How to Replace a Boat Interior


Whether the result of necessity or simple desire, the wholesale replacement of a boat's interior is a drastic step made only after a design has been chosen, materials selected and purchased, and required contractors interviewed and given a date to appear aboard the vessel. The interior replacement project will move through a series of steps that may seem contrary to those used to shore-side construction, but are common in the world of ships and boat building.

  • Gut the interior, starting at the overhead (the ceiling) and working downward. Control systems and electrical conduits are located in the walls and the overhead, and plumbing is in the walls and under the deck. Exposing those areas first allows electrical work to be attended to while the demolition is underway. Allow any work that requires professional attention, like plumbing, water and electrical, to be completed and approved before beginning to refit the interior.

  • Put in any new windows that require cutting, burning or otherwise making a new hole in the boat. Install the exterior facings for the windows, but not the interior "window surrounds."

  • Install the selected overhead treatment first. Install any overhead lighting fixtures and test the fixtures. Working from the "top down" in the refitting process means that debris from the work on the overhead will hit a bare, unfinished deck, rather than landing on newly-installed carpet or furnishings. Take care not to damage cables, conduits or piping that pass through the overhead.

  • Install the wall panels, taking care not to damage any cables, conduits or wiring that runs along the interior of the wall. Do not cover the face of electrical panels or places where access panels should be, unless the paneling already has cutouts to allow access to these. Install the window surrounds.

  • Complete demotion clean-up. Paint and make minor repairs as required.

  • Install the flooring and any built-in furniture. Install appliances, including fire extinguishers. Install light switch and outlet covers, and any required interior signage.


  • "The Complete Book of Boat Maintenance and Repair; David Kendall; Doubleday, 1975"
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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