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How To Reupholster Boat Cushions

Your boat can look great on the outside—a shining hull, fantastic individual parts, and even a brand-new paint job—but when it comes time to use it, there may be no element that’s more important to the look and feel of your boat than its boat cushions. These cushions should be comfortable, waterproof and free of holes. If you need to reupholster boat cushions, there’s no reason you should have to pay an expert—many times. You can do it yourself! Here’s how.

Gathering Materials

Reupholstery starts with the proper materials. You’ll work with marine vinyl, marine thread, cording, and the appropriate ball-point needles if you’re going to be doing the specific designing yourself. You may also need tools to work with the underlying wood if you plan on doing repairs while the upholstery is off the chairs—but this isn’t always necessary.

How do you procure these materials? You can often contact the manufacturer directly and see if they offer matching marina vinyl for your job.


Adding a new boat cushion means removing the old one first, so take a screwdriver and undo the screws on the appropriate seating. Keep a plastic bag handy to make sure you don’t lose track of these screws. At this stage, you’ll likely need to pull out the old staples from the cushion as well.

Don’t discard this old material. Instead, use the current cushion as a standard for your measured fabric—it will help ensure that you get an accurate amount of new vinyl for the cushion. Measure length, width, and even thickness to be sure that you’ve procured the proper materials. At this point, you can also use a marker to “trace” the old fabric onto the new fabric, giving you the exact specifications you need to add new upholstery with minimal muss and fuss.

Sew On the New Fabric

Using the appropriate materials as discussed earlier, sew on the new fabric around the cushion. If you’ve accurately measured and traced the old cushion material, you shouldn’t run into any problems. If your old upholstery was so torn that you had trouble with the tracing, try to give yourself some extra fabric when you trace—this will give you some leeway for trimming it down later and ensuring a proper fit the first time. Re-attach the cushion and enjoy your newly-reupholstered fabric!

Another Option: Repairing Rather than Replacing

Not all boat vinyl needs complete replacement. Consider investing in a vinyl repair kit or even using temporary patches while you procure new materials. Additionally, make sure that once you’ve added new vinyl to your boat, that you take proper care of it with VinyLIFE Cleaner & Protectant.

Shop BoatLIFE Products

When you reupholster boat cushions the right way, there’s no reason you can’t make the interior of your boat look and feel like new. Of course, it helps to have a few helpful boating maintenance and repair products handy, so browse ours here at BoatLIFE today!

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