Installing a seat in our inflatable

One of the joys of boating is inviting friends to visit for the weekend … then putting them to work. That was Bruce’s fate this weekend.

Last year, we added a seat and steering station to our 12 foot Flexboat inflatable. This was a great improvement to the usability of the boat. The details can be found in this post. What we learned was that we still need a fair amount of weight forward to keep the bow down and allow the boat to plane easily. To address this, the second person in the boat usually sits forward. Too bad there is no seat up there and that person has to sit facing backward.

Our solution was to add a matching seat forward in the boat. This gives the passenger something to sit on and allows them to face forward (or backward, I guess, if they want to … or maybe even sideways …).

We ordered a seat from St. Croix Marine Products through Defender.com. The seat matches the seat we put in earlier. Defender was the only place I could find it. St. Croix no longer lists this seat on their site. It may or may not have been discontinued … which may also explain the sale price at Defender.

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From here on, I am going to use the royal “we”. That makes it sound like a team effort when it was really Bruce doing all the work.

First, we found the best location for the seat and marked the right spot.

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Bruce positioned the seat and bent the feet to match the slope of the floors to give it a firm footing. Once everything was all aligned, we marked the location of the holes we needed to drill.

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The Flexboat has a void between the hull and the deck. Near the sides, that space is small, but it is several inches deep in the center of the boat. The fiberglass deck is not thick enough to give the screws much holding power.

We drilled pilot holes through the deck (making sure not to go too far!). The holes were just big enough to inject West Systems Six10 Epoxy. We filled the void between the layers of fiberglass with the epoxy to give the screws something to bite into. West Systems Six10 works great for this. It is thick enough to stay where we put it while it cures and comes with a mixing tip making the process simple and mostly mess free. (I should note that it is expensive for the amount you get in the tube, though.) We left the epoxy to cure for 24 hours.

The next day, we drilled pilot holes in the epoxy we had injected through the original pilot holes, positioned the seat, and screwed it to the floor. We used fairly short (3/4″), fat screws to be sure they got a good bite in the fiberglass and epoxy.

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That’s all there was to it. Bruce did a great job. We are going to invite him back for another weekend real soon.