Ask the Experts: Should you buy a PVC or Hypalon Dinghy?

Should you buy a PVC or Hypalon Dinghy?

Everybody shopping for an inflatable dinghy will have noticed that the PVC ones are significantly cheaper. The PVC material is strong but less flexible than the hypalon so you may conclude that the strength of PVC is an attribute and that would make it a better deal.

Hypalon Layers

The crucial attributes of Hypalon and PVC are of such a nature that in our hot Caribbean climate the PVC is not a good deal at all, something that has been proven over and over again.

Many buyers assume that if they purchase the cheaper PVC but keep it protected from the UV rays it will give them long service. Over and over this has led to great disappointment.

The assumption is often made that the deterioration of PVC occurs from the UV rays of the sun. That’s true however, it is not the only or even main source of the deterioration. The heat is a major factor.

 

PVC vs Hypalon

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What is the best way to maintain your Hypalon Dinghy? Hypalon dinghies easily function for ten years in the Caribbean if they do not have punctures. Badly repaired punctures are a common reason for their demise. Careful operating the dinghy when the air is low as the material at the end of the tubes gets stretched, often beyond repair. 

As with anything, good care will lead to a long life, even in the Caribbean.

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Robbie_Ferron
Sir Robbie Ferron founded the Sint Maarten Heineken Regatta and served as Caribbean Sailing Association President for nine years.