Merits of Carpeting A Boat or Yacht

Boat carpeting is viewed with mixed feelings by many people who have been on boats whose carpeting was installed several decades prior. I went on a yacht charter to the Caribbean, and the weave was mushed down; it was constantly wet, and smelt of mold and mildew. That’s because 20 and even 10 years ago, boat manufacturers and boat enthusiasts were still using regular house carpeting on their boats. Marine carpeting has advanced in leaps and bounds since then. Now the average marine carpet’s bristles are made from synthetic materials which are more resistant to wear and tear, and dry much more quickly, meaning they don’t stain or give in to mold. They’re also treated with a protective substance to prevent excessive UV light from causing the carpets to bleach and fade. Boat carpeting is beneficial to have over the bare frame of a boat because it’s more comfortable to sit on for long periods of time, and it also provides better traction for a boater’s feet, decreasing the chances of slipping and falling while out on the water.

Boat Preparation

While marine carpeting can be installed on just about any boat, some boats require more preparation than others. Some boats already have carpeting that must first be removed. This involves pulling it up by hand and then scraping off the remaining patches of glue from the aluminum or fiberglass from beneath. Once most of the glue is gone, any remaining ridges or uneven spots need to be sanded smooth.

Smaller boats may not even have flat bottoms for occupants, instead leaving the hull bare. In such cases, water is prone to collecting against the interior of the hull, and flat planes must be installed over it with plywood. Usually, the boards are cut so they snug up against the inward curving sides of the hull–the “V” shape of the boat bottom holding up the new floor by itself.


To install new carpeting, all hatches and doors must be removed, leaving just the flat planes of the boat’s floors and seats. Each flat section of the boat should be measured and the dimensions cut individually using a set of carpeting shears from the roll of boat carpeting. Because boat carpets contain some rubber, it’s important to leave them out in the sun unfolded for several hours before working with them. This will ensure they’ve expanded out, which the heat of the sun causes.

The boat carpet is roughly cut to size, ensuring it’s a little bigger than it needs to be. Marine glue is applied to the flat surfaces of the boat with a trowel in an even layer, which the carpets are then pressed into. The carpeting is stretched tight, and air bubbles and pockets are worked out by rubbing the whole surface flat. The ports for the hatches are then cut out. The hatches are reinstalled and the carpets are affixed to them in that same fashion. Finally, the excess carpeting around the edges is carefully trimmed away with a carpeting knife. The glue is left to dry completely.