Boat seats - they’re one of those parts that can make your boat look old and unloved if not properly maintained. Imagine your passengers sitting down in their bathers or shorts on a ripped or cracked vinyl seat while the boat pounds out to sea. Whether you use your boat often or only occasionally, here are some maintenance tips you can follow:
1. Use A Boat Seat Cover
Exposure to the elements is your seats’ number one enemy. Keep the your seats out of the sun to stop fading, discolouration, cracking and splitting. After returning from every boat trip, wash down the inside of your boat and after the seats have completely dried, apply a seat cover. Most covers are a universal size but look for one that has an adjustable cord at the bottom so it fits snugly over the whole seat. A good fitting cover will not only keep out the sun, wind and rain but also the dirt and bugs.
2. Clean The Surface Of Your Boat Seats Regularly
Your boat seats should get a regular clean. You don’t need any special boat seat cleaners, an all-purpose boat wash and wax product or even mild detergent is fine. Use a clean, soft cloth to remove any salt, oils, dirt, slime and grime on your boat’s upholstery or vinyl. Pay attention to any joins and stitching as this is where dirt can be trapped. If you have mould or mildew on your seats, you can use a marine bleach cleaner or mildew spray. Read the instructions carefully in case it needs to be diluted before application.
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3. Perform A Deep Cleaning Of Your Boat Seats Once A Year
Aside from performing a regular clean of your boat seats, it is also important to do a thorough deep clean of all parts. It’s ideal to remove your seats to access all parts. If seats are left in place for years, they can become difficult to remove. A quick release boat seat swivel base can make seat removal much easier. Most seats use a standard 7x7 inch mounting pattern. For a smaller boat like a dinghy, you can use a clamp and swivel for easy removal and fast repositioning of seats. Once your seats are off, thoroughly clean any pedestals, sliders, swivels, mechanisms and seats to keep all parts in good working order. Use a marine-grade lubricant like the Bel-Ray Biodegradable Multipurpose Lubricant to prevent rust and reduce friction on the parts.
4. Replacement Boat Seat Parts
If your boat seat’s foam and cover is still in good shape you may want to upgrade the mechanisms to give your seat a brand new feel. With upgrades of parts, an older model boat can be made more modern and functional.
For improved comfort and movement look at upgrading to a new pedestal. With a gas-powered cylinder pedestal you can easily raise or lower your seat and reduce the pounding on your body.
5. Make Your Boat Seats Comfortable
When you are sitting on a boat for most of the day you want a comfortable seat. If you have hard, moulded seats or ones that have lost some of their support, you have the cost-effective option of using a removable folding padded seat. The thick foam padding gives extra comfort for passengers on smaller boats.
The time you spend maintaining your boat seats is time well spent. Boat seats make up a large part of the interior and shabby seats make it less inviting to your passengers and potential buyers.