Whether you prefer to seek thrills out on the water—like kayaking down the Colorado River—or you just want a lazy day out in the sun—like spending an afternoon in the neighborhood pool—inflatables will enhance your outdoor experience no matter what kind of adventurous day you plan on having. That is until you hear that slow but steady sigh of air leaking out of your pool float.

A deflating inflatable can throw a serious wrench in your plans, but with just a little bit of know-how and a few useful tools, your day out on the water can be salvaged. If your inflatable pontoon, SUP board, boat, river tube, PVC or Hypalon raft, or even your large vinyl unicorn floaty have holes in them, they can easily be repaired. All you need are some heavy-duty, waterproof repair products like a patch, glue, tape, or repair kit to permanently patch-up your inflatables.

Need to fix your low-PSI inflatable so you can get back out on the water? Here’s how to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Pinhole Leaks

Fixing a pinhole leak only takes about five minutes—and, in fact, finding the area where your inflatable is leaking may be the most time-consuming part of the process. To fix a pinhole leak in your inflatable, follow these instructions: 

Optional:

  • Bowl filled with water
  • Dish soap

Estimated Repair Time: 5 minutes.

Step 1: Locate the leak. If you already know where the leak is, you can skip right ahead to the patching step. However, if you’re unsure, a trick to finding a pinhole-sized leak on a large inflatable is to pour dish soap into a bowl filled with water. Inflate the item and then pour the soapy water all over it. When you press down on the inflatable you should see bubbles appear in the area where your leak is. Once you find it, mark it with a piece of tape or a marker.

Step 2: Patch the leak. To begin the patching process, start with a dry and deflated inflatable and clean the leak area with isopropyl alcohol. Cut a piece of clear Tenacious Tape or a Tenacious Tape Flex Patch to fit over the hole (overlapping about 1/4”). Once you’ve set it in place, peel off the backing and then apply pressure to get it to stick.

Small Holes and Tears

A small hole or tear in your inflatable doesn’t mean that you have to replace it—all you need is just five minutes and a few supplies to fix it. To fix your inflatable’s small hole or tear fast, follow these instructions:

Estimated Repair Time: 5 minutes.

Step 1: Deflate and clean. To begin your quick inflatable repair, deflate your item completely. Then, clean the small hole or tear with isopropyl alcohol.  

Step 2: Patch the leak. Patching a small leak or tear on your inflatable is simple with a quick-curing UV repair adhesive that bonds directly to the material. In a shaded area, apply the Aquaseal UV Repair Adhesive, overlapping the damaged area by at least 1/4”. Once you’ve applied the adhesive, immediately take the inflatable out in the sunlight to properly cure. After the adhesive has set, add extra protection with a clear Tenacious Tape mini patch by peeling off the back of the patch and applying it on top of the Aquaseal UV with some pressure.

Tip: Now that you’ve gotten the hang of Aquaseal UV, you can also use it to repair small holes and tears in other outdoor gear like waders and wetsuits.

Large Holes and Tears

You may think that your inflatable is ruined if it has a large hole or tear, but it can still be salvaged if you have the right tools. Though large holes and tears take longer to fix than a pinhole or small leak, you can still get your inflatable fishing or water gear back up and running in about 12 hours. To fix a large hole or tear in your inflatable, follow these instructions:

Estimated Repair Time: 5 minutes to prep and 8-12 hours to cure.

Step 1: Deflate and prep. Deflate your item and clean the repair area with isopropyl alcohol. To create a backing for easier adhesive repair, place packing or masking tape in the hole and apply pressure.

Step 2: Apply Aquaseal FD and wait. Once you’ve created your backing with tape, apply your flexible, urethane adhesive, which is part of your Aquaseal FD Repair Kit, over the hole with an overlap of 1/4" to 1/2”. Let the glue dry overnight on a level space for 8-12 hours and then it’ll be ready to use.

Tips: For a faster repair, wait for 30 minutes after applying Aquaseal FD, then place a clear Tenacious Tape patch over the adhesive. Just ensure that the patch edges only touch dry portions of the inflatable as it won’t stick to the wet adhesive. Later, for extra durability, brush additional Aquaseal FD over the edges of the patch.

Don’t let a little hole in your inflatable set you back in your water adventures! Repairing your inflatable float or boat is a fast, easy project that DIYers of any skill level can tackle with the right tool kits and know-how.

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Aquaseal FD Repair Kit

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Aquaseal UV Repair Adhesive

Aquaseal UV Repair Adhesive

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