How To Make Back To Back Boat Seats

In the boating off-season, you are eagerly awaiting the return of calm waters and the thrill of the open sea. Why not use this time to embark on a fulfilling DIY project that will take your boating experience to new heights?

Crafting back-to-back boat seats could be the perfect venture to keep your excitement alive and prepare you for the upcoming boating adventures!

To make back-to-back boat seats, measure space, design layout, and use marine-grade plywood, foam padding, and weather-resistant fabric.

Cut plywood, add padding, wrap with fabric, and attach them back-to-back on a sturdy base. But hold on; there are a few more steps to complete this incredible project!

Stay tuned for the next part, where we’ll share expert tips on making the seats even cozier for those long days on the water and how you can add your personal touch to reflect your unique style.

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What Materials Do You Need for Building Back-to-Back Boat Seats?

You’ll need to gather a few necessary items before you set out on this adventure so that your boat will feel and look brand new. The essential parts you’ll need for this monumental boat seat project are listed below.

Marine-Grade Plywood

This stuff is built to withstand the harsh elements of the water, making it the perfect choice for your boat seats. You want your seats to last, and marine plywood is going to ensure they can handle whatever Mother Nature throws their way.

Foam Cushioning

Comfort, my friends, is the name of the game. You want your back-to-back boat seats to feel like a cloud on those long boat trips. Well, foam cushioning is the magic ingredient here. It’s going to give you that plush, cozy feeling you crave, making your boat the envy of all your boating buddies.

Marine Vinyl

Alright, let’s talk style. Marine vinyl is the secret sauce that’s going to bring some serious swagger to your boat seats. It’s not just about how nice it looks; this gear is tough as nails and prepared to handle whatever adventures you throw. Additionally, cleaning it is a breeze; you’ll thank me later.

Measuring Tape

Now, we aren’t going to mess around with guesswork. You must measure, my friends. Measure twice, cut once – that’s the golden rule. So, grab yourself a measuring tape and get those dimensions down pat. Precision is key to building seats that fit like a glove.

Circular Saw

Time to get those plywood sheets into shape. And what better tool for the job than a trusty circular saw? Make clean, precise cuts, and you’ll have the perfect base for your back-to-back boat seats.


Alright, let’s get creative with those backrests. A jigsaw is your ticket to crafting those stylish and comfortable backrests that’ll have you lounging like a king on your boat. Get those artistic juices flowing, and make some sweet designs.

Power Drill

You must secure those pieces together, right? A power drill is going to be your best buddy here. It’ll help you screw everything in place, making sure your boat seats are as solid as a rock.

1-Inch Hole Saw

You do want some ventilation in those seats, right? You may make ventilation holes with a 1-inch hole saw to keep cool and comfortable during those sweltering summer days on the water.


Alright, my friends, we must smooth things out. To prevent splinters, the sandpaper will give those edges a smooth finish. Everything revolves around the little things that add up over time.

Paint or Stain (Optional)

Now, if you’re feeling fancy and wanna add some flair, go ahead and grab some paint or stain. Give your boat seats a personal touch, matching them to your boat’s overall vibe. It’s all about making your boat your own, folks.

How to Design and Measure for Optimum Comfort?

Now that we’ve got our materials ready, it’s time to talk about design and measurement – the secret sauce to ensuring optimum comfort on your boat. So, grab a seat, and let’s get into the nitty-gritty of creating boat seats that’ll have you sailing in pure bliss.

Sketch Out Your Design:

First, my friends – let those creative juices flow! Get a pencil and paper, and start sketching your ideal boat seat design. Would you prefer something with a rustic charm or something sleek and contemporary?

Don’t hold back; this is your chance to add your touch to the boat seats. Let your imagination run wild, and create a design that speaks to your boating soul.

Consider Ergonomics:

Alright, my fellow boating enthusiasts, we must talk about ergonomics. Comfort is the name of the game here, and that means designing seats that support your body during those long boat trips.

Think about the angle of the backrest, the height of the seat, and the curvature that’ll cradle you just right. Trust me, your back will thank you.

Measure Twice, Cut Once:

We aren’t messin’ around with guesswork here. Precision is key when it comes to designing boat seats that fit like a glove. So, get out that measuring tape and measure twice, my friends.

You want to make sure you’ve got the right dimensions for your boat’s available space. Whether it’s a cozy fishing boat or a luxurious cruiser, measure it up and make it count.

Consider Storage Options:

Now, here’s a pro tip – think about adding some storage to your boat seats. You can design seats with hidden compartments, perfect for stashing away those boating essentials.

Whether it’s fishing gear, snacks, or extra sunscreen, having storage on your boat seats is a game-changer. No more clutter, just smooth sailing.

