A majority of today’s best towable inflatables are created by using PVC and/or vinyl. Although these materials are heavy-duty in nature and can often support multiple riders, over time their seams can begin to degrade and come apart. You might also encounter a puncture issue with your towable tube.
When this happens, you can save a lot of cash by knowing how to patch a towable tube. It is also important to make the repair stick the first time around, since multiple partial repairs can actually make the towable tube become unsalvageable.
Here are the steps that you are going to want to follow.
- Make sure the towable tube repair site is clean. You’ll want to thoroughly clean the tube so that the repair materials will be able to do their job. Using warm water and mild dish soap will often get the job done. This applies to a seam that has popped or a puncture location. Clean all around the area to avoid contamination. Then allow the towable tube to air dry for 6-8 hours.
- Purchase a patching kit if necessary. If you have holes or tears that are not along the seam of your towable tube, then you’ll need to have a patching kit available to cover the area. The best kits will allow you to cut the patch to any size, be self-adhesive, and not pull off when being stretched.
We prefer the Tear Aid Patch Kit from O’Brien Watersports for this.
- Apply the adhesive. If you have a self-adhesive patch, then skip this step. Otherwise you’ll need to apply your PVC or vinyl adhesive to the affected area of the towable tube. Apply it directly to the seam if necessary or directly around the hole or tear in the tube.
If you are repairing a seam, spread the adhesive along the entire seam with a flat stick. Do not spread adhesive with your fingers. Then compress the seams together overnight for the repair to take hold.
- Apply your patch. If you are going to apply a patch which has self-adhesive, cut the materials to size and then apply over the hole or tear. For patches that require you to apply adhesive, place the adhesive along the entire outer edge of the patch. This will combine with the adhesive placed around the puncture or tear to create a firm bond.
Follow drying directions on your patching kit. If no drying times are recommended, allow 24 hours for the adhesive to properly cure. You may wish to wait up to 72 hours after the repair to take your patched towable tube out onto the water.
- Inspect your patch for results. Some repairs may not completely take on the first time around. Fill in any holes with a second patch or more adhesive and repeat the drying process. You will also want to clean the threads of your adhesive tube and freeze any unused part of it to get the most out of your adhesive.
Knowing how to patch a towable tube will help you keep your investment afloat without the cost of purchasing a new inflatable. Follow these steps to get the results you need.