Choosing and maintaining yacht inflatables
Last updated: 08/03/2018
Superyacht inflatable toys have become a fundamental part of the yachting experience, and toys are getting better and better, every year. Yachting Pages has worked with leading inflatable experts to give crew tips on how to minimise the effort needed in setting up and storing the items, as well as maximising the lifespan of the inflatable.
What are the challenges with big inflatables?
The sight of a waterslide off the upper deck of a superyacht would take anybody back to the simple pleasures of being a child. However, yacht crew develop a different feeling; they will tell you that the sight of any inflatable toy whether it’s a 50ft waterslide, a giant ‘blob’ or inflatable jet ski fills them with dread.
It is not because they’ve lost the ability to have fun but because of the sheer difficulty of preparing the toy and the pain-staking effort needed to stow it back away.
David Gould from Akula Yachts identified some of the main issues crew have with large yacht inflatables is that they are:
- Very bulky and take up a lot of room to stow. They are especially difficult to put away when wet.
- Dependent on air availability, it can take a long time to inflate the toys and an even longer time to deflate them. (Think how long it takes to squeeze all the air out of a single airbed or lifejacket).
- They can be very difficult to repair without leaving a visible patch. Most guests will not approve of a slide that looks visibly worn.
However, there are innovative companies that realise these issues and are working on solutions that will directly help crew.
What can crew do to make life on board easier?
Look for innovation and make recommendations
Yacht slides can vary in size, but the largest is reported to be 41ft long, weighing a hefty 1,850kg. A slide that size could take easily upwards of an hour and half to inflate and set up and even longer to stow away.
However new technology is available to help crew save valuable time and energy; leading superyacht inflatables company FunAir has a patent pending for their RapidFlate technology, which they claim, can pump up a waterslide in a fraction of the time. A captain would welcome a pro-active crewmember who gave recommendations that could save the crew time.
Most maintenance issues arise due to crew mishandling or a certain mishap occurring; therefore making sure that crew know exactly how to set up, clean and safely stow away the equipment is vital. Most toy manufactures will install the slide and therefore can optimise crew handling and storage.
FunAir suggests seven ways to ensure that yacht inflatables last and remain fit for purpose:
- Rinse - Always rinse toys with fresh water as soon as the fun is done.
- Drying prevents mildew.
- Check D ring mounts before storing and before set up to ensure they aren’t pulling away, tearing or rusting.
- Check for leaks and tears. To find the leak, look over and check around the valve by applying a soapy solution to the area. Any leaks will create bubbles. This could be an indication that the valve needs to be tightened.
- Check ropes to ensure knots are properly tied and there’s no fraying.
- Inspect fasteners to ensure they are in good shape and not rusting.
- Never use a carabineer. The sharp edge can cut the vinyl.