Get Creative with Backrest Designs:

Alright, this is where you can let your artistic side shine. Your backrest design can set your boat seats apart from the rest. Want some built-in cup holders? Go for it! How about a cool cut-out pattern?

The choice is yours. Remember, it’s all about balancing style with comfort – the key to a winning backrest design.

Test It Out:

Do not be hesitant to test your design after you have it written down on paper. Mock up your boat seat using cardboard that you may easily find. Make any necessary modifications by sitting on it and feeling it out. You can actually experience how your boat seats function on the water with this hands-on method.

Cutting and Assembling the Seat Frames: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we are confident in our design and dimension accuracy, it is time to get our hands dirty and begin cutting and constructing those seat frames. The magic will happen here, so let’s get started!

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace

Before we dive into the action, let’s set the stage for success. Clear a spacious and well-lit area to work on your boat seats. You’ll need enough room to lay out your materials and move around comfortably as you build your masterpiece.

Step 2: Cutting the Marine Plywood

Alright, my fellow boat enthusiasts, grab that trusty circular saw and let’s start cutting. Using your precise measurements from Section 2, carefully cut the marine-grade plywood to form the base of your boat seats.

Step 3: Assembling the Seat Frames

The time has come to assemble those parts. Create the back-to-back layout by arranging your cut plywood pieces. To ensure sturdiness, we’re going to need some reinforcements. Take additional pieces of plywood and create a frame around the seats. This frame will add strength and support to your boat seats.

Step 4: Drilling Pilot Holes

Now, to keep everything securely in place, we’ll drill some pilot holes. Grab that power drill and carefully drill holes through the frame and into the plywood base. This will allow you to screw the frame securely to the seats, creating a solid foundation.

Step 5: Assemble the Backrests

Alright, let’s tackle those backrests. Remember those awesome designs we came up with in Section 2? Now’s the time to bring them to life. Take your jigsaw and cut out the backrest shapes you sketched earlier.

Once you’ve got the backrests cut out, attach them to the seats using screws or nails. This is where your boat seats will start taking shape.

Step 6: Sanding and Finishing Touches

Now, my friends, we’re in the home stretch. Grab that sandpaper and give those edges a smooth finish. Nobody wants to deal with pesky splinters, right? Smooth it all out, and your boat seats will be as comfy as can be.

Step 7: Adding Foam Cushioning and Upholstery

Remember that foam cushioning we talked about in Section 1? It’s time to add that additional comfort layer. Assemble the foam so that it fits snugly on top of the seats and backrests.

Now, let’s get that marine vinyl and start upholstering. Use staples or hot glue to secure the fabric, creating a polished and stylish finish.

Upholstering the Seats: Adding Comfort and Style

We’ve come a long way, and now it’s time to add that extra layer of comfort and style to our boat seats through the magic of upholstery. So, let’s turn those creative gears and make these seats look and feel like a million bucks!

Step 1: Prepare the Surface

Before we dive into the upholstery fun, let’s ensure our seats are ready for their makeover.

Give the foam cushioning a final check, making sure it’s in place and evenly distributed.

Smooth out any wrinkles or unevenness in the marine vinyl so we have a flawless canvas to work with.

Step 2: Start Upholstering

It’s time to get down and dirty with some upholstery action. Grab your marine vinyl and begin wrapping it around the seat frame and backrests.

Start at one end and work your way around, ensuring a snug and seamless fit. Use staples or hot glue to secure the vinyl in place, making sure it’s taut and free of any wrinkles or folds.

Step 3: Dealing with Corners and Curves

Now, we must tackle those tricky corners and curves. Don’t worry; it’s not as daunting as it sounds. For corners, create neat folds by pulling the vinyl tight and securing it with staples or glue.

As for curves, make small incisions along the vinyl’s edge to help it conform to the shape smoothly. You’ll be a pro at this in no time!

Step 4: Adding Extra Padding (Optional)

Here’s a quick pro suggestion if you want to increase that comfort even further: add some extra padding to particular spots on your boat seats.

Adding a little extra padding to the edges or lumbar area of the seat will significantly improve your boating experience. Make sure it’s dispersed equally and doesn’t detract from the overall design.

Step 5: Details and Finishing Touches

Now, it’s time to pay attention to the finer details that’ll make your boat seats stand out. Double-check the edges and corners to ensure everything is secure and neat.

Trim any excess vinyl so we have a clean and polished look. Take a step back, and admire your handiwork – you’re creating boat seats that’ll turn heads on the water!

Step 6: Personalization (Optional)

Alright, here’s where you can add that personal touch to your boat seats. Maybe you want to embroider your boat’s name or logo on the backrests.

