It’s no secret that safety comes first aboard any boat (so be sure to invest in proper gear and accessories such as handrails, non-slip flooring or mats, and secure storage to keep belongings from shifting haphazardly while in motion!). But when it comes to getting the most out of your investment, superior onboard comfort is second to none. Whether refitting your entire vessel or making a few smaller upgrades, consider these improvements to ensure comfortable (and safe) boating for years to come.
Mind the ventilation
Without proper airflow, both while at port and at sea, a boat’s interior will quickly become an uncomfortable mixture of stale and clammy. Not only does this make it unpleasant to be on board — excess cabin moisture and poor air quality can also degrade wood surfaces, furnishings, and other fixtures over time. This is why you’ll want to make consistent efforts to keep fresh air moving into and through the cabin and allow any musty air to escape. To achieve this, use a combination of hatches, windows, ports, ventilators, and fans.
Start simple by opening windows for ventilation while stationary, if weather permits. From there, double-opening hatches can let in additional air while blocking precipitation and spraying seawater with a protective shield. Opening ports provide similar airflow while durable, heavy-duty sealant stops leaks. Cowl vents collect air and distribute it into the cabin, while similar dorade vents installed atop a high deck box platform allow excess water to drain out during bad weather, when hatches, windows, and opening ports must be shut.
Finally, fans and ventilation systems can provide additional assistance in preventing stale air. Try a mushroom vent with a solar-powered fan paired with electric fans placed inside the cabin to keep air moving internally.
Don’t skip the crucial finishing touch for any window, hatch, door, or other opening: marine-quality window treatments. Blinds or shades are essential to block harsh UV rays that fade and deteriorate interior surfaces and furniture over time, further regulate internal temperature, and tie together onboard decor. The best part? They are highly customizable and come in numerous specialty shapes and sizes to fit everything from hatches to windshields.
Of course, as that marine air is wafting through, your interior furnishings and fixtures will need to be able to withstand the corrosive salty environment — and not just any material will do.
Specialty marine furnishings
Even while at port, salty marine air will creep into a boat’s cabin. Exposure to airborne corrosives is unavoidable in any marine environment, so it’s especially important to make sure interior and exterior furnishings alike are constructed to withstand the elements.
Don’t make the mistake of simply bringing standard home furnishings into your boat. Seek out a reputable marine furniture manufacturer and distributor for custom pieces. If your current boat furnishings are showing early signs of wear and tear, there is often no need to replace them. Instead, talk to your local re-upholstery specialists to find out whether a fresh marine upholstery job will do the trick to revive your chair, couch, built-in, or other soft goods. Custom covers made of durable weatherproof textiles can also help to preserve your indoor or outdoor boat furniture and extend its life.
Comfortable sleeping quarters
No one wants to retreat to their sleeping quarters after a long afternoon on the water only to tuck into a dank, musty bed. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for standard mattresses and bedding to attract and retain humid air down below in the sleeping cabin. Make sure your R&R time is actually restful and relaxing by investing in a high-quality marine mattress.
What makes a specialty nautical mattress so worth it? First and foremost, the model of the mattress matters. Our first choice in marine mattresses is Flexima®, and it’s no surprise that it’s also an award-winner and top pick for many distinguished voices in the yacht community. Here is an excerpt translated from a five-star review published in the February 2018 issue of Yacht Magazine in Germany:
“The Austrian ‘Matratzen Manufaktur’ supplies mattresses with an integrated spring system, made from durable plastic, that also eliminates the need for slats. The cold-set foam mattress remains flexible and can be moved through narrow spaces and cabin doors without having to split the mattress into smaller parts.
We have tested a custom-made Flexima Comfort in medium firmness for a season (70 nights). The test was performed by several individuals. There was a remarkable improvement over the standard mattresses. Sleep was restful and no back pain issues were reported.
A 3D mesh is integrated in the mattress cover to improve ventilation and circulation. The cover can be taken off for washing. The 2-part mattress was re-joined with a zipper.”
Self-aeration is of utmost importance to maximize ventilation and minimize moisture. You should also look for a mattress that can be custom-made to fit any shape and size sleeping area; comes with a mattress cover that is easily removable and washable; and is constructed from durable, comfortable, antimicrobial, and hypoallergenic materials for the best possible support and user experience. Finally, make sure your mattress is backed by a full warranty.