Haines V19R boat restoration

Fitting boat seats

The Haines V19R boat restoration project — since dubbed the Nautek N19R — received some sweet fishing gear. Now it was time to give it some premium boat seats.

Fishing can involve long hours waiting for a strike and it is most important to reduce operator fatigue during long days on the water, particularly in sloppy conditions. Other than the basic comfort benefits, strong seating is needed to lock the passengers into a secure position, particularly when the going gets rough.

From a driver’s perspective it is quite dangerous to have all your weight and balance reliant on the steering wheel and throttle. We have often had bad experiences when the boat takes a jolt on a wave and the sensitive fly-by-wire throttles are knocked either into a sudden burst of speed, or even the opposite with a rev drop. Either can be quite dangerous.


Boat seats

Personally, I have a well-documented hatred of high seat pedestals, and for good reason. Many years ago I fished on a quite serious gamefishing team in a high-quality boat with pedestal seats. Unfortunately, one of the pedestals pulled its retaining bolts out from the floor, toppling the unsuspecting passenger over backwards, causing spinal issues. The boat itself was possibly the best maintained boat I have ever fished on and there was no hint or warning of the imminent failure.

Hence, I personally don’t like pedestals, no matter the strength of their construction. The amount of force applied to the floor flange with even the lightest passengers is enormous, let alone large fishermen getting buffeted around in big seas.

A seat box, no matter their construction, obviously spread the load over a much larger area, eliminating the lever or pendulum action of a pedestal. I also like the flexibility of stepped or extended seat boxes which can supply a large amount of precious storage, as well as rear-facing seats. These rear seats with their low centre of gravity are ideal for sitting out long nights waiting for a snapper, mulloway or gummy bite. They have you facing the rods so you can see what is happening, and make an ideal observer position for keeping an eye on the spread when trolling.


Fitting boat seats

There are many sizes and styles of seat boxes on the market, mostly of fibreglass construction, and for our Haines V19R project boat we chose a pair from Melbourne’s Levey Fibreglass. The greatest attraction was the curved rear edges that don’t feel at all obstructive to the large deck area of the project boat. The large open boxes allow plenty of flexibility to add fire extinguisher and EPIRB mounts, flush-mount tackle boxes, wetwells, iceboxes or even speaker mounts. We had a couple of rear seat cushions made by our friends at Avtek Covers which also did our full canvas construction.

Many people use swivel plates to mount the seats, yet there are some good and bad ones on the market. We decided to go one better with a pair of Reelax stainless steel base, short-seat pedestals. These are a premium product at a higher purchase price – however we know we are secure with the high level of added strength from the construction.

The pedestals allow 360 degrees of swivel as well as easy seat removal and are available in a number of lengths to reach optimum seat height. We fibreglassed added support to the seat shells, making sure the flange load was well spread for added security. Lastly, we added a pair of Axis thick upholstered seats, making sure they were wide enough for our ample dimensions. The seats also have flip-up bolsters which are ideal for transferring from seated to standing positions, creating a comfortable and secure backrest. We have found that the bolster has eliminated the need for an adjustable seat slide that would add unwanted height and yet another moving part to wear in a hard-working boat.

With the addition of Flexiteek flooring, the strong and sensible boat seating has greatly improved the comfort levels and safety aspects of our Haines V19R project boat.


Boat trim and padded coamings

Our good mate Michael at Cranbourne’s Avtek Covers has completed the job with the addition of a full storm cover and some big, thick padded coamings. The rear storm cover protects the boat from the rocket launcher to the transom, as well as adding to the security while travelling as well as keeping those prying eyes away from the internal goodies when not attended.

Avtek uses and recommends Sunbrella acryllic materials for longevity. It has very little stretch or shrinkage and lasts years, even in direct exposure, with its excellent UV resistance. The new materials are so good that Sunbrella provides a 10-year colour-fade warranty. Padded coamings add to the creature comforts and trim the boat nicely. It is amazing how much you appreciate them if locked in battle with a rampaging pelagic for a long period of time on stand-up game tackle, particularly in a pitching sea. They are made from a hard-wearing marine-grade vinyl (that is easily cleaned) with thick high-density foam to cushion your thighs. Plus, they look great.


The Trade-a-Boat verdict 

While our project is nearing completion, a new fishing season is about to erupt. Rest assured that the Trade-a-Boat team will be continuing to suffer on by having to water-test this restored boat and bring you updates on the multitude of premium products that have combined to create this most admired package.


See the full version of this story in Trade-A-Boat #469, on sale September 3, 2015. Why not subscribe today?