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Boat saddlery : how to maintain it well ?

As a boat owner, you know that the comfort on board your boat is the most important thing if you practice boating. Indeed, the majority of the pleasure boats are equipped with elements of saddlery such as cushions, seats, bench, sunbathing... often in skai (imitation leather) or leather.

Just as the engine requires regular maintenance for efficient navigation, the upholstery also requires regular maintenance for comfortable navigation.

To become an experienced boater by discovering all our tips and tricks on boat and engine maintenance, click here ! 

In this article, we will focus mainly on the maintenance of the upholstery, which is part of the general maintenance of your boat. Thus, we will see at first, what is the necessary equipment ? Then, how to properly maintain the upholstery of your boat ? Finally, we will see what risks your boat if you do not properly maintain your upholstery ?

Table of contents

What equipment is required ?

Comme pour toute opération d’entretien de votre bateau, il est nécessaire de bien se renseigner avant de commencer quoi que ce soit. Une fois bien renseigner il est nécessaire de bien s’équiper avec les outils et les produits spécialement dédiés à ce type d’entretien. Ici c’est l’entretien classique de la sellerie.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the equipment needed :

  • A normal brush;
  • A soft brush;
  • A microfiber cloth;
  • Soft soap;
  • Bleach;


Of course there are various specific products used by professionals but they have several disadvantages. These products are often very expensive and some of them contain components that are harmful to the marine environment. This is why we recommend soft soap, which is quite effective, easily accessible, inexpensive and, above all, eco-responsible, since it poses no threat to the marine environment if spilled.

How to properly maintain your boat's saddlery ?

Vous vous doutez bien que toutes les selleries ne sont pas les mêmes and chaque type de sellerie nécessite un type d’entretien en fonction de sa composition. La majorité des bateaux sont composés d’une sellerie en skaï (simili cuir) mais il existe également des bateaux avec une sellerie en toile. Le type d’entretien dépend également dans certains cas, de l’état de la sellerie car il se peut que la sellerie soit trop abîmée pour la nettoyer, il faudra alors envisager son remplacement. Sinon, certains produits tels que l’eau de javel par exemple, ne sont nécessaires qu’en cas de taches profondes et tenaces.

The best solution is not to be fooled by laziness and to perform regular maintenance. This will prevent the accumulation of work and the formation of deep and stubborn dirt, difficult or impossible to remove.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the different phases of a classic upholstery cleaning :

  • Use the regular brush to remove dry residue;
  • Rinse with water and apply the mild soap, lathering well;
  • Go over the dirty areas with the soft brush;
  • Apply a small amount of bleach to deep, stubborn stains.
  • Rub stubborn stains with the microfiber cloth;
  • Leave it on for about 15 minutes;
  • Rinse with water again;
  • Let everything dry;

If you plan to winterize your boat afterwards, remember to cover your upholstery well or store it in a dry environment to protect it from moisture and the risk of mold.

What can happen to your boat if you don't properly maintain your saddlery ?

First of all it is necessary to understand that leather upholstery alias skai for example, is a material to be maintained regularly unlike other materials such as plastic etc. Over time, it may discolor, then harden and finally crack. This path is all the more frequent on a boat since the saddlery undergoes various conditions more or less difficult such as the sun, moisture, mold, heat, friction ...

That's why THE solution for a saddlery that lasts in time, is a regular maintenance by making a quick cleaning and rinsing with water. A more thorough cleaning is certainly recommended at least once a year.

What you need to remember !

The maintenance of the upholstery is an essential process. The comfort on board your boat is precisely what contributes to the pleasure of being its owner.

As for any object we care about, its preservation in time depends mainly on our own behavior towards it. The more time we take to take care of it, the longer it will last.

The same goes for the upholstery of your boat. If you take the time to do a regular cleaning, it will preserve itself over time.

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