Boat seat cushions may all look more or less the same in the showroom and at a boatshow, but how those seat cushions are made will have a lasting impact on your comfort, and the value of your boat.
The comfort part is pretty obvious – how cushy that cushion is or is not will have a direct relationship to how much you feel bumps and bangs on your butt. But also remember that cushions are often one of the first things to begin looking ragged and worn, and cheap ones may need replacement after a few short seasons. We’ve talked before about your choices for adding seats to a boat, but when you buy a boat the existing seats are going to obviously be the most important ones to consider. So, how do you tell which cushions are good, and which are sub-par? Look for these tell-tale give-aways.
1. The heavier the vinyl, the better. Inexpensive boats will often advertise “heavy-duty marine grade” vinyl in the seats. But look for the vinyl’s rating in ounces, which expresses how much it weighs per square yard. 24 ounce vinyl is the norm on boats, but well-constructed seats feature heavier vinyl. Look for at least 36 ounces, if you want those cushions to last for years on end.
2. The foam is also important. Again, more density is better, so it doesn’t “bottom out” when a heavy-weight butt sits in it. The best seats have multi-density foam, so they’re softest on top, a little firmer in the middle, and very firm on the bottom layer. And regardless of density, flow-through foam is the best type to have. This stuff allows water to drain through the foam, so it doesn’t hold the water after becoming saturated. We’ve all accidentally sat on saturated foam cushions before, and it definitely does not add to your comfort level!
3. Stitching is another important item to look at. You want multiple stitching, which will hold up better in the long run. You’ve seen those threads break loose on cheap cushions before, right? Double-stitched piping is far superior, and will last far longer than single-stitched piping.