There are a lot of things that can make a boat look nice, but I think we can all agree that once the the seats and apholstry start looking weathered, cracked and torn, or have a siginficant amount of mildew damage, the boat gets knocked down a notch. So keeping up on the maintenance and conditioning of your seats can go a long ways. In some cases if you need to completely replace the seats it can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. I replaced my bass boat seats a few years ago because I had neglected them for so long and I felt sick to my stomach for what I had to pay. It basically costed me a new Helix 12 fish finder for the boat. I would have much rather spent my hard earned money on one of those.
That being said, there are a few things yo can do to make sure your boat seats or furniture stay looking as sharp as the day you got them. First, I would suggest that you wash your seats with a marine grade vinyl cleaner. If you don't have a cleaner on hand, using soap and warm water with a soft bristled brush will work fine. After they are clean, you will want to treat your vinyl with a protectant. I would recommend doing this two, three, maybe even four times a year here in the north. The protectant will help prevent against any mildew forming as well as shield the vinyl against harmful UV rays, dust, and other stains. Using this type of product will also maintain the vinyl’s smooth matte finish and keep it from becoming weathered, faded and cracking.
When dealing with stains such as fish blood or spilt food, you can quickly treat these with water if you on the lake or a mixture of soap and water. If you have a continuous problem with birds you will more than likely have to use a diluted solution of bleach. When using this type of solution, avoid getting it on the stitching of the upholstery because it will weaken the threads a lot faster. Other stains like pen ink can be taken care of with a small amount of rubbing alcohol or one of the alcohol wipes that are typically found in first aid kits.
Another great investment for your investment, would have to be good quality canvas cover. You can get covers that span the entire boat or you can also get ones that are custom fit to the furniture. Using a cover will keep the UV sun rays from beating down on vinyl all day long as well as keep them dry from the occasional rainstorm. They also add a layer of protection from bird droppings or falling sticks if you happen to have trees near the dock.
As you can see, with proper maintenance and taking some extra procautions you can prevent your seats from getting so bad that you have no other choice than to spend a fortune on new ones. I gaurentee, in the long run you will be happy that you did and your guests will enjoy the ride a whole lot more.