The 10 Best Boat Seats
Set Sail In Style
Back-to-back seats — connected at the base but facing separate directions — efficiently utilize your space and usually feature storage underneath.
People operate watercraft for a variety of reasons, but whether they’re on the water to fish, hunt, explore, or relax, they can probably agree on one thing: comfortable seating is vital.
Styles vary widely between different types of boats and applications, but the material and design of the seat is important regardless of the type. Seats covered in marine-grade vinyl are ideal, as this durable material offers steady resistance to water and mildew.
Unless you’re setting up a basic, utilitarian fishing boat, you’ll want a seat with ample padding for comfort and support. A quality cushion will also help provide shock absorption, which becomes increasingly valuable if you find yourself in rough, hostile waters.
Boat seats are typically waterproof, but if you’ll be out in saltwater, it’s a good idea to go with a model that features an aluminum frame. The high salt content in the water won’t damage or corrode an aluminum frame as easily as other metals or plastics. For freshwater vessels, a seat with resilient stainless steel hardware should work well.
Once you’re comfortable with the quality, shift your focus to the seat type. What style of boat do you own? Are you looking for an individual seat, multiple seats, bench seating, or a full-blown furniture set? Do you need a helm chair for the captain or multiple seats for passengers?
If you’re equipping a fishing boat, simplicity and ease of use triumph over fancy features. A basic folding seat — with a hinged backrest that flips down — is the most common style. A bucket seat provides more cushion and support, but lacks the folding functionality, while a bench seat can accommodate two or more individuals and mounts directly to the boat deck.
On large cruiser watercraft, you’ll often find bolster seats that provide better back support and additional features like armrests. Back-to-back seats — connected at the base but facing separate directions — efficiently utilize your space and usually feature storage underneath.
If you’re in the market for a more specialized seat, there are plenty of options available. Designed to aid you in battling feisty fish, fighting chairs feature built-in rod holders and padded arm rests to help ward off fatigue. A cooler seat is a nice space-saving solution with — you guessed it — a cooler that serves as the base. A swingback seat is a versatile choice, as you can quickly adjust it to face forward or backward.
Installation, Cleaning, and Maintenance
We’d never attempt to dissuade anyone from adopting the seafaring lifestyle, but we’ll let you newbies in on a little secret that is well-known to veteran watercraft owners: boats are a lot of work, both during the boating season and in the off-season.
But what’s the fun without a challenge, right? Whether you’re purchasing new seats or replacing old ones, you’ll need to prepare yourself. Make sure to take accurate measurements of the space available in your boat (or of the seats currently installed), so you know with certainty that your new components will fit.
Whether you’re purchasing new seats or replacing old ones, you’ll need to prepare yourself.
You’ll have to mount certain seats to a pedestal, and this can make things tricky. While some of these models come with the pedestal, many do not. If that’s the case for your selection, you’ll need to carefully evaluate available pedestals before buying one to ensure it matches the specific brand of seat you plan to install.
While most seats are constructed with resilient, high-quality vinyl — which is standard for marine applications — they’ll still eventually break down without proper care. After installing your seats, it’s wise to apply a special UV protectant to them prior to taking the boat out. Depending on their level of exposure to the sun, you should reapply the protectant every couple of months to ensure its effectiveness.
Cleanliness is key to longevity, so you’ll want to get into the habit of conducting routine cleanings, as well. This will help prevent the buildup of grime and mildew as well as stains on the vinyl that could become permanent if not addressed in a timely fashion. Be sure to use a boat cover when your watercraft is not in use — if a substance such as tree sap finds its way onto an uncovered seat, the sun can bake it into the vinyl, making it nearly impossible to remove.
If mildew stains develop over time, you’ll want to use a powerful marine-grade mildew stain remover to remove them — not bleach. To prepare yourself for any accidents that may occur, you may also want to keep a vinyl repair kit handy on the boat, which is helpful for fixing tears.
Decking Out Your Vessel
Once you’re satisfied with the seating situation on your boat, it’s time to equip it with the components and accessories necessary to create a fully enjoyable experience on the water.
With a boat grill, you can whip up burgers and brats for your friends and family, then jump into the water to cool down and swim off those calories.
For reliable protection from the elements, the aforementioned boat cover is a great place to start. Another indispensable item is a solid anchor. These are available in a variety of styles for different types of boats, and they’ll allow you to post your watercraft up in a specific location by preventing it from drifting due to current or wind.
If you plan on doing some swimming or snorkeling, you’re going to want to install a boat ladder. Many of these are telescopic and adjustable for use on vessels of various sizes. For those of you with canine friends who enjoy an occasional frolic in the water, a dog ramp will prove useful, as well.
Many cookout enthusiasts will argue that nothing beats spending a sunny afternoon grilling in the backyard, but we challenge them to consider this alternative: spending a sunny afternoon grilling out on your boat. With a boat grill, you can whip up burgers and brats for your friends and family, then jump into the water to cool down and swim off those calories.
You probably invested a considerable amount of time and resources into your boat, so why restrict your use of it to daylight hours? Pick up some bright underwater boat lights to enhance your visibility for navigation in low-light conditions and maybe even attract some fish.