The perimeter float is an essential element in the physiognomy of a semi-rigid or pneumatic boat. These are pressurized tubes developed with a specific technology to guarantee features such as buoyancy, flexibility and resistance. Under their appearance as simple inflatables, they have three layers of technical fabric that determine their performance: interior coating, base fabric and exterior coating. These are the ten tips that the semi-rigid specialist proposes to assess which is the most suitable material for our needs:
01 – In the market there are three types of coating material for the float: CSM, PVC and PU. Each one has its own specifications, advantages and disadvantages. A professional, objective and technical advice that considers all the options is the best way to find the right material for our boat.
02- The coating is only part of the structure of the material, and must be combined in a balanced way with the textile base to achieve a good final product. It is incorrect to claim that one material is superior to others simply because of the type of coating used.
03 –The correct evaluation of a material must include at least three variables: type of coating (CSM, PVC or PU), number of decitex (weight in grams per 10,000 meters of thread; the higher, the thicker the thread) and weight in grams per square meter (the greater the weight, the greater the amount of coverage and resistance to external factors).
04 – The textile support is the factor that provides the characteristics of mechanical resistance. Equal textile support, equal mechanical resistance, regardless of the nature of the coating.
05 – The float coating provides impermeability to air, resistance to abrasion and atmospheric elements, color options and other characteristics such as resistance to hydrocarbons and chemicals for special uses of the material. To choose the float coating, check the functions that your boat should perform and determine if there are any special requirements that need to be met.
06 – To determine the life expectancy of a boat it is essential to take into account the manufacturing process used: artisanal gluing or industrial welding. The artisan process joins the parts by cold gluing; The industrialist melts and fuses the elements by high pressure in a stable and unalterable way over time. Colloquially: “A bad weld is superior to the best gluing”.
07 – PVC and PU can be glued and glue repaired in professional repair services using the proper glue and process.
08 – Hypalon has not been applied since 2009. Its manufacture was permanently discontinued by the Dupont Corporation due to environmental pressures and the dangers involved in its application process. Neoprene and Hypalon have been replaced by the combination CR (Chloroprene) – CSM (Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene), with more or less similar characteristics.
09- The quality of a material is associated with the reliability of its manufacturer and the level of quality / price required. The choice of a material must be based on the desired life expectancy for the boat, the technical requirements to be satisfied and the available budget.
10– The longevity of a boat can only be guaranteed if the inspections and maintenance recommended by the manufacturer are followed. The boats manufactured by manual cold gluing system require the inspection of the glued seams at least once a year and apply the corresponding preventive maintenance. The repurchase value of a pneumatic or semi-rigid will be higher the better maintained and conserved your float is.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism