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How to Launch an Inflatable Boat

How to Launch an Inflatable Boat

How to Launch an Inflatable Boat: Whether you are using your boat for fishing, day trips to find right swimming spots or even treating your loved ones to dinner on a boat on a warm summer evening, in one way or another you will need to get the boat from dry land into the water.

Before an inflatable boat is launched into the water, it is just a pile of fabric and boards. When assembled, the boards and material are what the inflatable boat becomes. There are different methods to launch a boat into the water and this depends on many factors. It could be determined by the size of the boat, the depth of the waters or generally what option you are seeking to test out as you adventure on the waters.

Inflatable Boat Assembly:

Assembling the inflatable boat is quite easy and involves few steps, which come with a manual on the purchase and can be done at home. There are just a few pieces to put together hence the ease of assembly.

Roll out the boat on a flat inspected surface free of any sharp objects. This is to ensure the sharp objects don’t damage the boat’s fabric.

Locate the boat’s valves. The valves allow air in on one end. The other end is usually capped. The pipes are what provides air into the chambers when inflating the boat.

With the valves located, you can easily pump air into the chambers and soon the inflatable boat will starting taking shape.

Inflating the boat:

Once the parts have been identified and assembled, it is time to inflate the boat, ready for a sail.

Using a hand pump or a shop vac, inflate the boat. This is best done in an area free of dust so that you are not blowing dust into the tubes. Hold the edge of the vac or hand pump tightly on the valve to give enough seal so that air does not escape when pumping.

Inflate up to 70% full so that you getting the floorboards onto the board won’t be difficult. When the chambers are not very tight with air, it will be easier to tuck the floorboard under the edges of the tubes.

Place the paddles on each edge of the floorboards.

After the installation of all these parts, you can now fill your boat with air. You can use a hand help pressure gauge to check the pressure of the valves when pumping the air. Once fully pumped, replace your valve caps to ensure the chambers won’t lose air.

Now you are ready to put on the seats, install the motor and launch the boat into the water.

Mounting the motor involves just placing it well on the transom and tightening up its clamps.

What to Know Before Launching the Boat:

Everyone on board must have a coast guard approved personal flotation device.

Different boat sizes can be launched on different locations. Larger boats will require a boat ramp or well-constructed docks while the smaller boats can just be launched from the shores without needing a ramp and into the water. The choice used to launch the boat depends on the waters into which the boat is being launched into. Deep waters will definitely require a ramp.

Inflatable boats come in different sizes and forms. This gives versatility in the launching process. One of the most preferred advantages of the inflatable boats is that in some, you do not require a ramp or trailer to launch. You can just go ahead and launch your boat off the bank of a river or your favorite water spot.

Depending on the size of the board, some registrations are needed. Larger boats usually need to be registered with the motor vehicle department, and the boating rules and regulations apply

Ensure before launching the inflatable boat

It is permitted in the water mass where you want to launch. For most launches, you will need to obtain a permit through the boat ramp maintenance controllers or own a copy of fishing license if you are starting the boat for fishing purposes.

Using a trailer:

Boat trailers are another way to get the boat into the water. They are mostly used for heavy, rigid inflatable boats that would otherwise be hard to move on the sand using launching wheels. With a proper boat trailer, it is easier to launch and transport the boat back to the car or storage space. The frequent use is having a car tow the trailer to areas near the water body where you want to launch your boat. Make sure the vehicle tow capacity supports both the boat weight and the trailer capacity.

What you need to know about using trailers

Beware of rust

If used on fresh water, there is a minimal worry for rusting as compared to using the trailer on salty water. When using salty water, make sure the trailer is well galvanized or purchase one made of rust-free material. Wash off the trailer with fresh water if you were using it in salty water to protect it from rusting.

Make sure the trailer fits

Trailers have size limits and are designed to carry varying boat sizes. Make sure the boat transom sits well on the deck. The trailer should support the boat capacity. Check the trailer tire pressure frequently.

Using launch wheels:

This is yet another launch option. Way better when you do not need to purchase the slightly bulky trailers. The wheels are easy to set up and in some cases, the boats are purchased together with the launch wheels. If you don’t have any, and want some, here are the best launching wheels for inflatable boats on Amazon.

The wheels are usually attached to the transom of the boat and make it easier to move the boat into the water from dry land. Using the launching wheels, you can move a heavy boat with minimal help on flat grounds and even on moderate slopes. These wheels are made such that they can move the boat even with the weight added by the slightly heavy boat motor.

Make sure you buy wheels that will support the weight of the boat and the motor combined.

The launching wheels are such that they have flip-up design underwater. When you have launched the inflatable boat into the water, fold the wheels and get sailing. Depending on the type of the wheels, you can either flip them up to a fold or remove them entirely. The flipping wheels are a better option as you will not need to reinstall them when you come ashore. The downside of flipping is that the wheels can get in the way while underway and in such a case, the removable launching wheels are a better option

What to check before buying launching wheels:

  • Make sure the wheels are rated for the weight of your boat
  • Check the size of the wheels as this affects how the wheels are used
  • Small diameter wheels are hard to roll across soft surfaces like sand, large diameter wheels turn better on sand so make sure the wheels have a more significant diameter when using fine gravel

Things that will make your boat launching easy:

Boat launch etiquette is a key thing when it comes to launching boats on the boat ramps. There are few rules that boaters need to know when launching the boats so that the process is more straightforward and calm practiced during the launch.

Before getting to the ramp or area near water:

  • Hook up the fuel line to the motor
  • Raise the motor
  • Inspect the ramp. How steep is the slope and how deep is the water
  • Ensure you have practiced reverse driving as most boats launched a boat ramp and with a trailer towed on the vehicle will need this. Practice this beforehand to ensure the vehicle doesn’t end up in the water during the launch.
  • Load up all the equipment before getting to the ramp. This will save everyone’s time as the ramp is a publicly shared space.

While on the launch ramp:

  • Guide the boat well into the water
  • Park vehicle and trailer away from the ramp when you have the boat into the water
  • Have a crew member near the dock to guide you on how to move and position the trailer as you launch the boat into the water.
  • Remove tie downs that secure the boat to the trailer. You can get assistance from a crew member to do this.
  • Slowly back the boat into the water until it starts to float

How to launch a boat alone on the ramp

If you are a single launcher, these are the steps to take while on the ramp:

  • Back boat into the water till it starts to float
  • Release the winch line and use the bow to guide the boat off the trailer
  • Tie the boat to the dock, remove the vehicle from the ramp
  • Pack the car away from the ramp so that you do not block other people who will need to use the ramp after you

Launching the boat with two or more people

If during launch you are two or more people, things even get easier!

One sits in the boat while the other controls the vehicle and the trailer. The other person can just be a potter as you tow the boat into the water and back the trailer down the ramp.

 

It is easier to launch an inflatable boat compared to other boats because it has less capacity compared to the drift boats. Let me know in the comments if this has helped you during your inflatable boat launch!

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