Restoration of a 1987 RFD Beaufort inflatable dinghy

Initial condition of the dinghy
The dinghy had been donated by a relative of the company and was seen as a perfect opportunity to test a number of our own products.

Inflation and inspection
The boat was inflated and inspected. It was obviously very grubby and showing severe signs of oxidisation to the fabric. The underside of the floor was badly scuffed with the weave of the fabric showing through in places.
Some of the patches – seat holders, outboard bracket holders, grab line holders, bow dodger ( missing ) retainers and particularly the rubbing strake were coming unstuck. These items would have to be replaced or re-glued.

Testing for pressure loss
24 hours after being inflated it was obvious that the boat was losing pressure, testing with soapy water proved that this was certainly a valve problem.
The diaphragms in the Leafield A5 valves were found to be perished / split and were replaced, the boat was then reinflated and left a further 24 hours to check for any other leaks. The boat retained full pressure.

Removal of old fittings
All fittings showed signs of becoming un-glued and were therefore removed using a hot air gun. After removal all traces of old adhesive was removed using a “flap wheel”.
Once both boat and fittings were free of old adhesive the re-fixing process was undertaken.
All areas to be glued were isolated with masking tape & given a solvent clean prior to the application of Polymarine 2990 Hypalon adhesive.
Once all the strake & fittings had been re-glued it was time to refresh the tubes.
First the tubes were cleaned of dirt, oxidation & grease by using Polymarine Inflatable boat cleaner & Polymarine P510 solvent cleaner.

The finished item
After this preparation Polymarine orange Flexithane – fully flexible paint for hypalon fabric – was applied by brush. Two coats are recommended with a 24 hour delay between coats. Black Flexithane was also applied to the floor as above.The result was an “as new” dinghy.

Links to supplies…


  1. Hi EJ, Thanks for asking.

    Pin holes from a blackberry bush or other pesky causes can be remedied with Polymarine ‘Sealflex’ a product created to fix pinholes and porous dinghy fabrics. For slightly bigger holes, Polymarine ‘SureSealExtra’ will effect a good repair without the need for patches.

  2. Do you recommend the use of flexithane for sealing pinholes? I think my boat (24- year old Avon) had a fight with a blackberry bush and has two dozen tiny holes. A dozen patches will be quite unsightly. Is there a better option?
    Thanks in advance

  3. Hi, thanks for asking. Good preparation and a decent brush is all that is required, followed by two thinly applied coats of paint. A full user guide on the application of Flexithane and Superflex paint for Hypalon and PVC inflatable boats can be seen here:

  4. How did you get such a smooth finish by brush and also how many coats did you put on? (where they quite thin coats or thick coats?

    Many thanks in advance

  5. The items used in this restoration amounted to approx £125 plus VAT as a DIY project. We also offer a Collect & Deliver Repair Service to Inflatable Boats which can be checked out here:-

  6. Very interesting description. What was the cost of the treatment in this case? Where is the nearest treatment available for Plymouth?

  7. What a transformation ! I have an aged Bombard- I may do a similar restoration project?- particularly brightening up the appearance of the fabric . Cheers Ian A

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