Using pontoon boat with slow tube leak

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Steve Vaughn, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Steve Vaughn Member

    Posts: 313
    Richland, WA
    Ratings: +40 / 0
    I'm looking for a reality check on my plan to use my boat with a slow leak in one tube that I have been unable to find. I am a total newbie regarding pontoon boats and floating rivers in them.

    The story: I bought a used Skykomish Sunrise this spring from a guy on the westside. We met in Cle Elum to seal the deal. The boat and accessories are in near mint condition. The tubes (bladder type) were fully inflated when we met, which I deflated and folded to get in the short box of my Sport Trac. He assured me that the tube had stayed inflated for the two weeks before and I have no reason to doubt that. I suspect they may have been over pressurized coming over the pass which may have led to a small leak. I've tried the soapy water test twice and can't find the leak in the valve or bladder.

    Leak rate: I do not have a pressure gauge yet but the leaking tube is not noticeably deflated to the touch for 3+ hours. It appears 1/2 deflated over night and pretty flat after 24 hours.

    My plan is to use this boat, as is, for my first multi-day fishing trip this year (bad year) in mid-September on the lower Yakima Canyon. The question is am I being naive or unsafe to use this boat with a slow leak. I will carry the pump and re-inflate ever few hours. Opinions from the more experienced folks on the forum would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Steve
  2. Phil Fravel Friendly

    Posts: 646
    Bonney Lake
    Ratings: +96 / 0
    Often when the tubes are just filled they will loose pressure when they cool off by going in the water or being out in the cold for a night. If there is a leak they are usually easy to find. It is always a good option to have some patches with you and a pump. I like the patches outcast sells. there like .75 cents apiece. Just peal off the back and cover hole. It is best if the patch can set for 24 hours but not absolutely necessary.
  3. jessejames Flyslinger

    Posts: 1,853
    Show Low, Arizona
    Ratings: +345 / 3
    I do not like the idea of floating in a pontoon with a known leak. Especially in moving water. If it happens to be in a seam it could become a "not so slow leak".
    You should be able to find the leak. Remove the bladder you will not find it if it is still in the cover inflate until it is very firm and use a garden hose on a very slow stream. Go over every inch of the boat concentrate on the seams. you will see the bubbles. Or if you have good hearing get in a quiet location and go over the bladder with it close to your ear. This works for my son, but not with my old ears.lol
    Soapy water sometimes wont show a small leak because of the bubbles in the soap???
    Good luck
    jesse
  4. jumbo215 Jasper hickman

    Posts: 331
    lake forest park, wa
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    nearly all inflatables will have some slow leaks after a couple seasons, its pretty standard procedure to have to pump up rafts every day or even once or twice during a long float.

    check for dirt in your valves, thats sometimes a tricky spot to locate, but the best way ive found is get a bowl of dish soap and water and spread your mix over the boat with a paint brush you will find the leak.

    outcast makes some great patch kits also I think a pretty worthy additon