What Is the Lifespan of a Whitewater Raft Stored Properly?

June 29, 2022 3 min read

When properly stored, a whitewater raft can last anywhere from 20 years to as long as 30. Since these boats are made of chlorosulfonated polyethylene, they may even outlast you. However, the best way to protect them is to keep them dry and in good shape. Read on to find out more.

Whitewater Raft Life Rafts May Last for 20 Years

The lifespan of a Whitewater RAFT life raft varies. It depends on the material, how it is stored, and where it is stored. Some rafts may last for twenty years after being stored, but there are some other factors to consider, too. Here are some tips to help you maintain your raft. The first step is to check for leaks or damage. If there is a leak, look for a patch or replace the raft.

The second step in extending the life of your raft is identifying its materials. Polyurethane is the most durable material. It is less likely to flip or wrap on rocks than urethane. Unlike PVC, Polyurethane rafts also slide over rocks well. These rafts are also easier to repair in the field. If you're looking for an adventure filled with excitement and danger, Whitewater Rafting is a must, but be prepared. 

They Are Made From Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene

When storing a whitewater raft, you must keep in mind that the materials used are different from one another, and this means that the life of your rafter can vary significantly. Different materials deteriorate at different rates, so it's essential to store it properly to maintain its good condition. Store your raft at a cool, dry place and protect it from UV and chemicals. Once you've stored your raft properly, you can check its condition and determine whether it needs any repairs. If it does not hold air, you should seek repair or replacement. If the raft has been in a dry place for 5 years, it's probably still in great shape.

The life of a whitewater raft made from Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene can be shortened if it had been stored in damp conditions. After it's been stored, chlorosulfonated polyethylene can delaminate, crack, and lose its elasticity. When stored for several years, it can lose its life and start to show signs of wear. During this time, it's vital to take care of the hull and protect it from rot.

They Are Stored on a Dry Surface

Depending on the material of the raft, it may be made from a combination of various materials. Some are made of polyvinyl chloride, while others use synthetic rubber. Inflatable rafts, for example, start with a fabric base, which is then covered in a unique synthetic rubber substance. To clean an inflatable raft, sand it gently with a sandpaper. The fabric base will show through.

When storing a raft, a dry surface is necessary. If the outer tube becomes wet, the raft will become brittle. This can cause the raft to warp and deform. Keeping the raft on a dry surface will help protect the fabric from damage. While the raft is storing, it is inspected for possible repairs. Valve caps and bow and stern lines are examined, and if necessary, replaced. D-rings, metal rings placed around the outside of the raft, are checked for damage.

They Need to Be in Good Condition

It is important for a guide to accept that the end of the season is coming and to prepare his or her gear for storage. By preparing the gear, a guide can save money by not having to purchase a new one. Life vests and helmets are relatively simple to maintain but rafts can be a bit more tricky. After all, they're not made of plastic!


A rubber raft has a history that goes back before World War II. The first commercial rafts were military surplus and were picked up by outfitters. While hypalon is more durable than PVC, it is also heavier. Before storing your raft, apply a layer of rubber conditioner to the surface. This will help retain the pliability and luster of the rubber and protect the glue job.



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