A Rib, or Rigid Inflatable Boat, requires cleaning in a slightly different way than a regular boat or yacht, not least due to the material used for their construction. In this blog, we tell you the right way to do Rib cleaning.
Most Ribs are made out of Hypalon, PVC or Polyurethane. Luckily, all these fabrics require similar cleaning techniques for the best results to be achieved. However, if the wrong boat cleaning products or tools are used for Rib cleaning, the consequences could be disastrous. The worst-case scenario is the accidental destruction of the rib itself.
Attention to Delicacy and Product Usage
The delicacy of this kind of boat must be taken into consideration at all times, and the same cleaning products be used for aluminium or fibreglass boats do not apply to Rib cleaning. For example, products such as solvents, toluene, acetone or bleach should never be used for Rib cleaning, nor should any highly alkaline cleaner. Steel wool or any abrasive scrub pad should also be avoided at all costs.
Products, Products, Products
The first thing you should do is invest in a premium-quality Rib cleaning product, preferably one specifically for the kind of material your Rib is made out of.
Before any sort of cleaning work on a Rib can begin, the first thing to do is wash it down after each usage. Pay special attention to the collar seams, deck/collar joints and transom joints to ensure they are free from any contaminants.
While your Rib is still wet, apply an inflatable boat wash, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Do so using non-scratch cleaning cloths and/or pads. Work the cleaner into the Rib’s fabric, and use a soft nylon brush to clean D-rings, strake mouldings and so on.
Taking Care of Oxidation
Oxidation can be an issue on Ribs, especially those made out of Hypalon. A good quality inflatable boat wash should take care of this, however if the issue has already become quite severe, then a dedicated Rib solvent should be applied, with plenty of respect given towards warnings and correct usage instructions.
Protect your Rib
Last but not least – this step is absolutely crucial, yet is often overlooked – it is a must to apply an inflatable boat fabric protector and conditioner to protect your Rib’s material. Fabric protectors for automotive use or otherwise will not suffice, because they are not formulated to cope with the stresses and strains of a marine environment.
So there you have it!