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Discussion Starter #1
Did a quick search and didn't find any info... so here it goes:

I got three small gashes, about 1" long each and all close to each other, encompassing about a 2" diameter circular area, on the bottom of the floor in my raft (Achilles, hypalon). We had to do a real quickie patch job on the river, and there was no time to get the water out of the floor at the time. I removed the patch that we put on then, and I've been trying to drain the water out of the floor through the small gashes. I have the raft slightly elevated now, with the lowest spot roughly where the gashes are to try to get the water out.

So... is there a better way to get all the water out? I know that leaving water in the floor can deteriorate the glue on the seams of the floor, so I want to make sure it gets dry.
 

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Options I would try:

1) take the valve off and drain out of the hole it leaves

2) cut a bigger hole where the current tiny holes are. You are going to patch it anyhow.

3) sell you raft to an unsuspecting newby in the spring.
 

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At a similar issue--
hung my raft up from the ceiling and duct taped a vacuum to the valve. the vacuum was attached to one of those preset timers so it would go on and off and inflate/deflate the floor a couple times a day. I actually inserted a straw into the hole to help hold it open.

Left the boat attached to the vacuum for a a week or two and then patched it. I know that you can also buy something from a hardware store that will absorb water. Maybe you can try doing that.
 

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If I suspect moisture in my boat I will let the air out and then inflate it on a warm day- repeat. The water will condense in the air and each time you'll be getting a little more of it out. I do not think that a little bit of water inside of your boat is that big of a deal unless it's sloshing around- if that's the case you need to get it out. If you have a dry place you could consider running some kind of fan through a pvc pipe to circulate air inside of it but that seems pretty extreme.
 

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I'd keep inflating the floor and let the air pressure help push the water out of the existing holes. They are on the bottom side? correct?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@Marco- I thought about that, but unfortunately I'm in Oregon right now, and it's almost rainy season. probably not going to be very many hot, arid days in my future, so I doubt vaporization will have a big impact.

Tonight I went and and used my foot pump in the backwards direction, i.e. put negative pressure on the entire floor until it was really flat and air was being pulled in through the gashes. I think I got out a lot of it, so I'm hoping the little that's left (no sloshing sounds...) won't be a big deal. ??? Hopefully, anyway.
 

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Even a small amount of water inside a self-bailing floor will break down the adhesives that hold the ribs in place and destroy the floor. You must get every bit of water out. Use a wet/dry vacuum to suck it flat. Reinflate. Repeat several times.

I too live in Oregon, and I don't think we're going to see much sunshine until about June. Still, evaporation is the only way you are going to get all of the water out. Take the raft indoors if necessary. Blow it up in the family room, sit in it and watch Deliverance, then vacuum it flat. Blow it up again, sit in it and watch River Wild. You get the idea.
 

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I wouldn't worry so much about it. I'll bet the majority of folks have at least a few tablespoons of water in their floors and don't know it. Get what you can out using one of the mentioned methods and forget about it. My two cents.
 

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I wouldn't worry so much about it. I'll bet the majority of folks have at least a few tablespoons of water in their floors and don't know it. Get what you can out using one of the mentioned methods and forget about it. My two cents.
That was my attitude, too. And I ended up buying a new floor for my $5400 Riken Cheyenne after the I-beams in the floor separated. I sent the floor to a raft repair facility in California (because Riken had ceased operations in the US) and was told that the damage was caused by long-term exposure to moisture and that it was not repairable. Replacement Riken floors were not available, but I was able to get a Hyside floor to fit.

So if you don't care much about your raft (or your $5400), then don't worry about it.
 

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What about wrenching out the inflation valve, and adding a couple bags of the silica gel that products like shoes are shipped with? They are highly hydrosorbent. Figure out a way to keep them on strings or something, and screw the valve back in after insertion. Leave them in for a day or so per, then extract.

The stuff looks like it is relatively cheap and comes in a variety of form factors.
 

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Vaccum all the water out. Then, if your floor has two valves- remove both of them, put a blower into one of the openings and let it run for a day. even if you don't have a hot day- you should be able to dry most of the water by evaporation. IMH
 

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Out here in the dry climate of Colorado you can dry out a floor just by running a lot of air through it. I have an electric blower from an old shop vac that I fitted with a 'nozzle' made from an old funnel and duct tape. I can fit a small diameter hose over the end and stick that deep inside the boat. I run it for a few hours and the water just evaporates. Might not work as well in a humid climate.

