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How to Replace a Raft Valve

The valves in your inflatable raft, cataraft, kayak, paddleboard, body board or pool toy is a critical part of its performance and longevity. If a valve fails for any reason, and can’t be repaired, it needs to be replaced. Here we show you how to replace a valve, using a doughnut patch to cover the incisions you make to remove the valve’s inner portion. This repair procedure works on an inflatable made of Hypalon, PVC, urethane or any other boat material.

We make our Doughnut Patch from the Pennel Orca® material we use in building the NRS Expedition and Otter rafts, River Cat and Kodiak catarafts and MaverIK inflatable kayaks. The outer diameter is 8 3/8" and the inner hole is 1 1/4" in diameter. This patch will work on boats made with synthetic-rubber coated material, including Hypalon. In the video we use Clifton Hypalon Adhesive and Clifton Hypalon Accelerator, the same combination we use in building our Pennel Orca inflatables.

On boats with PVC-, urethane- or other polymer-coated materials, you’ll need to make your own doughnut patch and use the appropriate adhesive. Do copy the dimensions of our Doughnut Patch.

You’ll first need to remove the old valve. To remove the inner portion, cut two slits, opposite each other, to enlarge the hole just enough. Go easy, cut a bit, try to remove it, then cut just a bit more until you can remove it. Now insert the new inner portion.

The technique for applying the doughnut patch is basically the same as any repair patch. You’ll draw the outline of the patch on the boat, and lightly abrade the patch and boat with fine sandpaper. Then, clean them with the appropriate solvent to remove any contaminants and glue the patch in place. The one tricky thing is making sure the hole in the patch lines up with the hole in the boat. These are contact adhesives, so once the two surfaces touch, they’re hard to realign. When drawing the outline, make several marks that run from the patch to the boat; using the marks as you roll the patch on will ensure the holes line up.