You’re more than just the boat owner - you’re the boat captain. You call the shots, you control the wheel, you guarantee your passenger’s safety, and everything in between. And just as a king should have a throne, so too should a captain have a worthy seat.
A pontoon boat captain’s chair is more than just a status symbol. It makes sure that you’re comfortable amid all of the demanding tasks you might have to do on board. And if you’re set for a trip that might last a few hours, then a comfy chair should make the ride a little easier on your back.
The 5 Best Pontoon Boat Captain Chairs
There are quite a lot of pontoon boat captain chairs out there, and they all promise to provide the same thing - comfort and convenience. But which ones really deliver on those promises?
If you’re having a hard time choosing a chair, then this list of vetted options should narrow down your selection:
Upholstered in what the brand calls the finest 28oz marine grade vinyl, this seat touts ultra plush cushions that pad all of the chair’s surfaces. The cushy comfort follows an ergonomic design that keeps your back in proper alignment while supporting your body to prevent back pain and other aches and soreness that might come from sitting too long in a poorly designed chair.
A backrest cut-out along the bottom half of the chair’s back makes it possible for air to flow freely through the seat so as to reduce sweat production and to keep you more comfortable for long trips. It also touts a flip-up bolster for added seat height so you can adjust the chair to match your specific preferences.
Available in five colorways, this boat chair promises to match your pontoon’s interiors without a hitch. Underneath, it features stainless steel hardware and a high-impact rotational molded boat seat frame to guarantee a long service life.
With a silhouette similar to our top one seed, the Wise Baja Series Bucket Sweat with a flip-up bolster provides excellent support and comfort for those long boat trips. The seat is upholstered with a premium marine vinyl that conceals high-density foam. These foam blocks provide responsive cushioning that cradles your body for ultimate comfort.
The ergonomic bucket seat shape adapts to the contours of your body, allowing you to enjoy long boat rides without having to worry about an achy back. It also comes with a flip-up bolster that can either support your lower thighs or flip up on the seat to give you extra height.
Ergonomic, comfortable, and versatile, this boat seat was also designed for durability. The premium vinyl touts double stitching to give you peace of mind in knowing that your captain’s throne won’t give in to wear and tear too soon.
Entering premium captain’s seat territory, we have the Tempress Elite High Back Help Seat. The rotationally molded seat uses 30oz marine-grade vinyl that’s resistant to UV and moisture damage. It also features a reinforced framework that helps to sustain several hundreds of pounds of weight for our bigger boat captains’ comfort.
But if there’s anything that really sets the Tempress Elite High Back Helm Seat apart, its the seat’s silhouette. This premium boat seat features a built-in lumbar support that keeps the lower back in proper alignment during use. It also touts a cut-out backseat that allows air to flow freely for added comfort against heat.
Without extended arm rests, the captain is free to move while comfortably seated in the premier chair. But even with its slightly less structured design, the Tempress helm seat feature ultra plush padding that offers optimal responsiveness and cushioning all around.
Another premium chair, the Wise 8WD015-6 is an adjustable pedestal seat that features a sleek silhouette that doesn’t take up significant floor area. The cushioned seats - although they might look thinner than other options - provide just as much comfort with high density foam just beneath the high grade marine vinyl upholstery.
The boat’s armrests aren’t quite as extensive as a bucket seat’s silhouette, giving you freedom to move and reach around without feeling restricted by thick side padding. On the backrest, a single gray logo and sleek stitch work give the seat unparalleled sophistication.
The seat itself rests on a pedestal base that swivels a full 360°. The seat height adjustment at the bottom of the seat lets you raise or lower the seat to your liking, adding to the design’s versatility.
If your definition of comfort is being completely embraced by plush cushions from every side, then the Leader Accessories Pontoon Captain’s Bucket Boat Seat might be for you. This seat provides the most support among all of the boat seats on our list, doing away with cut-outs so you can enjoy maximum comfort.
The thick, high-density cushions are upholstered together with marine-grade vinyl. Stitch work creates gentle contours on the seat and backrest which help to adapt the seat to match a person’s posture.
In the durability department, this boat seat does equally as well as the others on our list. Designed with a high impact injection molded plastic frame and 28oz marine-grade vinyl covers, this boat seat can easily stand the test of time.
What About the Pedestal and Swivel Plate?