Pet Pride Crystal kitty litter is 100% silica gel, same stuff used in those little desiccant paks. You could try filling an old sock and slipping it through the valve opening, partially inflating the boat and waiting a few days. You can reactivate the saturated silica gel by heating to 250 degrees F for 2 hours.

Uncooked rice is also an excellent desiccant.

A small length of tubular webbing could be turned into a skinny desiccant pak, might be easier to stuff into the boat than a sock.
 

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any water in the floor is a BIG deal. the biggest problem is the water rotting out the threads that hold the i beams together. even in a moist climate the inflate,deflate,inflate works best after ALL the water is drained through a low spot (valve or hole). the vac or blower, if it is electric ,will dry out the air before it goes into the boat, it just may take a few more cycles if it is humid. dont skimp. leaving water in the floor will lead to i beam, failure and expensive repair. once an i beam goes due to thread rot the others are likely to be behind. if the floor has had a ton of water in it or if it has been in there awhile you'll need to be patient. the i beams will soak up the water and will take awhile to dry out. if you are questioning whether your floor is dry do another days worth of cycling on it, or cut a hole you can get your hand in and feel around to see if the i beams are damp. this also makes a nice hole for the blower to go in. with a valve open and a blower in a hole off and on (the timer is a great idea 15 min on/off) the i beams should be dried out in a couple days (as long as all the running water is out before the blower drying begins). i havent ever used the dessicant approach but it seems like with a ton of time it may work. if the beams are all soaked it may take a while to pull it all out with little to no air exchange.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
This is all good advice- I used an electric pump to circulate air through the floor for several hours yesterday, I'm going to today as well

Mogur- how long did you leave water in your boat before the I-beam failed? I would have thought that glue used to hold rafts together was more... um... waterproof.
 

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Mogur- how long did you leave water in your boat before the I-beam failed? I would have thought that glue used to hold rafts together was more... um... waterproof.
The floor was damaged and patched. The water was sucked out, but the interior was never thoroughly dried. It took several years before the I-beams started to separate. Prolonged exposure to the moisture doesn't dissolve the adhesives. It just makes it brittle. But that's just as bad. The I-beams in the Riken floor are polyester, and are not themselves vulunerable to rot (as can happen, as someone else pointed).

I really shouldn't complain, though. The raft was 20 years old when this happened, and had been in commercial use for 5 of those years, so that floor was well-used.

My raft was the very first Cheyenne, hand-built for Vladimir Kovalik and Dan Baxter. It appeared on the cover of River Runner Magazine when Riken introduced their tapered tube rafts. I bought it after the product evaluation period was over. I gave it to my daughter, who was able to find a Riken floor on e-bay, and she rowed it down Grand Canyon a couple of years ago.
 

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Totally Dry

This is the method that I have used, works very well. I don't agree that you can leave any water in there and not expect it to cause problems. Also powerful shop vacuum that also blows out works great, leave it on for a day or so to completely dry it out.

Vaccum all the water out. Then, if your floor has two valves- remove both of them, put a blower into one of the openings and let it run for a day. even if you don't have a hot day- you should be able to dry most of the water by evaporation. IMH
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So, I definitely ran an electric pump for several hours until it got to the point where when I felt around through the relief valve hole, the material seemed dry, so I'm calling it good.

BUT, now I'm stuck on this thought- every time you inflate your raft (usually on dry land), you introduce water vapor into your floor and tubes. When you put the boat in the water, the tube air temp drops dramatically, which must cause condensation inside the tubes. So, for the entirety of your float down the river, you do have liquid water hanging out on the inside of your tubes. If your doing a long trip like the grand, the interior of your tubes is exposed to water for about 20 days, and I'm assuming some of the water must soak into the material/glue. Then when you deflate the boat, I doubt any of us let the inflated boat hang out in a warm temp long enough for that water to re-evaporate back into the air... soooo wouldn't most rafts have wet floors/interiors for most of their usable lifetime? I don't know anyone that blower-dries their floor after every boating trip.

I'm just wondering how bad it actually is to have a little water in the floor. Like I said, I tried to dry mine out completely (better safe than sorry) but it seems like it shouldn't be that huge of a deal.
 

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If you're doing a long trip like the Grand, the interior of your tubes is exposed to water for about 20 days, and I'm assuming some of the water must soak into the material/glue. Then when you deflate the boat, I doubt any of us let the inflated boat hang out in a warm temp long enough for that water to re-evaporate back into the air... soooo wouldn't most rafts have wet floors/interiors for most of their usable lifetime?
That is entirely true, and it is the main reason that self-bailing rafts have a shorter lifespan than a bucket boat of equal quality.
 
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