Foam Series: Selecting the Right Marine Interior Foam

Item # X-HT-300055

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 a trade-off 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 are much more focused on comfort, durability and one very important factor: antimicrobial. There are two types of foam that we recommend for use inside boat cabins: Dry Fast Foam and Polyurethane Antimicrobial Foam.

Wet vs. Dry Cabin

How dry is your cabin? Would v-berth cushions like this get wet?

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 one of our Polyurethane Antimicrobial Foams. We offer both Medium Density and High Density foams that are treated with a biocide agent to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Medium Density Polyurethane Antimicrobial Foam is the standard foam used by OEM boat builders while High Density will last longer than Medium Density. Both are sufficient for the amount of moisture inside a cabin.

Weekend Cruiser vs. Liveaboard

Salon cushions in an Islander 37 sailboat

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 not bottoming out. If you’re a liveaboard who will sit and sleep on your cushions every day, we highly recommend using High Density Polyurethane Antimicrobial 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, the lower densities of Medium Density Polyurethane Antimicrobial Foam and Dry Fast Foam should suit you just fine since your cushions will be used less frequently. Cost can also be a factor for some people. Medium Density is approximately 35% to 40% less expensive than High Density, a benefit for occasional use. 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.

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 “Comparing Types of Cushion Foam” post (#300053XHT) and “Which Foam Should I Use?” (#300059XHT). You can also learn more about foam terminology in our “5 Important Foam Terms to Know” post (#300052XHT).