How to Build a Railing around Your Houseboat

a blue houseboat on the water

To ensure the safety of all of those aboard your houseboat, build a railing that is sturdy and reliable. A proper railing should enhance both the safety and the appearance of your boat. Stainless steel railings are easy to install and fit both of these requirements nicely. They are flexible enough to fit on any type of houseboat, and they add a pleasant and clean aesthetic.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Before you can begin building a railing to install on your houseboat, you'll need to collect all of the necessary materials for the job. Measure the perimeter of your houseboat deck with measuring string and determine how many feet in total your railing should be. Plan on installing a railing post or stanchion every 4 feet or so. The materials that you will need for this installation project are:

3-feet-tall stainless steel railposts that are between 1 and 2 inches in diameter (1 for every 4 feet of railing)

1 stainless steel base and top pair for each railpost, sized according to the diameter of the railpost itself

Boat rope at least as long as the railing itself, preferably longer

Screws and screwdriver

Measuring string

Epoxy and putty

Step 2: Mark the Positions for Your Railposts

Using the measuring line, mark the center point of each of your railposts. You can set the first one at any point and continue by marking every 4 feet around the perimeter of the boat. If this does not result in an even placement of railposts, divide the total perimeter of the boat into equal sections of close to 4 feet so that your railposts can be spread out equally.

Step 3: Assemble the Railposts

Without affixing them to the surface of your deck, assemble the railposts to include the top grip portion. Remove the bases and set each railpost by one of the marks on the surface of the deck. The eyelets for each railpost should point upwards so that the rope can thread through each of them.

Step 4: Attach the Bases

Attach the bases to the surface of your boat deck with epoxy and resin putty. Follow the instructions on these products to affix the bases properly, and be sure to allow plenty of time for the epoxy to dry thoroughly. Space the bases evenly according to the marks that you've set out. After the epoxy dries, ensure that the bases are further secured by affixing them to the surface with additional screws.

Step 5: Install the Railposts and Thread the Rope

Secure each railpost into its base after the epoxy has fully dried. The railposts should point straight upward. Screw the railposts into the bases per the instructions provided with the posts themselves. Having done that, thread the rope through each of the eyelets and tie it off at the entrance to the boat. You can attach a separate and removable piece of rope here to provide easy access to the boat.

The railing supplies listed here can be purchased at boating stores and at some hardware stores.