How to patch a dinghy leak
Sometimes one person’s misfortune turns out to be another’s blessing. In this case, our discovering a second dinghy leak (we patched the first one the other day) allowed us the opportunity to film this video. If you’ve never been forced to patch a leaky dinghy, hopefully this will help you.
First, it should go without saying that you should read the instructions on whatever adhesive that you will be using. Secondly, I’d suggest wearing gloves when working with adhesive and acetone. Do as I say and not as I do!
Step by step:
- Inflate the dinghy until it is hard.
- Locate the leak by spraying a soap solution on the dinghy. Look for bubbles.
- Once the leak is located, cut a patch to fit over it, leaving plenty of extra room around it.
- Mark the dinghy where the patch will go.
- Sand the marked area until it is coarse, like felt.
- Sand the back of the patch until it is similarly rough.
- Clean the sanded areas with acetone.
- Let some air out of the dinghy until it is a bit soft.
- Measure out an appropriate amount of 2-part adhesive. Yes, you must use 2-part adhesive!
- Add the proper amount of hardener. It is difficult to be really exact in these measurements but do your best.
- Stir the mixture well. Our friend Ken would suggest that you count to 100!
- Apply a thin coating of mixed adhesive to the back side of the patch.
- Start a timer.
- Apply a thin coating of mixed adhesive to the dinghy, inside the area that you have marked for the repair.
- After the proper amount of time has elapsed (check adhesive directions), add a 2nd coat of adhesive to the patch.
- Reset the timer.
- Add a 2nd coat of adhesive to the dinghy.
- After the proper amount of time has elapsed, affix the patch to the dinghy, smoothing out any bubbles.
- Tap the patch repeatedly with a hammer or mallet.
- Cover the patch with tape.
- Cover the entire patched area with plastic to protect against rain.
- Wait 24-48 hours before re-inflating (check adhesive directions for required time).
The last step is very important as it takes time for the adhesive to fully cure itself. Before you begin this process, make sure that you are prepared to be without a dingy until the proper amount of time has elapsed. We filmed this video yesterday morning, and plan to remain on board the boat until tomorrow.