Rod Rigging Replacement Cost: 2023 Breakdown

Written by Desiree Vilar in Cost of Sailing

Although rod rigging is stronger and lighter than wire rigging, over time it can still wear out and need replacement. You can replace the rod rigging on your boat all by yourself, but you still need to spend money on materials and equipment. If you're curious about the overall replacement costs, let's break down how much you need to prepare to replace your rod rigging in 2023 and provide tips for reducing your overall costs.

The cost of rod rigging replacement ranges from $8,000 to $20,000. The cost of materials averages from $5,000 to $10,000, while the cost of labor is between $2,000 and $5,000. Expenses for equipment range from $1,000 to $2,000, while the cost of permits or inspections is estimated to be around $500 to $1,000.

The three types of materials commonly used in rod rigging are stainless steel, nitronic 50 stainless steel, and synthetic rigging. The cost of each material per foot will affect the overall cost of replacing rod rigging. Let's compare the prices of each material per foot.


  • You will only need to spend around $6,000–$15,000 for materials and equipment for DIY rod rigging replacement.
  • Budget at least $1,000–$2,000 for high-quality equipment to help lower long-term maintenance costs.
  • A more experienced professional rigger usually charges a high rate, around $50-$150 per hour, but they may also be able to complete the replacement more efficiently and with higher quality.
  • Synthetic rigging is the lightest and strongest option, as well as the one with the highest upfront costs, ranging from $25 - $50 per foot.
  • If your boat is valued at $100,000, the estimated insurance cost for rod rigging replacement could be around $1,000–$2,000 (which is around 1-2% of the total value of the boat).

Detailed Breakdown Of Rod Rigging Replacement Costs In 2023

Below are the main cost factors involved in rod rigging replacement:

Cost factor Estimated cost
Cost of materials $5,000 - $10,000
Cost of labor $2,000 - $5,000
Cost of equipment $1,000 - $2,000
Cost of permits/inspections $500 - $1,000
Cost of insurance $1,000 - $2,000 (approximately 1-2% of the total value of the boat)

Account for rod rigging material costs

Rod rigging is typically more expensive than wire rigging, but it is also more durable and can last for about 10–20 years.. The estimated cost ranges from $5,000 - $10,000.

There are several types of materials that can be used for rod rigging replacement, and each comes with different costs:

Material Estimated cost per foot
Stainless steel $10 - $20
Nitronic 50 stainless steel $20 - $40
Synthetic rigging $25 - $50

Stainless steel is known for its strength and durability

Stainless steel is also a popular choice for rigging because it is resistant to corrosion and is relatively easy to maintain. It is often used in cruising boats and is suitable for most sailing conditions. Here's our article about the advantages of using stainless steel for rigging.

Nitronic 50 stainless steel has a higher tensile strength than the regular one

Nitronic 50 stainless steel is a high-performance material that is becoming increasingly popular in the sailing industry because it is more resistant to elongation, corrosion, and fatigue cycling.

It is also lighter and has less windage per foot of wire rigging. As a result, it is often used in racing boats where weight and wind resistance are critical factors. It is also often considered as an alternative material to stainless steel when replacing standing riggings.

Synthetic rigging is made from woven high-strength fibers

Synthetic rigging, such as Dyneema or composite rigging, is a relatively new development in the sailing industry. It is made from high-strength fibers that are woven together to create a lightweight and strong rigging system.

It is often used in racing boats due to its low weight and wind resistance. It is also becoming more popular in cruising boats due to its ease of handling and maintenance. If you're opting for Dyneema as your choice of material, here's how much it can cost.

Factor in the labor costs

The estimated cost range of hiring a professional rigger ranges from $2,000 - $5,000 depending on the hourly rate of the professional and the time required for the replacement. On average, hourly rates for rigging professionals range from $50-$150 per hour.