Or perhaps you want to add some decorative buttons or stitching for an extra dose of style. Whatever you choose, this is your chance to make these seats uniquely yours.

Installing the Seats: Ensuring Safety and Stability

After a lengthy journey, it’s time to put these bad boys on your boat to ensure stability and safety for all of your boating adventures.

Step 1: Assess Your Boat’s Seating Area

Before we get into the installation process, take a good look at your boat’s seating area. Identify the perfect spot for your back-to-back boat seats, ensuring they won’t interfere with any essential boat functions or obstruct your view while cruising.

Step 2: Determine the Attachment Method

Now, my fellow boating enthusiasts, there are a few ways to attach your boat seats securely, depending on your boat type. If your boat has a solid and rigid surface like plywood, you can use screws to anchor the seats in place.

Drill pilot holes, align your seats, and then screw them down tightly. Make sure the screws are countersunk to avoid any discomfort while sitting.

Step 3: Adhesive or Velcro for Soft Surfaces

If your boat has a softer surface like carpeting, don’t fret! There are solutions for you too. For soft surfaces, consider using adhesive spray or double-sided Velcro tape to secure your back-to-back boat seats.

Apply the adhesive or tape to the seat frames’ bottom, then press the seats firmly onto the carpeting. This method will keep the seats in place without causing any damage to the boat’s surface.

Step 4: Ensuring Stability

Safety first, my friends! Once your back-to-back boat seats are in position, give them a gentle shake to ensure they’re stable and securely attached. Wiggle them a bit to check for any wobbling or loose attachments. We want our seats to be rock-solid for all your boating adventures!

Step 5: Seatbelts (Optional)

Consider adding seatbelts to your boat seats if you want to increase safety. Seatbelts keep you and your passengers securely in place, especially during rough waters or unexpected maneuvers. This is a great addition, especially if you have little ones on board.

Step 6: Final Check and Test Sit

Alright, my fellow boat enthusiasts, we’re almost there. Before we call it a day, give your installed back-to-back boat seats a final check. Ensure all screws, adhesive, or Velcro attachments are secure and tight.

Sit on those seats one more time and give them a test run. We want to make sure they feel just right for those long days on the water.

Adding Storage: Convenience Meets Functionality

Once the seats are firmly in place, it’s time to upgrade them by adding some quite useful storage boxes. Prepare to enjoy the ideal balance of design, comfort, and usability. For more detail you can read our another article on how to build boat storage compartments.

Back-to-Back Boat Seat Installation Guide (For Ready-Made Seats)

Now that it is out of the way use this guide to install ready-made back-to-back boat seats. You’ll discover how to swap out your worn-out, unpleasant chairs for new ones that complement the interior of your boat and offer the right amount of comfort and support in just a few simple steps.


Materials List for Back-to-Back Boat Seat Installation:

  • Back-to-Back Boat Seats: Choose high-quality seats that match your boat’s interior and provide the desired comfort and support.
  • Brackets: Check that the new seats come with the necessary brackets for assembly and mounting.
  • Screws and Washers: Ensure you have the appropriate screws and washers to attach the seats to the boat’s floor securely.
  • Screwdriver: A suitable screwdriver will be needed to remove the old seats and install the new ones.
  • Vacuum Cleaner: Prepare the boat’s interior by thoroughly vacuuming to create a clean workspace.
  • Wrench: You may require a wrench to loosen and remove bolts holding the old seats in place.
  • Safety Gear: Prioritize safety during the installation process. Wear protective gear such as gloves and safety goggles.
  • Space and Tools: Make sure you have enough space to work comfortably and access to necessary tools for assembly and mounting.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Keep some cleaning supplies handy to wipe down the boat’s interior before installing the new seats.
  • Instructions: Don’t forget to have the manufacturer’s instructions or any relevant guides on hand for proper seat assembly and installation.

By having these materials ready and at hand, you can ensure a smooth and successful back-to-back boat seat installation process.

Assessing the Need for New Seats

Before we start, take a good look at your existing boat seats. Are they sticky, ripping, or simply uncomfortable? It’s time to think about replacing them if they are displaying symptoms of wear and tear. You don’t want to miss quality time on the water due to uncomfortable seats.

Picking the Perfect Seats

When choosing new back-to-back boat seats, opt for ones that match the aesthetic of your boat’s interior. Think about color, style, and material. Tan and beige are common options for a traditional appearance. Once you’ve chosen, it’s time to buck up and get to work!

Preparing for Installation

While some may feel the urge to dive into other boat renovations, it’s best to focus on one task at a time.

