Everything You Need to Know about a Boston Whaler Rub Rail

Boston Whaler

Boston Whaler is known for its high quality materials and construction, but occasionally, some components need replacement. The rub rail is one that is more important than some realize. This metal rail protects the boat from sustaining scratches or more serious damage should it bump up against something at dock or in the water. If yours is in need of attention, and you haven’t yet gotten around to repairing it, We’ve got some great information that you might find useful. Here is everything you need to know about a Boston Whaler rub rail.

What is a rub rail?

A rub rail is piece of flexible material that is made specifically to make the first contact if your boat rubs up against an object. This could be another boat at the dock when the water is rough, a dock, or some other craft or structure. Boats have a tendency to wander and bob around in the water. The rub rail is made of material that causes it to glide as it makes contact so it doesn’t cause impact damages. It looks a lot like a bumper because that’s what it is. The rail takes the abuse to keep your boat in the best possible condition.

What is the Boston Whaler rub rail made of?

Most rub rails are made of a sturdy aluminum holder that affixes to the sides of the boat. An insert of rubber or strong rubber-based materials are held inside of the aluminum housing to hold the bumper firmly in place so it doesn’t come apart. Some are more flexible than others and they come in a variety of sizes, depending upon the model of boat that the rail rub is intended to fit.

How do you find a replacement kit for a Boston Whaler rub rail?

Since this is one of the most common repairs made to Boston Whaler boats, the replacements are in good supply. It’s not difficult to contact the manufacturer, or a variety of other vendors to find a replacement kit for your rub rail. You may need to just replace the insert, but depending on the amount of damage sustained, it may be worth your time to go ahead and replace the entire piece.

Buy the right replacement kit

First make sure that the replacement kit you order is the right one for the model that you own. Some of the older boats have different rub rail setups and if you’re into maintaining original parts, you can still find them for sale. It’s highly recommended that you purchase a rub rail that is made to fit Boston Whaler brand boats and that the specifications list your model with the corresponding length of the boat. After you’ve acquired the appropriate rub rail replacement kit you’re ready to begin. You should plan on spending between 2-3 hours to complete the process.

The components of a Boston Whaler rub rail

There are four components in a Boston Whaler rub rail.They include the aluminum rail or housing, the insert, the end caps, and the screws. You’ll need a screw driver for the newer upgraded rub rail kits, and if you’re using an old style replacement part for a retro boat, these are still affixed with adhesive. It’s recommended that you upgrade to the most recent version, but this is a matter of personal preference. Make sure that you have all of the replacement parts. Ordering a kit combines them all together, but some prefer to buy the components separately.

How to repair a Boston Whaler rub rail

Choose a location that does not have a concrete surface as this could scratch the coil material. It’s best to work in warm weather so the materials are more flexible and easy to work with. Allow the materials to warm in the sun for this purpose.

Tools needed:

You’ll need a heat gun to soften the receiver around the bow curve for easy bending. A miter saw is needed to perform angled cuts at transom ens in the receiver. You’ll also need a drill, a screwdriver, and screws, a utility knife, clamps to hold the L-molding in place, and a rubber mallet.


1: Cut one end of the receiver a plus L-molding

The miter saw is used to cut an end of the receiver and L molding.

2: Clamp in place

After cutting the materials, clamp the L molding and receiver in place securely. Make sure your miter cuts are aligned with the transom. You’ll need to secure several feet of the receiver and L molding with the clamps.

3: Drill and place centers

The next step is to drill and fasten on the 6 inch centers. You’ll need to periodically move the clamps down a couple of feet. This is the hardest part so hang in there.

4: Maintain straight sheer line

Slight down the railing as you continue forward to maintain straight sheer line

5: Heat gun

As you get to the bow, use the heat gun to soften the material so it will adhere to the curve. Be patient as it may take a little time for this step. It may become necessary to place the fasteners closer together so the railing follows the curve better.

6:Insert the rub rail

After the receiver and L-molding are installed it’s time to insert the rub rail. Be careful to leave an overlap of approximately 4 inches at transom ends.

7: Final step

The last step is to bend the rail and secure it with a plastic insert, dress washer and screws. Complete with the end caps.


Boston Whaler rub rails are an important component to keep your boat in good condition. They can save you a lot of money in repairs. If you do it yourself, the replacement cost isn’t as high as having a professional accomplish the tasks.

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