How to Make a Lifesling Cover From Sunbrella® Fabric

Item # X-HT-200648

A Lifesling is a very valuable piece of safety equipment to keep on board your boat at all times. This man-overboard recovery system makes it easier than other recovery methods to hoist crew members back on board. However, the number one complaint of sailors is that the deployment bag that stores the Lifesling doesn’t hold up to UV rays and chafing. We’ve received many requests for instructions on how to make a sturdier Lifesling cover. We listened to those requests and created a how-to video that will detail how to sew your own Sunbrella® Lifesling cover.

DIY Sunbrella Lifesling Cover

We modeled our cover off of the original pouch that comes with the Lifesling. To give our cover better UV protection, we used a Sunbrella Marine Grade fabric. Many sailors like to use a Sunbrella that matches the rest of their boat canvas for a cohesive look. We also added a chafe protection patch of Phifertex® Plus Mesh to the back of the cover where it will rest against the stanchion. We also added Phifertex Mesh to the bottom of the cover to help promote drainage and airflow.

To give the cover a sturdy shape, we created internal pockets to house plastic stiffeners. You can buy thin sheets of plastic at a hardware store to insert in your cover, or repurpose the sheets from your existing Lifesling cover. Although we do not show this in the video, it is also a good idea to cut out the instructions from the original Lifesling bag and sew them to your new bag so they can be easily seen.

In this video you will learn how to pattern the panels, create the inside pockets, attach a back flap, and assemble the cover.

NOTE: This video has a sequence order issue. Please follow the steps below - At 6:05 min STOP and Skip Ahead to 11:21 min. Then at 15:07 min STOP and Go Back to 6:51 min.

Video Chapters:

  • Patterning Panels – 0:29 min.
  • Sewing Back Panel – 3:15 min.
  • Sewing Font and Side Panels – 6:49 min.
  • Adding Back Flap – 8:39 min.
  • Creating Inside Rope Pocket – 11:19 min.
  • Assembling the Cover – 15:06 min.
  • Closing Top Envelope Openings – 18:27 min.
  • Creating Cover Top – 19:50 min.
  • Material List – 26:05 min.

Materials List:

  • 46” Sunbrella® Marine Grade Fabric (we used Sunbrella Linen Tweed Marine Grade #4654-0000)
  • Phifertex® Plus Mesh (we used Phifertex Plus Mesh Sand #1243)
  • V-92 Polyester or Tenara Thread
  • 1" Polyester Velcro (hook #473100 & loop #478100)
  • 1" White Polyester Webbing #531600
  • 2" White Polyester Webbing #120264

Tools List:

  • Soapstone Marking Pencil #102766
  • Sailrite® Edge Hotknife Package #103800
  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LS-1 PLUS Walking Foot Sewing Machine #300502
  • Seam ripper #18104
  • Scissors
  • Yardstick
  • Tape measure

Have you ever made a Lifesling Cover? Share your experience, tips and advice in the comments!