In recent years, the safety of inflatable kayaks has taken many strides in the right direction. A consumer now has a wide range of kayak companies to choose from that manufacture inflatable kayaks. When first introduced inflatable kayaks were unreliable and prone to punctures and rips, but the introduction of tougher material and layering of materials has increased the inflatable kayaks durability.
The first thing kayak companies did to increase safety was to develop a locking valve, which only lets air in unless pressure is applied to the release button. Not only does this make the kayak less prone to leaking from the valve, it makes it it easier to inflate as well. Also, a zip-up cover is used to keep the valve from getting hit while in use. After in introduction of the locking valve, safety of inflatable kayaks started developing at a rapid pace.
When first introduced, kayaks were made from a single layer of rubber, which held air okay but punctured quite easy. Over the past ten years to increase the safety of inflatable kayaks, a woven nylon material has been developed. The layers are thicker on the bottom of the kayak to make it safe enough for sliding over rocks and rapids. Nylon isn't the only material used to strengthen kayaks, but materials such as gore-tex and neoprene are used as an outside layer for the bottom or sides of some kayaks.
The only safety drawback of an inflatable kayak is its ability to withstand man made objects. A traditional hard body kayak will be able to withstand a blow by a piece of rebar or a man made diversion dam.
With the introduction of new materials and ideas, the safety of inflatable kayaks has been increasing each year. A good consumer should understand that more that is paid for the kayak the more safe it will be.