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Fish'n Rail, P-Rail Test Report

The EPCO Products, Inc. Fish'nRail system was developed to assist handicapped and physically impaired boaters to maneuver within the confines of a boat. The system is designed to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act specification as well as the ABYC specifications for tubular grab rails.

EPCO engaged the Indiana Purdue University, Fort Wayne, Indiana to conduct a test to determine the load capacity of the P-Rail. The test consisted of mounting the 304 stainless steel P-Rail to a fabricated I-beam as shown in figures 1 & 2, and was designed to place a straight line pull on the P-Rail to a maximum of 400 pounds. The P-Rail was mounted to the I-beam assembly with (4) 5/16"-18 316 stainless steel hex head screws (figure 3). Test parameters were to measure the load and deflection of the P-Rail as the load increased from 0 to 400 pounds at a rate of .10" per minute. The test was conducted on March 11, 2014.

Figure One

Figure Two

Figure Three

Figure Four

The test was started and there was no deflection of the P-Rail until 200 pounds of load had been applied. As the graph shows (figure 5), the rail deflected .5" at 250 pounds. At 300 pounds (the Americans with Disabilities Act specification) the rail had deflected 1.25". The test was continued to the full 400 pound load (ABYC specification). The total deflection of the rail was 3.4". The load was gradually released and the deflection observed until no load was placed on the rail.

Upon inspection of the P-Rail after the test, the welded joint at the flange had distorted and allowed the top of the P-Rail to bend 2 %" from vertical. No structural failure to the flange weld or other P-Rail component could be detected (figure 4).

Figure Five