I replaced the stanchions on a 30' boat with 28" including the bow and stern rail. I think it looked fine and worked well. The boat had a fairly deep cockpit and the extra height of the stern rail made is seem very protected as well. Lifelines should be bare wire as you never know what's happening under that plastic covering. If they get a meathook or burr, they are in need of replacement. Current offshore racing regulations call for bare wire, not covered.