Gone Outdoors

How to Replace Vinyl on Boat Seats

by Will Charpentier

Whether the vinyl seat covers on your boat suffer from exposure to sun, or from exposure to inconsiderate guests who carry tools and sharp objects in their pants pockets, your seat covers will eventually need replacement. Recovering the vinyl seat on a boat uses the same trick a dressmaker uses to make sure that a dress turns out the same way: a pattern. Each seat cover may be different, but your boat will provide all the patterns you need.

1. Unroll the vinyl that will be used to replace the seat covers so that it is exposed to direct sunlight. After 20 minutes, turn the vinyl over so the backing faces upward.

2. Remove the seat cushion from one seat. Invert the seat cushion so the plywood base of the seat is exposed. Remove the staples that hold the vinyl in place with a screwdriver.

3. Set the foam cushion aside. Lay the old seat cover face down on the vinyl material. Trace the outline of the old seat cover onto the back of the new seat cover material. Cut the new seat cover out of the new vinyl by cutting along the lines.

4. Set the cushion into the middle of the newly-cut vinyl. Set the plywood seat base on top of the cushion. Pull the edges of the vinyl up, over the cushion, onto the plywood base.

5. Staple the vinyl around the edges to hold it in place. Reinstall the seat base.

Items you will need
  • Replacement vinyl
  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun

Tip

  • Replace the cover of one cushion on one seat at a time.

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

Photo Credits

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