setting up your inflatable boat
Congratulations on purchasing a Hydrus from IBF.
Here is our guide to setting up your boat and some of the accessories you may have bought with it.
Setting up your Hydrus for some may seem easy whereas for others it may seem daunting so allow us to make things a little easier for you.
Just click on the subjects below to go directly to that section of the guide.
After checking the area for any sharp objects that may damage your boat, start by laying the main tubes flat on the ground.
All air chambers of the boat will have a valve that states the correct PSI or Bar that particular chamber needs to be inflated too. If any are missing it's because they are only on one of the same tubes.
The main tubes of the Hydrus should be inflated to 3.6psi/0.25 bar
The keel is also inflated to 3.6psi/0.25 bar
If you have an air deck this needs to be inflated to 8psi/0.55 bar
Under inflated tubes may affect the performance of the boat so it's important they are inflated to the correct psi.
The three main tubes need to be inflated in stages.
Verify the valves are in the locked position. Push the spring loaded inner valve in and turn anticlockwise until it locks in to place. This allows the flow of air in and prevents any air being released.
Air Deck Installation
It's vital you inflate the tubes in order to get the best out of your Hydrus.
Start by inflating one of the side tubes 50% followed by the other side tube 50% and finally the bow tube 50%.
The keel is attached to the base of the boat with two straps and is intended to move back and forth. Make sure you have good access to the valve of the keel when positioning the air deck before inflating. Do not inflate the keel at this point.
The air deck has a wooden panel held in place with two straps next to the hole. The purpose of this panel is very important and is to push down on the keel which then creates the 'V' shape of the hull.
Once you have the air deck in place where you can clearly see the valve of the keel through the hole, inflate the air deck to 100%.
This is now a good time to slide on the two seats.
The seats are deliberately shorter than the distance between the two seat rails. This is to help keep them in place once the tubes are fully inflated.
Once the seats are in position, inflate the tubes to 100%
Tip: Always carry a squirty bottle of washing up liquid and water as it makes installing the seats a lot easier.
Aluminium Deck Installation
Installing the aluminium deck takes practice and a fair amount of patience. Don't worry it's all worthwhile once you're ready to go with a sturdier ride capable of withstanding bigger winds and swells.
Inflate the main tubes starting with the side tubes to 10-15%
Install the bow section first making sure the keel valve is directly below the hole.
Next place the transom end panel so the semi-circle is in line with the drainage plug.
Continue to work your way towards the middle. The panels will be extremely tight to fit to begin with.
Once you have all the panels laid flat with the two centre panels overlapping, lift both of these panels to form an 'A' shape. If needed release more air from the tubes making it easier to form the 'A' shape.
Check all around the tubes to make sure none of the panels are catching the tube material.
If all looks clear, proceed to push down on the 'A' frame which then pushes out the panels and into place.
Time to install the stringers.
This can be tricky for the first few times but there is a knack to doing it that gets easier with practice.
Important: The stringers can only go in one way.
The curved sides of the stringers should be aligned with the tubes.
The small and long lengths should be positioned opposite each other i.e one short length by the transom on one side and one long length by the transom on the other side.
Important: Positioning the stringers the wrong way may lead to them becoming dislodged while out on the water.
Tip: Use your squirty bottle to lubricate the stringers to help them fit in place.
Once the stringers are locked in place, check once again for any tube material trapped and out of place before inflating the rest of the tubes to the max 3.6psi
Finish by inflating the keel to 3.6psi
IBF Transom Wheels
If you've purchased IBF's own solid, puncture proof transom wheels then installation is pretty straightforward.
The wheels come with two brackets and the nuts & bolts required for installation.
Always install the wheels with the deck and engine in place just so you know how much room you have to play with.
One question asked a lot in the Facebook group is which way should the wheels be facing? Inwards and under the boat or outwards facing away from the boat.
Although having them facing inwards and under the boat makes manoeuvring the Hydrus slightly easier, it's not vital and unless you have a 20-30hp engine wouldn't make a huge amount of difference.
It's all about the pivoting and the engine positioned directly above the wheels or slightly in front.
Things to remember: Once launched you must remember to raise the wheels. Forgetting to do so will affect the performance and speed you are traveling at.
The transoms on most Hydrus models have a splash guard either side so positioning the brackets is crucial for this reason.
In some cases after launching you might be required to switch the wheels over to the opposite side to make fixing them back in the brackets in the up position much easier.
Be conscious of both the air deck and/or the aluminium deck on the inside as to how low you position the brackets.
Positioning the brackets too high and you may struggle to have the wheels facing inwards and underneath the boat when fitted.
Positioning the brackets too close to the middle may result in fouling the engine.
Too far to each side means positioning the wheels in the up position harder by fouling the splash guards.
Electric pumps have two stages when inflating the Hydrus. Low pressure and High pressure.
Most pumps allow you to set the desired pressure in PSI or Bar.
The Hydrus tubes and keel need to be inflated to 3.6psi or 0.25bar
The air deck needs to be inflated to 8psi or 0.55bar
Important: Always make sure the valve is locked by pushing in and rotating anticlockwise this enables air to flow in but not to flow out.
Once the right PSI has been selected insert the hose connector into the valve and begin to inflate.
Low pressure is indicated by a low pitched inflation noise.
At around 80-90% the pump switches to high pressure indicated by a much higher pitched inflation noise.
