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Permanently marking a PVC inflatable dink

Aug 2, 2005
1,126
Pearson 33-2 & Typhoon 18 Seneca Lake
Hello SBO Members,

After much deliberation we will soon be the owners of a Zodiac PVC inflatable dinghy. The choice was dictated by: 5 year warranty, limited use each year, price, wife tired of the search, and availability (not necessarily in that order).

Question: How can we safely and permanently mark the PVC dinghy's hull with the registration numbers? Applying letters and numbers that are usually available is a questionable process due to inflating and deflating the tubes, but we do not want to create any chemical issues with the paint or marker chemicals.

We look forward, oh wise ones, to your suggestions that are based on your experience with this process.
 
Last edited:

DougM

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Jul 24, 2005
2,181
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
There is a paint kit with stencils that is available for that purpose.
[ MDR Inflatable Boat Stencil Kit] . The SBO store probably has it and Defender also…
There is also a stick on “frame” for the state tag available if your state doesn’t allow the tag to be affixed to the transom,
 
Oct 2, 2008
3,585
Pearson/ 530 Strafford, NH
We tried painting and markers on our roll-up when we had one years ago. For summer only use it was fine, but once we started cruising we found it would slowly fade. Even on the sunbrella chaps that we added on the RIB the lettering would fade from the UV rays. My wife sewed a pocket for plastic plate we got from WM into the chaps near the bow, that seems to work best. We tried just hanging the plate from the forward handles on the dinghy, but they would always foul with the bow line or other boats at the dinghy docks. It surprises me that manufacturers have never addressed this issue since all boats need the identification.
 
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Jan 22, 2008
40
Hunter 30_88-94 Ipswich, Ma MA
We’re on our second roll up Zodiac over a span of 23 years. You made the right choice going with Zodiac as we’ve had very good luck with them over the years.
We’ve tried several different methods for registration numbers. The best result for us is using plastic plates with stick on numbers and letters then using tie wraps to fasten them to the nylon straps along each side of the dinghy. At the end of the season, you just snip them off to use again next year.
Also, get some spray on UV protectant and apply it several times over the season. It will help extend the life of you dinghy.
The plates and numbers are available thru Defender or WM.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
We’re on our second roll up Zodiac over a span of 23 years. You made the right choice going with Zodiac as we’ve had very good luck with them over the years.
We’ve tried several different methods for registration numbers. The best result for us is using plastic plates with stick on numbers and letters then using tie wraps to fasten them to the nylon straps along each side of the dinghy. At the end of the season, you just snip them off to use again next year.
Also, get some spray on UV protectant and apply it several times over the season. It will help extend the life of you dinghy.
The plates and numbers are available thru Defender or WM.
Yeah. That’s what we do, but I had the ID plates made up at the local sign shop. I tie mine on with small cord as I take ‘em off periodically because of the way we secure the dink (inflatable RIB) aboard. Or, if I’m somewhere where they’re irrelevant b/c no one around to see, or if I’m rowing around a lot (no OB mounted). I don’t actually like ‘em. But on the whole, over the long term, they pan out to be the least, or no worse, trouble than the alternatives., etc.
 
Aug 2, 2005
1,126
Pearson 33-2 & Typhoon 18 Seneca Lake
Thanks, Doug. I had forgotten about the stick-on window to hold the yearly sticker. I'll look for the paint kit.
 
Aug 2, 2005
1,126
Pearson 33-2 & Typhoon 18 Seneca Lake
Thanks for the additional replies. I knew you people would have many suggestions.

(1) We considered the marker option, but I was concerned that the marker chemical might fight with the PVC. (2) We used a marker to identify a Hypalon inflatable in 2000 and had an acceptable length of time that it lasted. (3) We used the "flappy board" method years ago in Florida and had the same results as All U Get mentioned. (4) The UV protection and the "chaps" interest me. I'll look for UV spray specifically for PVC material. Eileen can make the chaps with her Sail Rite machine. I might even ask her to make a pair for me!
 
Jan 22, 2008
40
Hunter 30_88-94 Ipswich, Ma MA
Dinghy chaps are definitely the way to go for dinghy longevity. The UV spay I use is made by 303. It’s available on Amazon.
BTW…a few summers back we spent a great week in the Finger Lakes region. Our base for exploration was a cottage on Keuka Lake. It’s an absolutely beautiful area, a real eye opener for a flat lander from New England.