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Old 04-05-2013, 09:09 PM   #1
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Railings or grab bars?

Hi there,

Thought I would sponge from the dense TF brain trust, and see if anybody wants to share their thoughts/opinions concerning a dilemma I'm having.

Our Sundowner Tug has narrow side decks, and I was wondering if you would add to the railings we already have, or put in grab bars?

It doesn't look far, but the areas of concern are the long reach forward from the pilothouse door, or moving back towards the salon roof.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:17 PM   #2
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Railings could restrict easy movement on your deck/ledge. I'd go with hand grabs. ... Looks especially scary at the pilothouse doors. ... You have my sympathies: I'm a fan of wide decks and high/strong railings.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Railings could restrict easy movement on your deck/ledge. I'd go with hand grabs. ... Looks especially scary at the pilothouse doors. ... You have my sympathies: I'm a fan of wide decks and high/strong railings.
Ledge...thanks

Good point. As it stands right now, at least I can blame my wet pants on spray.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:12 PM   #4
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Given your very narrow deck I would agree with Mark that adding railings down the side would get restrictive. A good sturdy set of grab rails will probably serve you better as well as being more aesthetic.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:29 PM   #5
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Your bulwarks look about the right height to trip you overboard, unlike Mark`s which are around hip height, so you need something. What about a s/s rail about 6 inches high on posts of same gauge tube, mounted along the existing cap? You`d have an all round grab rail, raise bulwark height, it would look ok, you need a neat way to end it at/near the pulpit and pushpit. I`ve seen it used around aft cockpits, but can`t i/d a photo source, someone will.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:33 PM   #6
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It does look narrow. The problem of installing rails is that given the narrowness of the deck, you may find yourself having to do a sideways shuffle, which would be a pain in the proverbial.

FWIW, I would invest in two long varnished teak grab rails, port and starboard, from the aft coach house to the stern, with maybe a couple of single grab rails from the deck house door forward.That I think would look in keeping with your boat.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:13 AM   #7
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I agree with the grab rails. Railings may make you feel safer, but unless they are waist height, it is a false sense of security.
Well placed grab rails will encourage anyone to hold on at all times.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:32 AM   #8
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I'm leaning towards grab rails too, nudged somewhat by probably costing a whole heap less than stainless steel railing.

Had to try a preliminary rough sketch though, just to see what hip height railings all around would look like;
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:34 AM   #9
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Perhaps I'm not seeing the problem???

I see teak grab rails on the fore house roof and a long teak grab bar on the saloon roof. Perhaps source the same material for a bit extra to grab onto at the pilothouse and you should be good to go. The pilot house roof appears to roll down and provide something to grip, albeit not a proper grab bar per se.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post
I'm leaning towards grab rails too, nudged somewhat by probably costing a whole heap less than stainless steel railing.

Had to try a preliminary rough sketch though, just to see what hip height railings all around would look like;
I wouldn't place side gates directly opposite the pilothouse doors. It would be too easy to go "oops."

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Old 04-06-2013, 12:54 AM   #11
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I wouldn't place side gates directly opposite the pilothouse doors. It would be too easy to go "oops."
Like I said, dense brain trust...thanks!
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:55 AM   #12
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I have a similar boat. My dog is the only one who uses the actual side decks. I walk on the gunwales (mine are non skid) and use 5 loop grabs on the pilot house roof. My grabs on the focsle roof are a bit longer than yours too it appears.

The top bar on a railing in industry has to be 40" high for a reason.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:59 AM   #13
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Perhaps I'm not seeing the problem???

I see teak grab rails on the fore house roof and a long teak grab bar on the saloon roof. Perhaps source the same material for a bit extra to grab onto at the pilothouse and you should be good to go. The pilot house roof appears to roll down and provide something to grip, albeit not a proper grab bar per se.
You're right, but the pilothouse roof is rounded and slippery even when dry, and the teak grab bar on the fore house roof is longer than I can reach, let alone our 12 year old daughter or her friends...

Maybe a grab bar / railing addition combo;
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Had to try a preliminary rough sketch though, just to see what hip height railings all around would look like;
(Laughing with you, not at you.)

You need this. (and a ruler and a french curve...) I went through reams of paper sketching with kayak mount layouts, masts and such.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:41 AM   #15
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(Laughing with you, not at you.)

You need this. (and a ruler and a french curve...) I went through reams of paper sketching with kayak mount layouts, masts and such.
Yeah, I've got a growing stack of them for a dinghy lift and raised salon roof storage / aft deck rain cover scheme. No financial consequences so far
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:50 AM   #16
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"I wouldn't place side gates directly opposite the pilothouse doors. It would be too easy to go "oops.""

But it sure does help in bringing groceries aboard.

Perhaps just closing the gate on departure would stop the OOPS factor?
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:12 AM   #17
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"I wouldn't place side gates directly opposite the pilothouse doors. It would be too easy to go "oops.""

But it sure does help in bringing groceries aboard.

Perhaps just closing the gate on departure would stop the OOPS factor?
Go to sleep, it's late!

Offsetting a gate makes sense for the pilothouse while at sea, but sure would be annoying while docking as I'm a rookie who makes ample use of his boat hook.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:27 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Go to sleep, it's late!

Offsetting a gate makes sense for the pilothouse while at sea, but sure would be annoying while docking as I'm a rookie who makes ample use of his boat hook.
Actually, as a third time live aboard I agree with FF.

At sea I would hope the gates are closed and substantial enough to act like the rest of the rail. Plus..when exiting...you are/should be on full alert as to "going to the weather decks" and are already holding on to the door frame.

It's once out there, the railings are there for balance only or a last resort, as when doing a task you may lose your balance due to an unexpected sea...not as likely when first exiting.

Do I see grab rails already on the top of your salon top deck? Are they an issue...as that's all I would have.

I took off all my hand rails when I was painting, gluing down my flybridge fairing and never replaced them...so far never missed them on a 4 month trip.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:33 AM   #19
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Our boat has a cable along both sides and I would be worried with the grand kids on board without something to hang on to. Not sure if you have room for something like this, they do have some give to the side. Just a different idea. I also have a couple grab rails that can't be seen in this pic.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:58 AM   #20
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I agree with several others, grab rails would probably be best, assuming you and anyone using them is tall enough to reach them. My boat has grab rails.
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