Ignore this sound. the pump is working fine and will automatically stop inflating once the set psi has been reached.
In the summer with higher temperatures than normal the tubes will expand with the heat.
If you notice the heat is abnormally hotter than usual we recommend after inflating to the correct psi, tapping the pressure release valve once or twice to compensate for this pressure increase.
In the UK we don't get Mediterranean temperatures too often so we decided NOT to install pressure release valves.
This would be an extra hole in the tubes that could potentially lead to air leaks.
Please note: If you do ever notice a drop in air pressure overnight this is mainly due to the air valves that may have become loose. Each Hydrus comes supplied with a repair kit in the orange tubular container found in the initial box.
Inside this repair kit is a spanner that's used to tighten the valves. Simply remove the valve cap and use the spanner to tighten the valve turning clockwise.
Factory Supplied Hand Pump
All Hydrus models come supplied with a standard hand pump to get you started.
The latest upgrade to these pump have a starting psi of 3psi. This means that when inflating with this pump you will not notice any movement in the dial until 3psi has been reached.
A general rule of thumb is to inflate the tubes until there are no ripples visible in the tubes.
Choosing an outboard engine is very important to make sure you get the most enjoyable experience while out on your Hydrus.
A few things to consider are:
Where you plan to launch from, slipway or beach launch?
How fit, healthy and strong you are?
If you have help or launching by yourself?
The following size engines are rated to the size of Hydrus available.
2.4m slatted H5 Camo Hydrus - 9.8hp
3.0m H5 Camo Hydrus - 15hp
3.7m H5 Camo Hydrus - 20hp
3.3m Hydrus - 15hp
3.7m Hydrus - 20hp
4.0m Hydrus - 30hp
4.2m Hydrus - 30hp
Launching from a slipway does make things a lot easier and may sway your decision which size engine to go for.
If you only have access to a sand or shingle beach launch then you may consider a lighter engine unless you are relatively fit and strong.
If you have one or two passengers with you every time then again you may decide to go bigger with their help setting up. On your own ask, yourself if you can carry that weight up and down a shingle beach?
Tip: Find your nearest engine dealer and ask if you can pop in to try lifting a few different size engines from their shelf to gauge the weight of them. Imagine carrying that weight up and down the shingle if you are solo launching.
Railblaza RIBPort Installation
Railblaza provide IBF with the option to have Railblaza RIBPorts preinstalled in the factory.
No more messing around installing them yourself which, when new to it can be quite daunting as well as messy.
All of which have a star shaped port to fit the number of accessories available to kit out your Hydrus.
RIBPorts are designed to glue to your tubes. They do come supplied with VHB pads to avoid gluing but do tend to come away at the edges if not held down securely while bonding. For this reason IBF advise using two part glue instead especially if adding rod holders which take a bit more pressure than say adding a fish finder unit or camera mount.
QuickPorts are smaller and rounded in shape. They can still be glued to the tubes but also bolted to the transom for when mounting a transducer arm for your fish finder.
The StarPorts are designed to be bolted to a hard surface, perhaps the transom or the Hydrus seats ready to add rod holders that way.
Installing the RIBPorts to the tubes using two part glue is relatively easy if you follow these simple steps.
Start by inflating the tubes to 90%
Position the Ports on the tube and draw a pencil line around the edges.
Add small strips of masking tape along the lines to form a gluing area.
Make sure the area is clean using MEK or Acetone and sand down gently to give an abrasive touch.
After mixing the correct ratio of glue and hardener apply the first layer to both the RIBPort and the tube.
Allow to dry for 5 minutes before adding a second cote to both the RIBPort and the tube.
Add a final 3rd coat and then leave until the glue is tacky to touch then gently position the RIBPorts in place.
Apply pressure to the Port for 24 hours.
Fish Finder & Transducer Installation
Installing a fish finder doesn't have to be complicated.
Railblaza accessories make life a lot easier.
Firstly you need a platform to position the fish finder unit on.
Railblaza give you options to mount the unit on a rotating platform that you can position on your tubes using either a RIBPort or a QuickPort.
If you have a Garmin fish finder then Garmin provide a carry case that comes with a battery and charger so you can position the case anywhere on the boat to reach.
You then need to position the transducer.
Railblaza offer the transducer arm that clips on to a QuickPort, RIBPort or StarPort that you have attached to your transom. This is positioned to the right of the engine as you look from the back. The propellor wash will interfere with the reception if you have it on the left hand side.
Note: Most propellors rotate clockwise but if you do have a prop that rotates anticlockwise then position the transducer arm to the left of the engine.
The Railblaza arm comes supplied with a few extra small parts and washers.
Garmin, Lowrance and Raymarine all have their own shape of transducer and the Railblaza arm does not fit all so they have added extra washers so with a few minor adjustments all makes of fish finder transducers will fit on the arm nice and snug.
Floor Support Rails
This is a real game changer and although the option has been available since day one, introducing these rails has meant no modifications need to be made to then be able to switch between decks.
The latest model Hydrus come with specially designed floor support rails allowing you to switch between an air deck and an aluminium deck without making any modifications to the boat.
Note: All previous models have the option to switch between decks but you do have to raise or lower the support rails by about 3/4 inch. Simply unscrew the four screws, reposition the rails and then replace the screws.
If it's a nice flat calm day or there's just the one of you then opt for the air deck.
If the wind is up a bit or there's more than one of you then opt for the aluminium deck