PVC. Maximize your boating experience and make the most of it by using this product no more than twice a year to launch or store your boat.
Protect your inflatable boat and prolong its life with antifouling paint. This special protective coating shields against the buildup of algae, barnacles, mussels, and more to keep your dinghy in excellent condition for years to come.
Store in a place with a consistent temperature place
Extreme temperatures can cause your boat to swell, shrink, damage seams, and age fabric quickly. So, keeping the fabric of your inflatable boat at the same temperature will help it last longer.
The recommended place is in a closet, cellar, or garage to preserve it. Heat and humidity break the PVC adhesive. Keep it folded in a well-ventilated, dry location. Moreover, you can consult more information about guidelines for storing the inflatable boat correctly at here. After storing, here are the way to help you how to inflate a zodiac boat easily.
Method to determine the age of a used Zodiac boat
In order to tell the age of a used inflatable boat, check the manufacturer’s tag for the model year. This can usually be found on the hull of the boat or near the inflatable tube, often in a discreet location.
Additionally, inspect the boat for any wear and tear that may be indicative of age. Look for rips, tears, or other visible damage to the fabric, as well as corrosion on the metal fittings. Here are some details about HIN boats:
Advantages of Zodiac boats
Zodiac boats are known for their lightweight construction, making them easy to transport and store. Because of the way the hull is made, they can also move quickly and easily in any direction.
- They are cost-effective, making them an affordable option for those who don’t want to invest in a larger boat.
- The bottoms are some of the toughest parts of an inflatable.
- Most inflatable boats don’t handle as well as a Zodiac.
- Even when they are full, Zodiac boats are very stable.
- Although they have a short lifespan, these products are crafted with military-grade durability, ensuring that you get the most out of them.
FAQs How long do Zodiac boats last?
Is a Zodiac boat unsinkable?
Zodiac tubes boast impermeable compartments. Even when one of the chambers is uninflated, its ample air capacity renders it unsinkable even at full load.
Is Zodiac the top brand of inflatable boat?
Yes, it is. This type of boat is the perfect mix of storage, affordability, durability,… So, inflatable boats like Zodiacs are the perfect choice.
Is a Zodiac boat bumpy?
The river can get choppy, making for a thrilling yet bumpy journey. To remain in the boat, all occupants sit atop the tubes and tightly grip onto their respective rope lifelines.
How much capacity does a Zodiac boat hold?
They can move people or equipment up to 4 tons quickly and maneuverably.
How long do Zodiac boats last? It’s safe to say that Zodiac boats do have an impressive lifespan, especially if given proper care and maintenance. This boat model is known for being reliable and expertly designed, which is desirable for those looking for a lasting watercraft. If you’re considering the purchase of a Zodiac boat, this article from justaddwaterbda.com has provided you with some insight into its potential longevity. With this knowledge on your side, hopefully you can make an informed decision about how long do zodiac boats last? Best of luck and happy sailing!