Foam Series: Selecting the Right Marine Interior Foam
Whether you’re on your boat every weekend or every day, you want your cabin and berth cushions to be comfortable. Selecting the right foam for your boat’s cabin can be tricky because it often involves making trade-offs and prioritizing what you really want from your foam. We’re going to take a closer look at all the considerations that go into selecting marine interior foam so you can feel confident in your choice.
While exterior cushions are all about being waterproof or water draining, interior cushions should be much more comfortable, durable and antimicrobial. We recommend two types of foam for use inside boat cabins: Sailrite® CushionRite™ Dry Fast foam and antimicrobial polyurethane foam. Let’s go over when to use each type of foam in different circumstances.
Wet vs. Dry Cabin
All of the foam we recommend for boat interiors is antimicrobial, but there's a difference between Dry Fast and polyurethane foam. To decide which one is right for you, think of how you use the space. Does your cabin stay mostly dry, or do you frequently set wet equipment on your cushions? If your cabin sees more moisture, you’ll want to prioritize moisture-friendly foam like Dry Fast. Dry Fast foam features an open cell structure that lets water run directly through the foam. Nothing gets trapped to cause mildew and the foam dries out very quickly.
If your boat cabin stays mostly dry, we recommend CushionRite Standard or Premium polyurethane antimicrobial foams. CushionRite Standard is a medium density seating foam with a density rating of 1.8 pounds per cubic foot. CushionRite Premium is a high density foam with a rating of 2.8 pounds per cubic foot. Both foams are treated with a biocide agent to prevent mold and mildew growth. Standard/medium density foam is the standard foam used by boat builders, but Premium/high density will last longer. Both are sufficient for the amount of moisture inside a cabin.
Weekend Cruiser vs. Liveaboard
When it comes to how long your foam will last, you need to consider how frequently you will use it. The deciding factor in foam longevity is density. This is what keeps the foam feeling supportive and prevents it from bottoming out. If you’re a liveaboard who will sit and sleep on your cushions every day, we highly recommend using Premium foam for both settees and mattresses. This is the same foam we recommend for living room cushions in homes on land.
If you’re more of a weekend cruiser, Standard or Dry Fast foam should suit you just fine since you’ll use your cushions less frequently. Dry Fast foam might be of particular interest as a mattress for a weekend cruiser because of its unmatched breathability. The open nature of the foam’s structure allows for good airflow to keep you cool at night. Cost may also be a factor. Standard foam is less expensive than Premium — a benefit for occasional use.
Weighing the pros and cons of each foam and how it fits into your onboard lifestyle is the key to selecting the right foam. In the end, it all comes down to your personal preferences and habits. To learn more about each of the foam types mentioned in this post, check out our other Foam Series blogs. "Comparing Types of Cushion Foam" (#300053XHT) is great for helping you choose foam for a specific project. You can also learn more about foam terminology in our "5 Important Foam Terms to Know" post (#300052XHT).
This blog was updated in March 2023 to reflect changes to foam inventory and naming conventions.