Handrail Fittings for Boats
The old saying “one hand for the boat and one hand for yourself” cannot be overstated. This is where good solid handrails, stanchions and grab rails are appreciated. To add a handrail, grabrail or to expand on the existing rail system, is easier than one might think.
Handrail fittings come in different sizes, configuration and materials such as slip-on fitting for 7/8” OD or 1” OD tubing either in a 90-degree or 60-degree configuration. These fittings are available in chrome plated zinc and from 316 marine grade stainless steel. Pipe handrail fittings are also known as boat rail fittings or grab rail fittings. Marine stainless-steel fittings for handrails are available from manufacturers such as ‘Sea-Dog®
’ marine and “Whitecap®
Fittings for Dodgers, Biminis, Stanchions and Boarding Ladders.
Many of the same marine stainless-steel fittings or stanchion fittings that are marketed for handrails and or grabrails can also be used to fabricate a stout dodger frame, a sturdy Bimini and a practical boarding ladder
together with hand grabs. There are also additional fittings that are especially suited for dodgers and Biminis
such as hinge joints, quick release fittings etc. Using these fittings to add extra comfort to ascend or descend stairs as stair handrail fittings is also a possibility.
Basically, with all the options of boat rail fittings it is equivalent to a mariner ‘Erector ®’ set. Cruise the docks of any marina and one is bound to come up with a hundred situations where these fittings and tubing are used. Some of the other common uses found are a framework to hold solar panels
, a type of crane to assist in raising the outboard motor onboard and even davits to support the dingy off the transom.
Hand Rail Fittings for Walls and Wooden Handrails
While stainless steel hand rail fittings are typically a must in the marine environment, hand rail fittings are more often seen in businesses or for home use. Sea-Dog and Whitecap handrail fittings make beautiful accents for wood handrails as well as custom balcony railing, deck, staircase or wall applications.
Stainless Steel Tubing
used for a variety of applications aboard vessels such as handrails, grab rails, pulpits, etcetera is available in 7/8" and 1" outside diameter with a wall thickness of 0.049” and 0.065" and made from in 304 stainless. The 7/8” OD tubing can also be used to sleeve the I” OD with a wall thickness of 0.049”. The 7/8” will not sleeve the 1” OD thick wall 0.065 tubing.
Undoubtedly with a task such as installing handrails, stanchions or grabrails they must get sealed and bolted to the vessel. Most of the base fittings are predrilled and countersunk eliminating some of the work but they will still require suitable bedding to prevent water intrusion and or electrolysis. When attaching a stainless-steel base onto an aluminum vessel it is important to attempt to electrically insulate the two as much as is practicable especially when operating in a saline environment.