Because boats bump things like docks and pilings on a regular basis, two-piece rubrails are offered on most boats, and include a sacrificial insert strip intended to take the brunt of the bumps and abrasion. The strip can be replaced if and when it's worn or damaged to the point that it can't do its job or starts to show its age. Usually the insert is made of a forgiving vinyl PVC material that is more flexible than the rubrail that secures it around the boat's perimeter, and it's designed to slide into a channel along the center of the rubrail.
Rubrail manufacturers offer replacement inserts in sizes and shapes to fit their various rubrail designs and colors, and aftermarket inserts are available in popular dimensions and colors as well. The vinyl inserts are sold in rolls and priced by the foot. Although some designs allow splicing-in short lengths of material to replace a damaged section of insert, most boaters replace the entire length of the rubrail insert when tackling the task. It's not particularly expensive or difficult to do, especially if you have a helping hand, and you'd be surprised how much a new insert can improve a boat's appearance.
Tools & Materials:
- Heat Gun
- Power Drill
- Large, flat-blade screwdriver
- Silicone adhesive Sealant
Around 4 – 5 hours
Depends on the material and length of the boat. PVC inserts start around $100 for a 24-foot boat.
Because of the curves involved, you'll need more insert than just double your boat's overall length. We recommend adding the boat's length to its beam and then doubling the sum to ensure you order enough rubrail to complete the job.
Taco Marine is a popular OEM supplier of rubrails for many boat manufacturers and offers an extensive line of replacement rubrails and inserts in kit form. Here are the basic steps in the replacement of an insert on a 20-foot center-console boat using a standard Taco Marine PVC vinyl insert priced at $70 for a 50-foot roll.