Contoured shape for optimal comfort. High-density foam padding retains its shape through plenty of use. Multiple colors are available so you can find one that matches your boat. Looks better than OEM seats.
Not roomy enough for larger users.
Available individually or as a pair for a reduced cost. This boat seat holds up well over time. Dense compression foam keeps its shape and is resistant to mold, mildew, and fading. Folds down when not in use. Comes in a variety of colors and designs.
Cushioning is hard, but it does get softer over time.
Thick cushions offer comfort on choppy waters. These seats can securely fold down when not in use. They snap closed with a button. Aluminum alloy hinges won't rust. Can be pedestal or bench mounted. Standard 5 x 5 inch bolt pattern.
Construction doesn't feel heavy-duty.
Available in four different colors. Created with help from surgeons and other professionals to bring you the most comfort and health possible while sitting. Simple installation process. Polypropylene and marine vinyl material. Chair covering resists UV rays. Excellent reviews.
Some issues with folding and locking functions.
Vinyl, plastic, and aluminum materials with a high-back. Foldable. Moisture-resistant exterior. Made by a trusted brand, this seat features foam cushioning for extra comfort. It is 17 inches wide. Anti-mildew and UV-resistant seat coverings won't fade over time.
Seats can sometimes break or crack, and the frame can be flimsy.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Boat seats are a requirement for boats regardless of whether you’ve got a fishing boat, pontoon boat, sailing yacht, or ski boat. It’s dangerous to stand while moving at high speeds across the water.
Seats are at prominent and visible aspect of a boat that immediately make a statement about your boat’s style and how valuable your boat is — all of which can affect the resale value of your boat. Boat seats are classified by the ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) into two main categories: Type A and Type B. Seats that are rated Type A are safe to use at any speed. Seats that are rated Type B are only safe at speeds under 5mph. Thus, the primary use of your boat will dictate what type of seat you should get.
There are many factors to weigh when searching for the right boat seat for your needs, but our buying guide will help you navigate the shoals of boat seats.
If you plan on using your boat for water skiing or other high-speed recreation, you’ll need stronger chairs with higher backs to support you during acceleration and possibly even arms to support you during high-speed turns. These types of chairs normally don’t have folding backs and present more drag when pulling your boat down the road on a trailer.
If your boat is mainly used for fishing, you’ll want to have some fishing seats on it. These seats are often mounted on the front of the boat on swivel-type mounts. Casting seats don’t have arms and have either a low or non-existent back.
Boating regulations are specific to each state, but it is nearly universally required by all of them to have a captain or helm seat in the driver’s position. The helm seat, designated Type AD under the ABYC standards, must be safe at any speed and has to meet stringent requirements regarding how much torque, weight, and how many impacts it can withstand when supporting 225 pounds. Passenger seats, Type AP, must meet somewhat less stringent requirements but must be safe at any speed. Fishing and casting seats, Class B, are the least safe and should only be used at 5mph trolling speeds or less.
Pay close attention to the physical size of the chairs. Some of them are appropriate for small children, while others are sized for large adults. Find a chair in your house that you’re comfortable in, then measure its width and depth and the height of the back. This will give you a target to shoot for when selecting seats for your boat.
All of the seats in our top picks are intended to be mounted on a pedestal — usually a swivel pedestal. However, some boat seats are meant to be attached directly to the floor.
Stainless steel, aluminum, high-density foam padding, injection molded plastic, and marine-grade vinyl are the main materials boat seats are made from. Helm chairs will have more stainless steel in them than other types of chairs. Low speed and folding seats usually have aluminum hinges for the seats. In most cases, the frame is made from injection molded plastic. If the description lists any other materials, take a close look to ensure the manufacturer isn’t using a cheap substitute.
There are a multitude of colors and patterns to choose from, so this is where you can really make a statement about yourself and your boat.
A chair with arms is not only more comfortable than one without them, but it is also safer. The arms act as a padded safety barrier to keep you from falling out of the seat. In choppy water or at high speeds, especially while turning, you need all the help you can get. Being out on the water is so much fun that people often forget about safety until it’s too late. This is particularly true if you have small children on the boat with you.
Smaller seats without arms are generally best for fishing. Casting and playing a fish once you’ve hooked it is easier when your arms aren’t bumping into an armrest.
Boat seats with folding backs present less drag on your vehicle when you’re pulling your boat on a trailer. Once unfolded and locked in position, you’ll have a comfortable seat for fishing or just lounging back and enjoying the day. Make sure the seat has a safety strap to keep it locked down. Otherwise, it will pop back up and possibly damage the hinges.
How long will you be on the water? The longer you sit, the more back support you’ll need to keep your back from hurting. Some seats specifically mention that they include lumbar support for your lower back. If you have any back problems or want to avoid getting them, there is a lot to be said for a seat with good back support.
Once you’ve picked out your seats, there are a few other accessories worth considering to give you the best experience on the water.
Swivel pedestal: Attwood Corporation Economy Pedestal
This pedestal swivels smoothly and its height adjusts from 11.5 to 17.5 inches. If you don’t have pedestals to begin with, this is a great place to start.
Gear caddy: Wise Boat Seat Caddy Gear Holder
Everyone likes enjoying drinks and snacks on a boat, but you’ll need a place to stash them when your hands are occupied with a rod. This gear caddy is perfect for holding your cups, small tools, and other items. It has two cup holders and a rectangular middle section for miscellaneous items. It fits most seats and comes in five different colors.
Cleaning wipes: Better Boat Cleaner Wipes
Your seats (and the rest of your boat) are bound to become dirty over time. They wipe away dirt and grime while protecting your seats from harmful UV radiation. These are multi-surface marine wipes for all your boating needs.
Chair cover: Leader Accessories Grey Helmsman Fishing Chair Cover When your boat isn’t in use, protect your boat seats with a chair cover to protect them from UV rays, pollen, and other things that could damage their materials. This affordable cover has elastic around the bottom for a secure fit.
Inexpensive: Between $35 and $60 is the low price range on boat seats. You’ll find most Type B boat seats in this category. Seat backs that fold down are common and you’ll have a wide variety of colors to choose from.
Mid-range: Between $60 and $150 is the middle price range. Here you’ll find some of the cheaper Type AD boat seats as well as higher-grade Type B seats. There are also some two-seat packages available in this price range.
Expensive: Over $150 is where you’ll find top-of-the-line Type AD seats. Stainless steel will often replace aluminum in these seats.
Q. How many different kinds of pedestals can boat seats be mounted on?
A. Most boat seats have standardized bolt holes, enabling them to be attached to almost any mount on the market. Of course, you should always double-check the compatibility of seats and pedestals, especially if you already have pedestals.
Q. What is marine-grade vinyl?
A. Marine vinyl looks and feels similar to regular vinyl but there are some differences. Marine vinyl consists of four layers: polyester fabric backing, adhesive, PVC foam, and vinyl skin (about 0.05 millimeters thick). The PVC vinyl is made with specific additives that protect it from UV rays and make it resistant to mold and mildew.
Q. How long will my boat seats hold up in the sun?
A. UV-resistant fabrics are measured in hours of protection. A fabric with 500 hours of UV protection will last 500 hours before it begins to fade.