How to Recover a Horseshoe Buoy

How to Recover a Horseshoe Buoy

An important piece of boat safety equipment is an easily tossed floatation device like a throw ring or horseshoe buoy in case of a man overboard situation. To keep these safety devices ready-to-go all the time, they often are sitting out exposed to the sun. If your horseshoe rescue buoy’s vinyl covering is starting to look worn out, you can reuse the foam inside and sew up a new cover for it.

Most safety buoys like this are covered in vinyl. We decided to also use a vinyl fabric for our horseshoe buoy cover, choosing a Naugahyde Universal fabric in yellow. You’ll want to use a bright color, like yellow, orange or red, so your buoy will be easy to see in the water. You could also use another type of vinyl or even other water-repellent fabric like Sunbrella Marine Grade if you wanted.

Sewing this horseshoe buoy is very similar to sewing a box cushion, just with a few more curves. If you can sew a box cushion, you can sew a new cover for your horseshoe rescue buoy.

In this video you’ll learn how to pattern the fabric, create the zipper plaque, add the webbing and D-rings, and assemble the cushion cover.

Materials List:

Find all the materials needed for this project, including the hardware and a large selection of vinyl fabrics at Sailrite.com.

Have you ever re-covered a buoy? Do you have any tips to add to this process? Share your suggestions and ideas in the comments!

3 comments
  1. George Chamberlain said:

    I did mine in shelter rite fabric, and added a scoop at the top of the curve as a sea anchor. Basically copied the look of the higher horseshoe buoys I had seen online. Wish I had saved the small section of the original vinyl with the USCG certification stamped on it, would have been easy to cut that piece out and just put it inside the new zippered cover.

  2. WHY WAS NAUGAHYDE USED INSTEAD OF SUNBRELLA MARINE GRADE FABRIC ?

    • Nikki said:

      Our original buoy had a vinyl cover, so we used Naugahyde to match the original, but you certainly could use Sunbrella Marine Grade fabric, too.

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