How to Install a Boat Seat

Have you bought a fixer-upper of a boat and want to try your hand at some DIY renovation? Installing boat seats can be rather tricky, but with the tips and tricks we have put together in this article, you, too, can install your own boat seats and have fun doing it. 

Read our handy tips and tricks to learn more about choosing a boat seat, factors you should consider before installing a boat seat, and how to install your boat seat correctly.

Types of Boat Seats

There are several different styles of boat seats available to choose from. Whether you prefer bench-like seats or back-to-back seats to carry more passengers, there is a boat seat for just about every boat and your seating needs. 

Let’s look at the most popular types and how they fit together to provide seating in your boat. 

Pontoon or individual seats

These seats are modular in design and fit together to form a bench-type seating area for passengers. Pontoon seats are bolted into the floor of the boat and have extra storage underneath the seating. Buy these seats individually or as a set to create the perfect seating on your boat. 

Bolster seats

Bolster seats are commonly used on fish and ski boats and flip up to conserve space. They are also great for use by the captain and are comfortable due to their shape and design. 

Back-to-back seats

These are great for cruise or fishing boats and allow many passengers to be seated on the boat. A back-to-back seat is ideal for fishing and allows an angler to fish from either end of the boat. 

Folding seats

Need space on your boat without compromising the comfort of your passengers? Folding seats are ideal for use on boats where passengers are only seated while the boat is moving. This includes fishing and ski boats. They are simple in design and the cheapest of all seat types. 

Bucket and Buddy seats

Bucket and buddy seats are similar in design and are great for use at the helm. They can be used as floor-mounted seats or placed on pedestals on fishing boats to spot fish. 

Casting seats

These seats are basic in design and have no backrest. Mounted to a pedestal, these seats are great for fishing boats. 

Boat Seats: Things to Consider

Choosing the best seat for your boat need not become a nightmare if you struggle to select from the wide variety of seats available for boats. 

Most people choose their seats according to comfort, aesthetics, and the number of passengers they will have on their boat. But there are other things that should come into play when choosing seats for your boat. 

Here are a few tips you should consider when choosing and installing new boat seats:

  • Ensure that the choice of seat fits into the relevant space on your boat. Measure the entire space available and place the seats accordingly. 
  • The current look and feel of your seating. If you are replacing only one or two seats, try to match your new ones as close as possible to the older ones. 
  • The number of passengers. Choose seating that will accommodate the maximum number of passengers you will have onboard at any time. More seating means more expense and less available space in the boat. 
  • Seating hardware. Before throwing away the old seats, keep the nuts, screws, bolts, and other hardware used to mount the seats in your boat. These are, however, available for purchase from your local hardware store if you do not have them on hand. 

How to Install Boat Seats 

Depending on the seat types you are installing, you will need a few tools. 

  • Electric drill
  • Hole saw
  • Rivnuts or screws
  • Screwdriver

Boat seats that are mounted to the boat deck are relatively easy to install and do not require an excessive amount of effort. Here are a few of our best installation tips to follow when installing a mounted seat:

  • Before installing your seats, ensure you have arranged, marked, and identified where each seat must go. Marking the edges of your seat mounts with tape or a marker will work as a reference for installing the mount. 
  • Always check the area below your mounting spot to ensure you are not drilling into tanks, wiring, or other boat components. 
  • Measure the screws you will be using to mount your seats and mark this on your drill bit with a piece of tape. Never drill deeper than necessary; always ensure that you have measured your mounting bracket screws perfectly. 
  • Drill your holes according to the marks you made with tape or a marker, but one at a time. After drilling each hole, place a screw through the bracket and add the bolts to keep the bracket in position. 
  • Once all screws, bolts, and washers have been placed, tighten the screws to ensure the base is securely mounted. Washers will prevent the deck from cracking. 
  • Clip the seats into the mounting bracket, attach them to the bracket with the relevant rivet nuts or screws, and secure them in place. 

Although it is relatively easy to do this job yourself, having someone assist you will ensure that your seats are properly in place and have been securely installed. Safety is key when doing any DIY installation job, so check and double-check each screw, bolt, rivet nut, and other elements you have used to ensure they are all tight and will not come loose. 

Conclusion

Installing boat seats need not be an arduous task if you have a bit of DIY skill and can safely operate a drill and screwdriver. Whether you install them by yourself or have a friend or family member helping you, the easy yet important tips and tricks we have laid out in the article above are easy to follow and can easily be done by one person. Remember to choose the seating according to your passenger’s needs and, of course, comfort. Happy boating!