Inflatable Boats Life Expectancy (Average)

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Inflatable boats are becoming more popular by the day as boaters seek out cheaper but durable sea vessels. When inflatable boats were first introduced, there was a lot of skepticism about it by many boaters who felt they were not stable enough. But as time went on, they began to warm up to the idea of inflatable boats. If you are thinking of getting one for your leisure or fishing trips, you need to know the life expectancy of inflatable boats.

Read in to find out more.

Inflatable boat life expectancy

Experienced boaters and manufacturers will tell you that an average inflatable boat can last 10 to 15 years. However, this number is by no means absolute because several factors can impact a boat’s lifespan. Factors like the way it is stored, materials used, the way it is made may impact just how long the boat will last. Some materials last longer than others, so if you buy a low-quality boat, it may not even last for 10 years.

Factors that affect the longevity of inflatable boats

There are many factors that affect a boat’s lifespan. If you know what these factors are and leverage the knowledge to make your pick, you may end up with a boat that may even last up to 20 years. That is why reading articles like this is so important.

Let us look at some of these factors


How and where you store your boat will determine how long it will remain durable. Store it in a safe enclosure away from the sun, and it will last long. Expose it to the sun and other weather elements, and the fabric will gradually degrade.

Sunlight degrades inflatables, especially when the boat is directly exposed to it for a long time. While you can’t protect it when it is on water, you can protect it when not in use. You should also store it in a location where there is cross ventilation. Excess heat is bad for your boat. Lastly, don’t place heavy items in it when in your store as that will weaken the fabric.


If you don’t clean it regularly but leave it to the mercy of dust, it will not fulfill its duration potential. Make it a habit to wash it with clean water as often as possible to rid it of dust. Spraying it with UV protective gunk will protect it from UV rays when you are out in the open. More importantly, inspect every part to be sure there is no damage during cleaning. If there is, conduct repairs fast before the damage gets worse.


The material of your inflatable boat will also determine its life expectancy. Most inflatables are made with two major materials. Some are made of Hypalon, and others are made of PVC. Let us look at them individually.


PVC is a cheaper low-quality material, so boats made with them are relatively more affordable. This material is basically a synthetic Polymer plastic, but it is sun sensitive. Its vulnerability to UV reduces its lifespan. Some PVC boats last for only 2 years if used poorly, but with careful use and regular maintenance, they can last for up to 10 years.


Hypalon is a much more durable material than PVC. This synthetic rubber is also called Orca or Nitrillion, and it is sun resistant. If you use a Hypalon inflatable boat well, it can last up to 15 years.

So as you can see, the material quality also plays a major role in determining just how long your boat will last. If you go for Hypalon, your boat can last for a very long time with regular maintenance.


Boats have seams like clothes. The seam is the point where two or more materials are joined and stitched or welded. The quality of materials used to hold the fabric in place will determine how long they will hold. If glue is used, it will gradually degrade under sun exposure, and in a few years, it will wear off. And glue it the material of choice for PVC boats. This best explains why they have a much shorter lifespan.

How to extend the lifespan of your inflatable boat

If you want to extend the lifespan of your inflatable boat, there are certain steps you can take. But before anything, you need to buy a very good one in the first place. You have a choice between Hypalon and PVC. Hypalon lasts longer but is more expensive than PVC

If you can afford Hypalon, then buy it, but if not, PVC is not a bad choice. Besides, even if you go for Hypalon and misuse it, it will not last very long. Whichever one you go for, just make sure it is durable and manufactured by a major brand.

With that out of the way, here are some steps you can take.

Regular maintenance

Always clean your boat before or after you use it. This will keep it clean until your next use. If you don’t use it for a long time, still clean it all the same. Grime, dust, and stains can smear it and trigger material decay. Regularly rinsing it with fresh water will keep it clean.

In addition, you can use a cleaning solution suitable for the boat’s material. After running it, wait for the water to drain, then clean with a dry cloth. Also, ensure that the floor is equally dry. Drying it will prevent mold buildup

Don’t leave it in the open

Do not leave your boat in the open when not in use. Exposure to sun and weather elements will increase material degradation and decrease the lifespan. In addition, UV rays are bad for your boat.

Store in a ventilated shed

Storing your boat is not enough; you need to ensure the shed is ventilated because heat is also bad for the fabric. If you don’t want to deflate it after use, just make sure you store it in a ventilated area.

Avoid rough areas

Where you store, your boat is just as important as the areas you navigate. It is true that Hypalon and PVC are tough, but they are not as tough as hard materials like wood, steel, and other hard materials. So use the boat with care and avoid sharp rocky areas that may puncture the fabric.

Life expectancy of inflatable boat FAQ

1.      How long can my inflatable boat last?

Your inflatable boat may last for 5-15 years, depending on the quality of build materials, mode of use, and other factors.

2.      Do UV rays damage inflatable boats?

Yes, it does.

3.      Which lasts longer; Hypalon inflatable boats or PVC inflatable boats?

Hypalon boats last longer because they are more durable.

Last updated: 27/03/2022

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