Lifeline Cushions

Project date: 2007

Although primarily a sailboat item, some powerboats have lifelines for either gates or bow lines. One improvement you can make to your boat is to add a stylish and protective lifeline cover.


The railing component we're modifying is the cable "gate". Unfortunately, whenever the gate is undone, it flops around allowing the Pelican Hook to gouge the fiberglass deck or scratch the window. "Stiffening" the cable will prevent it from banging into everything, and as an option, we can add a Velcro strap to help secure the loose end.



For the material, you can use either Sunbrella or Naugahyde type cloth. In addition, you will need sufficient length dia CPVC plumbing tubing, as well as dia insulating tubing, which has a 1.5 outer diameter.

Step 1. Cut out the cloth material, sew end and length seams, then pull the tubes inside out. Most standard duty sewing machines should handle this task. Optionally, you may wish to add a velcro strap to one end to allow securing of the free end. If you use typical sewing Velcro, you will have to sew both hook and loop pieces together. However, you can purchase hook-and-loop straps designed for securing electrical cables that are dual-sided with hooks on one side and loops on the other side. Panduit is one manufacturer of these items. Simply cut the strap to the desired length


As shown here, each cover consists of three components, from top to bottom the protective cover, 1.5 dia plumbing insulation foam, and dia CPVC. The bottom photo shows the assembled cover.



Step 2. Assembling the cover consists of inserting the foam insulation tube into the cover, then inserting the CPVC into the foam. This allows a tighter fit than would be possible should the CPVC be inserted first.



Step 3. Final Assembly consists of sliding the completed tubes over the lifelines. For gates as shown above, you may need to trim or remove the CPVC inner tubes. Removing the tubes will allow the covers to flex, which might be necessary for the gates. You will have to temporarly remove the Pelican Hooks for the cables to fit into the CPVC tubes.

For traditional lifelines, the CPVC tubes will provide a nicer looking cover. After determining whether or not to use the CPVC inner tubes, you may wish to glue the ends of the PVC to the foam tubes.

Panduit (hook and loop cable ties)


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