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Old 08-01-2015   #1
Gig harbor, Washington
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 1
Glue failure on Zodiac Yachtline

Raftus mentioned in an old posting that PVC fabric gives off gases chemicals which in turn can cause glue failure of the seams.

I am in a dispute with Progressive insurance about this. My rib dinghy sank due to the glue coming unstuck on one tube causing boat to heel over and sink. Progressive is saying that is wear and tear! I'm trying to prove a point to them that between the chemicals in salt water and the fabric giving off gases was the cause. Does anyone have knowledge of something in writing about the fabric giving off gases or even better and experience with an insurance company in this situation.

Any input appreciated. Thanks, Catspajaumas

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Old 08-01-2015   #2
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,406
I agree with your insurance company. Your old boat had a seam fail. It can happen to old boats, especially boats that you keep inflated tight (maybe too tight...).

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Old 08-01-2015   #3
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
So if your theory is true, the boat was either not glued together properly (witch would be the manufacturer's fault) or the saltwater was the cause? I don't see how insurance would cover a theory that the boat failed under normal wear and tear. There was no outside action that caused the failure, other than the boat failed. Good luck.
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Old 08-02-2015   #4
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,910
The mechanism of the PVC material off-gassing and eating itself from within is well known from the early days of PVC use in inflatables. My understanding is that they changed manufacturing methods to address this in the late 80s or 90s but that it's still an issue with some boats. This may have been something you were supposed to know about and consider in your product selection. As for salt water affecting the material, wouldn't that also be an issue of improper product selection for the expected conditions? I'll also agree with the possibility the boat was stored over-inflated. Most rafters store their boats loosely inflated or rolled. If your zodiac was sitting on the deck fully inflated and in the sun for months on end, that's certainly not good for the material and if it was firm enough to be stiff in the mornings, it was likely over-inflated during the heat of the day.

Good luck dealing with your company but I don't know how it could be covered.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 08-02-2015   #5
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
How old is your boat? Is it more than 15 to 20 years old? A picture would sure help us understand the condition of your boat.

How many air chambers did your boat have? Most rafts have at least three plus the floor, (not counting thorts) so if one goes down.......the boat doesn't roll over and sink.

Did your boat really sink and you couldn't recover it? Was the motor heavy enough to take it down?
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Old 08-02-2015   #6
theBoatPeople's Avatar
Danville, California
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 190
The first sentence of your post is correct, except that the word "can" needs to be changed to "definitely will at some point".
We (and probably every other dealer who sells repair supplies) have had dozens of orders over the years for glue from marine boat owners who either have the transom mount coming unglued, or the rigid floor. Zodiac does a pretty good job with what they do glue, and in the case of the wide transom mounts and your floor attachment, those parts cannot be welded. They have to be joined with adhesive.
If the failure occurred within the first five years, that's a warranty issue with Zodiac. Zodiac glue failures anytime in the first ten to twelve years are rare from what we have been able to glean, though we are not a marine inflatable seller. Usually the failures happen in the 13 to 15 year range, but keeping a boat in the sun will accelerate that a bit. The outgassing of the phthalates simply happens at a higher rate under constant heat.
We do have some more info under PVC vs. Rubber/The Great Debate on our website menu, but I doubt it will be helpful in getting the insurance company to cover it. If the boat is at all salvageable, it may be possible to strip the entire floor off, clean up the old glue, and re-adhere it. That's going to be an expensive fix I bet.
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Old 08-03-2015   #7
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 461
Originally Posted by Catspajaumas View Post
I'm trying to prove a point to them that between the chemicals in salt water and the fabric giving off gases was the cause.

If this was a problem then I don't think I would see the thousands of pvc dingy's in marinas that I DO see on both coasts.

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