The dynamics of inflatable boats have made tremendous strides since they were first introduced to the market. The most important issue with them is that they should remain inflated while in use. This over-rides all other considerations. Manufacturers are well aware of this, and as a result have introduced various valves which can be relied upon to keep the boat inflated even with the worst water scenario.
One of the simplest and cheapest types of inflatable boat valves (and which may perhaps still exist on the lowest priced models of inflatable boats) is the simple blow up valve, a rubber/plastic funnel shape with a cap on top. Once the boat is inflated, the funnel is pushed down and becomes recessed. There are two basic problems with this type of valve. The first is that it is difficult to use in the inflation process, the second is that it is equally difficult to put the cap on without air escaping.
It is an important point to note. When choosing an inflatable boat – give priority consideration to the type of valves it has. Make sure they will do the job they are supposed to do.
A few of the most common types of inflatable boat valves found today are:
Boston Valves. These are one-way valves which have two parts. The top part is used to inflate the boat, letting the air in but not letting it out. They are popular because they have proved themselves to be effective. They can be inflated with the a pump like Coleman’s Large Small Action Quick Pump, or with a bit of innovation, a vacuum cleaner
Halkey Roberts Valves: This company specializes in various types of valves. The one in use with inflatable is a twist type valve with mechanical sealing. A double seal protects the fill and deflate process. The valve is made from acetal and aluminum.
Push Push Valves: These always retain their shape because they do not absorb humidity. Therefore they do not leak. Valves made from nylon can absorb humidity and therefore leakage is posssible as there shape may become distorted. The Push Push valve is round and lies flat. It has a double silicone seal.
Leafield Valves: This company is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of air valves for the industries using them including inflatable boats. They can be recognised by their number description like AC, C7, A10 etc.
Achilles Valves: Made for and by the manufacturer of Achilles Boats
Avon Valves: Also made for and by the manufacturer of Avon Boats
Zodiac Valves: Made for Zodiac Inflatables.
The other point to note about the way inflatables boats are built today is the number of chambers (air compartments) they contain. This makes sense for if one fails for any reason, there remain more to keep the boat afloat.
Keep your inflatable boat valves in good order. It is possible to repair or replace them if they are found to be faulty.