Material of Inflatables


VANGUARD MARINE is one of only a few boatbuilders to manufacture with three types of fabric – PVC, Neoprene-CSM and Polyurethane PU – providing an objective consultation service so that the customer can choose the most appropriate material for their activities.

10 Tips for evaluating the Material of Inflatables


Traditionally, information about the materials has been manipulated so as to steer the customer’s purchasing decision toward the material preferred by the shipbuilder. Verify that the information is objective, technical and provides various options.


It is false or incorrect to assert that a material is superior to others based simply on the type of coating used, i.e. CSM-PVC-PU. The coating is only one part of the structure of the material and must be combined in a balanced manner with the textile base.


The correct assessment of a material must include at least: type of coating, Dtex no., and the weight in g/m2. Any general comparison that does not provide technical characteristics is not correct and is presumably subjective, with an underlying commercial interest.


The textile support provides mechanical strength characteristics. Therefore, an identical textile support provides an identical strength regardless of the coating used.


The coating provides the properties of air-tightness, abrasion resistance, and resistance to atmospheric agents, colour options and other characteristics such as resistance to hydrocarbons and chemicals for special uses of the material. Verify the functions your boat is to perform and determine if there is any special requirement to be fulfilled.


The attempt has subjectively been made to exclusively associate the service life of the boat with the duration of the coating of the fabric, without mentioning the duration of the manufacturing process. To determine the lifespan of a boat, it is fundamental to associate the lifespan of the manufacturing process used.


Through the conventional cold gluing process, by means of glue and manual pressure. Manual labour-intensive, where the skill and experience of personnel is fundamental to the quality of the gluing.


Union of all the parts of the
boat by gluing method at
room temperature applying
manual pressure.


Through an industrial process by means of welding, which melts and fuses the parts together at high pressure in a manner that is stable and indelible over time. In layman’s terms, it can be said that: “A bad weld is better than the best gluing”


Union of the tubular
structure of the boat at
350ºC and a pressure of
4.5 kg/cm2



Welded union of tube
fittings at 350ºC and
a pressure between
4-8 kg/cm2


It is false that PVC or PU cannot be glued or repaired. This technical misinformation has been used on the market to slow down the acceptance of these new materials. Experience from the last 40 years reliably proves that these materials can be glued and repaired with suitable glue and methods used in professional repair services established for that purpose.


It is a mistake to continue mentioning the Hypalon ® coating since this product has not been manufactured since 2009 when it was cancelled by DuPont Corporation ® due to pressure stemming from environmental concerns and the dangers inherent to its application process. Neoprene and Hypalon ® have been replaced with the combination of CR (Chloroprene Rubber) and l CSM (Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene) having essentially similar characteristics.


The quality of a material is associated with the reliability of its manufacturer and with the required price and quality level. Certain purchasing advisers tend to generalise the goodness of one material or another, overlooking these criteria. The “basic” quality with a lower price used in massive “disposable” productions is not representative of the general qualities of a given coating. The decision to choose one material or another should be based on the desired lifespan for the boat, the technical requirements to be met and the available budget.


In all boats, regardless of their material, inspections and recommended maintenance activities must be carried out. In the case of boats manufactured by hand gluing, it is advisable to inspect the glued seams at least once a year and to apply the corresponding preventive maintenance. The residual and trade-in value of a boat will be higher the better maintained and preserved its float is.

Market materials: PVC-CSM-PU