Save the flooring and fiberglassing for later when it’s more convenient. Clear out any clutter and debris from your boat to create ample working space. This way, you’ll have a clean slate to work with.

Removing Old Seats

It’s time to say goodbye to those old, worn-out seats. The removal process is relatively straightforward. Locate the bolts that secure the seats to the boat’s floor.

Unscrew them carefully, making sure not to damage any surrounding components. Once the bolts are removed, the old seats should come off easily.

Assembling the New Seats

Unpack your brand-new back-to-back boat seats and familiarize yourself with the different components. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper assembly.

Most seats come with brackets that need to be attached in specific positions. Take your time during this step to ensure a secure and sturdy setup.

Mounting the Seats

With the seats fully assembled, it’s time to position them on the boat’s floor. Check for proper alignment and ensure the seats fit comfortably in the designated area.

Once you’re satisfied with the placement, secure the seats in place using the provided screws and washers. Tighten them to ensure stability.

Testing the Comfort and Fit

After the installation is complete, take a moment to test the seats for comfort and functionality.

Sit in them, lie down, and check if they meet your expectations. If you’re satisfied with the fit and feel, then congratulations, you’ve successfully installed your new back-to-back boat seats!

Future Renovations and Upgrades

Now that you’ve upgraded your boat’s seating, it’s time to look forward to future projects. Stay tuned for upcoming videos where we’ll explore redoing the dashes, wiring, installing a radio, LED speakers, and more! There’s always something exciting happening in the world of boat renovations.

Top Tips to Care for and Maintain Your Back-to-Back Boat Seats

After pouring your heart and soul into making these masterpieces, it’s time to take steps to keep them in great shape for years of boating adventures. Let’s keep those boat seats looking and feeling like new with some excellent care and maintenance advice.

Regular Cleaning

Like anything else, my friends, regular cleaning is essential to maintain your boat seats’ pristine condition. After each boating trip, wipe down your seats with a mild soap and water solution. This will remove any dirt, salt, or debris accumulated during your time on the water.

Protect from Sun and UV Rays

Sun and UV rays can be harsh on boat seats, leading to fading and deterioration over time. To protect your seats, consider using seat covers or keeping your boat in a shaded area when not in use.

If covers aren’t an option, apply a UV protectant specifically designed for marine vinyl to shield your seats from the sun’s harmful effects, and you can also dye your boat seats.

Address Stains and Spills Promptly

Accidents happen, my fellow boaters, and when spills or stains occur, it’s crucial to address them promptly.

Blot any spills immediately with a clean cloth to prevent the stain from setting. For stubborn stains, use a mild cleaning solution specifically formulated for marine vinyl upholstery.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

While we’re on the topic of cleaning, be cautious with the products you use on your boat seats. Avoid harsh chemicals, bleach, or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the vinyl and affect its longevity. Stick to gentle cleaning solutions to preserve the beauty of your seats.

Check for Wear and Tear

Regularly inspect your boat seats for any signs of wear and tear. Look for loose seams, worn-out foam, or any areas that may need reinforcement. Catching and addressing minor issues early will prevent them from becoming major problems down the line.

Store Properly during Off-Season

During the off-season or when not using your boat for an extended period, storing your boat seats properly is crucial. If you can, remove the seats and keep them in a dry, climate-controlled area. If that isn’t a possibility, protect the chairs from dust and dirt by covering them.

Upholstery Maintenance

The upholstery on your boat seats is a significant factor in their overall comfort and appearance. Periodically check for any loose fabric or seams and re-secure them if needed. If your seats have zippers, lubricate them to ensure smooth operation.

Follow the Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Last but not least, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the care and maintenance of your boat seats. Each seat may have specific guidelines for cleaning and upkeep, so it’s essential to adhere to them for the best results.

Final Say

My fellow boating enthusiasts, you’ve embarked on an exciting journey of DIY mastery, creating back-to-back boat seats that exude style, comfort, and functionality.

From selecting materials and designing your seats to cutting, assembling, upholstering, installing, and adding storage, you’ve crafted seats that are truly a testament to your passion and creativity.

You can be sure that these boat seats will last for years to come and provide amazing experiences on the water according to our top care and maintenance advice. Grab your preferred beverage, board the vessel, and take pleasure in the results of your labor – happy boating!

Jack K. Pride
Jack K. Pride

Jack K. Pride is an accomplished author and a prominent figure in the boating community. With a passion for boats and a deep understanding of the maritime industry, he has been sharing his expertise through his compelling articles on

Known for his insightful and informative writing style, Jack's articles provide valuable insights, tips, and knowledge to boat enthusiasts worldwide. His dedication to the subject matter and commitment to delivering high-quality content makes him a trusted voice in the boating world.

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