Pontoon Boat seats – recover them yourself – why not?

Pontoon boat seats need replaced from time to time. The constant exposure to the water, especially salt water if you are on the ocean, and sun, will break down the vinyl seats. They will not only fade and begin to look worn out, eventually they will crack and the foam inside will hold water.


It’s not hard to replace the vinyl on your own pontoon boat seats. After all, if you built your own pontoon boat, what’s the issue with replacing the vinyl on the seats? If you pay someone to reupholster the seats, it will cost a pretty penny – so try it yourself. You will be pleasantly surprised.

boat seats

You will need to have the following items to do the job: A seam ripper (not a cheap one, the vinyl upholstery will break it), marine vinyl, some sheets of 1” thick foam rubber, pins, stainless steel staples, screw driver, zipper baggies, pliers, a marker, foam adhesive and leather strength needles for your sewing machine.






Select the marine vinyl you want for your seats. This is the chance to change the color of seats on your boat. Just remember that the darker the color, the more heat the seats will retain. You will be more comfortable on a light color. Get the foam, leather needles for your sewing machine. Don’t try to re-use the old foam. If the vinyl is worn out, you can bet the foam is pretty shot too.




Pull the old seats from the boat and take them apart. The seats and backrests will come apart, so using the pliers and screwdriver, start removing the hardware and put all the screws, etc in a zipper bag for each seat. Mark the bags with the marker, so you know what bag goes with which seat.




Remove the covers from the frame. By flipping the seats over, you will see staples that hold the vinyl. Pull these staples and the vinyl will come off. The vinyl you have will become your pattern for the new seats, so don’t be overly aggressive at this step.




Take your seam ripper and separate the pieces of vinyl in order to produce your pattern. Lay the old pieces on top of the new marine vinyl you bought, trace the pieces and then cut them out. You might want to add an allowance of ½” or so all the way around to give you room to work with your sewing machine. Once you have them cut out, pin them together and start sewing.




Cut away any broken down foam and add new foam in its place. The foam adhesive will hold it together. Do you best to get the right shape.




Pull the cover over the foam as tight as you can. Odds are you are going to need help to make it tight. With staples underneath, start anchoring the new vinyl to the frame. Work it as tightly as you can all along as you staple it to the frame. Stainless steel staples won’t rust when they get wet. Needless to say, you need to use stainless steel staples.




Put the seats back on the boat, install them by reversing the process you used when you removed them.


Now sit back and enjoy your new seats. You can throw a party on your boat with the amount of money you saved doing it yourself.


One Response to “Pontoon Boat seats – recover them yourself – why not?”

  1. John Ferrell

    Apr 18. 2017

    You said that we should take the old seats out and take them apart. I’ll need to ask a professional about different options that I have for getting new seats. It could also be helpful for me to ask someone for assistance because I don’t have the skills or tools to put in or take out boat seats.

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