If you’re buying a replacement boat seat, then you probably won’t need to buy a pedestal and swivel plate since there’s already one in place. But if you were looking to replace the whole seat structure or if your base and pedestal have both extended their service life, then you could always purchase a replacement online.
The pedestal is the post that the seat sits on, and must be installed on the deck in front of the console. Most seats have a universal fit, which means they should be compatible with any universal pedestal you find.
The Attwood 91320-ADJ Swivl-Eze Adjustable Pedestal should fit all of the seats listed above. The sturdy, reliable pedestal comes with an adjustable height feature that lets you extend the pedestal up to 17.5 inches.
If you were worried about having to buy a separate base and seat mounting plate, this pick from Attwood comes with both integrated into the design. But that also means you might have to sacrifice the swivel feature.
Alternatively, you could try the Attwood 2385400 Swivl-Eze Boat Seat Pedestal that comes with both a base and a seat mount, but doesn’t do away with the swivel feature. The pedestal spins all the way around, and touts an adjustable height feature that raises the seat up to 20 inches.
If your pedestal is working fine and you just need a swivel plate replacement, you can buy those separately too.
Remember though that some boat seats are designed to be compatible with mounting plates from the same brand. This helps boat supply companies secure more sales, and ensures that seats perform as intended. Always check for compatibility before you make a purchase to guarantee that you’re buying a pedestal and mount that will actually fit.
WHAT ABOUT SEAT COVERS?
Your captain’s chair is a special seat on the boat that might require extra care, especially if you want to keep it looking fit for a king. Plus there’s the fact that when laziness strikes, you might not find the willingness to go through all the hassle of throwing on the boat cover.
And while that might be okay every now and then, it could leave your seat upholstery at the mercy of mold and mildew. There’s also the fact that although most of these seats use premium upholstery to keep UV damage at bay, they still have limits.
There are loads of seat cover options for captain’s chairs. Some seats have their own seat covers designed just for them. But if you were looking for reliable performance against the elements, you really can’t go wrong with the Sun Protect Marine Canvas Boat Seat Cover.
This canvas cover provides optimal protection against UV rays, offering to give your boat that added layer of resilience against harsh sunlight. It also tries to keep moisture out so mold and mildew aren’t invited into your seat’s upholstery.
Complete with a drawstring that tightens the cover over your seat, the design doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, and can be kept in peak condition with nothing more than just fabric guard.
Of course, you’re free to scout your options. Boat covers with warranties are always more appealing to purchase especially if you want to make sure your money doesn’t go to waste after just a few months of use. As always, what’s most important is making sure that your selected boat seat cover actually fits your seat.
Covers will come with dimensions that you can use to determine whether they’ll fit over your seat. You can also contact the manufacturer and give your specific boat seat model so they can give you a more accurate idea of how the cover might fit, and if they have any alternatives in case it doesn’t.
Repairing VS Replacing a Pontoon Seat
In general, the captain’s chair tends to get the most beating compared to other seats on the boat. Exposed to sweat, UV rays, moisture, and frequent use, a captain’s chair can give in to wear and tear a lot faster than other boat seats.
Of course, you could always clean it up, cover it when not in use, and perform routine maintenance to keep it in its best possible condition. But when the damage gets a little too significant, always look for a replacement.
So, exactly when should you look to buy a replacement seat? Check for these signs:
The same can’t be said for the chairs out on the deck though. Most boat seats can survive just fine with a repair job now and again. Heck, you can even reupholster boat seats on your own if you’ve got the right tools for it. And since it can be expensive to replace a bunch of seats all at the same time, repairs are always better for deck seats.
You could save several hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars by repairing your seats instead. But when is it time to repair your boat seats? Here are some signs to watch out for:
Fit for a King
The pontoon boat captain’s chair is more than just a seat - it’s where the magic happens. It’s your designated spot, the seat that identifies you as the captain of your vessel. So make sure to invest. A good seat should provide comfort, versatility, and support so you can cruise for hours without a care.
True enough, there are loads of options available. And while all of them promise the same thing, there’s going to be one out there that matches your preferences better than the rest. Check out our vetted choices to find the perfect captain’s chair for your boat, and experience pontoon boating in the lap of comfort and style. While you're at it, why not get a Captain's T-Shirt to match.