Now, the time required for rod rigging replacement depends on the size of the boat and the complexity of the rigging system but it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. This includes the time needed to remove the old rigging, install the new rigging, and perform any necessary adjustments and tuning.

Note that some professionals may charge a flat fee for the entire project, while others may charge an hourly rate. Try to get quotes from multiple professionals to compare costs and ensure that all aspects of the replacement are included in the quote.

You might also want to consider the experience level and reputation of the professional hired, as a more experienced professional may charge a higher rate but may also be able to complete the replacement more efficiently and with higher quality.

Take into consideration the cost of equipment

The estimated cost range allotted for equipment is around $1,000 - $2,000. Some common equipment needed includes rigging tools such as wire cutters, swage tools, and turnbuckle wrenches, as well as hardware such as clevis pins, cotter pins, and thimbles.

Perhaps consider the specific needs of the project when selecting equipment, as some boats may require specialized equipment that can increase the cost. Higher-quality equipment may be more expensive, but can also be more durable and reliable, leading to lower long-term maintenance costs. Cheaper equipment may be more affordable, but can also be more prone to breaking or wearing out quickly.

Budget for permits or inspections

Some common permits required may include permits for working in a marina or boatyard, permits for working in a protected or environmentally sensitive area, or permits for working on a historic or landmark vessel. You could research the specific permits required for the location and type of boat before starting the replacement.

Some locations may require inspections of the rigging system after the replacement is complete. For example, some states may require a safety inspection of the rigging system before the boat can be launched. Some permits may also be free, while others may require a fee.

Prepare for insurance costs

A rough estimate for insurance costs could be around 1-2% of the total value of the boat. So if the boat is valued at $100,000, the estimated insurance cost for rod rigging replacement could be around $1,000-$2,000.

If you have insurance for your sailboat, try to check your policy to see if it covers rod rigging replacement. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of replacement if the rigging fails due to normal wear and tear or if it is damaged in an accident. However, some policies may only cover the cost of replacement if the rigging fails due to a specific cause, such as a lightning strike.

If your boat is older and has a lower value, it may not be worth the cost of replacing the rigging. However, if your boat is newer and has a higher value, it may be worth the investment to ensure that your rigging is in good condition.

Recommendations To Reduce Overall Replacement Costs

Below are some tips to cut down on the overall costs of replacing rod rigging:

1. A regular inspection ensures the safety and longevity of your rod rigging

Over time, rod rigging can weaken and become more prone to failure, especially if it is exposed to harsh sailing conditions, which is why regular inspection is needed. In fact, manufacturers recommend replacing the standing rigging at least every 10–15 years.

Regular inspection involves checking the condition of the rod rigging and looking for signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. You can do this inspection yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. If you choose to do it yourself, you may need to have the necessary knowledge and tools to do it safely and effectively.

One way to inspect your rod rigging is to use a magnifying glass to look for signs of wear or corrosion. You should also check the fittings and connections for signs of damage or wear. If you notice any issues, it's important to address them right away to prevent further damage.

Regular inspection can help you catch potential problems before they become major issues. By catching problems early, you can save yourself time and money in the long run.It's much cheaper to replace a few pieces of rod rigging than to replace the entire rigging system.

In addition to regular inspection, you also need to know when to replace your rod rigging. Rod rigging typically has a lifespan of around 8–10 years, depending on factors such as sailing conditions and age. If your rod rigging is approaching this age, it's a good idea to start planning for its replacement.

2. Consider DIY options

The cost of DIY rod rigging replacement depends on the specific needs of the project, but on average, the cost of materials and equipment can range from $6,000-$15,000.

Doing the rod rigging replacement yourself can save you a significant amount of money on labor costs as well as potential equipment rental. It can also be a rewarding and educational experience for boat owners who want to learn more about their rigging system.

However, without proper experience and training, DIY replacement can be dangerous and can result in mistakes that can compromise the safety and performance of the rigging system. Additionally, it may not be covered by insurance, which can be a significant risk in the event of an accident.

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