Adding Comfortable Seating to a Small Boat: Yes, it Can Be Done

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Comfortable seating on a small boat? Yes, it can be installed.

News Flash: Small but Comfortable Boat Seats Do Exist!

Yes, we small boat owners do have a tough time with finding comfortable seating. They certainly don’t come on the boat very often, and those big, puffy, cushioned captains’ chairs that go on 26-footers would take up half the cockpit on a 18′ bay boat. This is a particularly tough issue to solve on aluminum boats with bench seating. Ooooh, my aching back! But with a little research and smart choosing, you can find and install comfy boat seats—even on a small aluminum rig.

On the flats boat above, you can see there’s been some serious customization. The captain not only added seats at the console (by mounting on the aft deck), but also on pedestals in front of it. True, this does eat into cockpit space. But 90-percent of the time, you’ll be doing your casting while standing on the fore or aft deck, anyway. And there are a few important details we can glean from looking at this rig.

  • The cushions are snap-off, and can be removed. This is important for storing them out of the sun, cleaning them, and when the vinyl cracks or tears it can be replaced.
  • The captain chose seats with arm rests. Although we don’t think of it as an important feature, during a long day aboard these make a huge difference. Whenever possible, get them.
  • The seats are positioned so anyone sitting in them will always be able to wedge their feet against a solid fiberglass sub-straight. Again, though this may not often be an obvious feature, it’s incredibly important. In rough seas, it will make the difference between comfort, and hanging on for dear life.
  • The seats swivel. If they don’t, you’ll only find them comfortable when running.

What about the standard bench seating? Can’t you just add cushions and call it good enough? Well, just look at the one guy in this picture who’s sitting on one. See the difference in his posture? How he’s slouching? How he was so uncomfortable facing forward that he’s cocked his body at an angle to the backrest? How he has nowhere to wedge in his feet? They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case, it’s completely true. Take the above points into consideration when you add seating to your small boat, and everyone who steps aboard will thank you.



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