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Old 06 August 2009, 13:53   #1
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Saturn Inflatables

I am currently thinking about purchasing a saturn Inflatable and I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience good or bad with these boats?
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Old 06 August 2009, 18:54   #2
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Haven't seen any myself, but apparently they are Korean made and seem to be somewhere in the same quality ball park as the PVC boats from quicksilver, sea eagle, zebec & zodiac. Googling 'saturn inflatable boats" brought up this discussion;

http://www.outdoorsmenforum.ca/showthread.php?t=1947
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Old 06 August 2009, 19:58   #3
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As the owner of an older zodiac who has reglued the floor and transom seams I would like to point out one difference between these vessels. The zodiac has heat bonded tube seams. They aren't just hand glued. None of my tube seams has failed on my 99' MK2 Futura. All PVC hand glued boats are notorious for having a limited lifespan on their glued seams. I can handle a floor or replacing the transom, but tube failure is not acceptable. An inexpensive boat may be worth the investment with a shorter lifespan, but I don't want to have a serious problem in a remote location.
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Old 06 August 2009, 21:03   #4
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I have one. Purchased it 4 years ago. 14 ft boat, nice big (20 in.) tubes. I love it! Most of the problems I've read about with PVC involve UV damage but I keep mine inflated on a trailer in my garage all year long. After 4 years it still looks as good as new. I didn't know about the heat welding vs hand gluing issue but so far I haven't had problems and I hope not to. The boatstogo distributor created these trick seating frames that allow you to install an economy seat base and folding seat. It's really comfortable! I purchased two. Better than sitting on the tube or a cooler any day. I grabbed a pair of those lifters and it really flies with my 25 hp 2 stroke! If it lasts a good 10 years and fails I'd buy another at this price. I think I may have paid $1250 for it. Those Zodiacs cost 3 times that! I wish I could afford that but I can't.
If you could keep it indoors or covered I say DEFINITELY go for it!
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Old 06 August 2009, 21:42   #5
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These are good boats, same level as Quicksilver or Aquamarine. I'd go for the price, the one that's cheaper of the size you need.
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Old 07 August 2009, 09:18   #6
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Thanks For the input guys. Has anyone had any expierence pulling a tube or a skier with these boats?
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Old 07 August 2009, 09:58   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelson View Post
As the owner of an older zodiac who has reglued the floor and transom seams I would like to point out one difference between these vessels. The zodiac has heat bonded tube seams. They aren't just hand glued. None of my tube seams has failed on my 99' MK2 Futura. All PVC hand glued boats are notorious for having a limited lifespan on their glued seams. I can handle a floor or replacing the transom, but tube failure is not acceptable. An inexpensive boat may be worth the investment with a shorter lifespan, but I don't want to have a serious problem in a remote location.

As far as I know, all of the Asian based mass producers of PVC boats (Sea Eagle and Zebec are made by the same Korean plant, Quicksilver & Saturn probably are as well) use heat bonded tube seams. It is a much less labour intensive way to manufacture the boat, so once the cost of the machine has been payed for it is much cheaper to produce a boat this way. The benefit is that the quality of the seam welds are very consistent and less prone to defects. The down side is that welded seams are irreparable, and welded PVC seams tend to be the first part of the fabric to fail since they are stiffer than the rest of the fabric and tend to be a stress concentrator. The amount of UV exposure and the frequency of folding and unfolding of the boat & temperature fluctuations all will affect the life expectancy of those seams. If a PVC boat's seams have been glued properly, the seams should have a life expectancy that is at least as long as welded seams.
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Old 07 August 2009, 11:20   #8
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Well, It may certainly be true that the seams are thermobonded, but Saturns website extolls the fact that all of their seams are hand glued. Interesting that you find that welded seams are less reliable. I have worked on a number of inflatables and my experience is that the hand glued seams fail much more predictably than the thermobonded ones. It is so apparent particulalry with zodiac speed tubes. The front section of the tube casing is hand glued, the rest is thermobonded. I see these regularly where the front section is detached and the thermo bonded sections are not. I have pulled failing seams and they open right up to the point where the thermo bond starts. Not like I am some expert, but I do see a lot of older inflatables. I would not expect any inflatable to absolutley have no issues for any longer than the warranty period. Zodiac runs 5 years. It isn't surprising that many of the boats have issues at the 7 year mark. Can you get ten years without problems from a Saturn? Probably has more to do with how you store it. UV by itself doesn't do anything to glued seams, they aren't exposed. It's the heat that kills the bond. Stored in a cool place all inflatables will extend their lifespan. I consider inflatables to be a consumable item with a limited lifespan and rapidly diminishing resale value. Mine will end up in the dump eventually. It is all a matter of realistic expectations. Hope everyone is having fun on the water whatever they are driving!
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Old 07 August 2009, 12:08   #9
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... fun for sure!!! Yep, my thought was that if I keep it stored inflated I could avoid the wear and tear of folding and unfolding and obviously keeping it out of the sun would extend its life. We'll see. Either way, its incredible fun!
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Old 07 August 2009, 13:01   #10
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I am big fan of storing inflatables partially inflated if at all possible, but would like to add one warning. Watch out for rodents! I have seen a number of chewed inflatables. It doesn't seem to be a rare occurence.
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