Boat Outfitters offers two basic styles of rod boxes: recessed gunwale rod boxes for storing rods horizontally on fishing boats and pontoon rod boxes for securely storing them vertically on pontoon boats or docks. Contact us for a custom size! » Read More
Why Replace Under Gunwale Rod Storage Boxes?
Recessed under-gunwale rod box inserts are a popular feature on small to mid-sized fiberglass fishing and crossover boats. Mounted in large cutouts, they make use of otherwise wasted space between the boat’s hull and liner. Most boxes hold two, three, or four fishing rods, although many people store tools like gaffs, deck brushes, and boat hooks in them too.
Most of the under gunwale rod storage boxes found on production boats are made of molded ABS plastic, which is lightweight and inexpensive. These are typically sourced from a third-party supplier, rather than made by the boat builder. Unfortunately, ABS also tends to weather and turn brittle more quickly than other materials commonly used on boats. It’s not uncommon for these inserts to discolor, crack or break on boats that are otherwise in good condition.
Replacement Options for Gunwale Rod Box Inserts
If your boat has a broken, cracked, or faded gunwale rod box that you want to replace, you have a few options. The first and least expensive is a direct replacement with an identical molded plastic rod box. On newer boats, there’s a good chance the manufacturer, the dealer, or the supplier that originally made the box will be able to sell you a new part that you can simply screw into place. Frequently, though, an exact replacement simply isn’t made anymore.
Another option, if you don’t use the rod box, is to remove them and have a fiberglass shop simply glass over the cutouts. This can be costly, though, and it’s rare to get an exact Gelcoat color match except on fairly new boats where you can order matching gel from the manufacturer.
Finally, if you can’t find an exact replacement and you don’t want to just glass over the cutouts, you can purchase off-the-shelf or custom-made aftermarket gunwale rod boxes. Even if you can’t find inserts that exactly match your existing cutouts, you can likely find one close enough in size that it will require only minor adjustments.
Choosing Gunwale Rod Storage Boxes
The majority of aftermarket gunwale rod boxes currently available are made from some type of molded plastic, which is inexpensive and fine for many applications. For maximum durability and utility, though, King Starboard HDPE is a superior material — although significantly costlier. Starboard boxes are assembled from precision-machined parts with marine-grade hardware. Additionally, Starboard gunwale inserts can be made in several different shades of white and off-white to match most Gelcoat colors.
Custom Under Gunwale Rod Boxes
If you can’t find a rod box that will work with your existing cutout — or if you just want to upgrade to Starboard boxes — custom-made boxes are the way to go. Custom box inserts can be made to exactly match the width, height, and depth of your existing cutout, even if it isn’t exactly rectangular. Contact Us at Boat Outfitters for information about the design process and pricing.
Custom rod boxes are also a good choice when you’re installing boxes for the first time, rather than replacing them. Many two-piece boats — particularly bay boats and smaller offshore-style boats — have significant usable space under the gunwales between the liner and the hull. If you have the required depth, about 5” depending on the exact box, installing a new rod box is a manageable DIY project.
Pontoon Rod Boxes
Another type of rod box is a pontoon rod box, which is an enclosed, lockable vertical fishing rod storage rack made of Starboard. Designed to be mounted outside the “fence” on the forward or aft deck of a pontoon, this style of box holds up to four rods securely and is very convenient since rods can be locked and left on the boat overnight. Slots of two small Plano-style tackle trays are also included. These boxes can also be installed on your dock.
Need More Help Deciding? Give us a call!
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