Just wanted to weigh in here; have been seeing some cracks in the insulation/covering of my coated ss lifelines, and was pretty sure I'd soon be pulling them apart to replace. But yesterday I took an exacto blade to one of them and carefully cut and removed the insulation
. Surprise, the SS underneath was good, apart from some surface rust, so I continued around the boat and removed all of the insulation
. I then took down the lines and soaked them in a big bucket of vinegar, scrubbed with a brass bristle brush, and rehung them. For the cost of the vinegar I have shiny bright, easy to examine lifelines. Trick is not to wait too long, as the surface rust wasn't bad and came off. (If you do this, take a very sharp knife blade like an Exacto, and peel in one direction a slice of the life line, like you would peel the skin of an apple, then get it started, removing the insulation by pulling it away from the SS cable -- don't cut down with the blade pointed in. Peel first, then pull the plastic free.) It was kind of a fun job. The smell of vinegar should be out of my fingers in a week or so.