Adding memory foam to cabin cushions

By Jack Brennan
Shanachie, 1974 Bristol 30
Tierra Verde, Fl.

One of the biggest obstacles to taking cruises on my Bristol 30 is that there just isn’t a comfortable place to sleep.

Memory foam cut to shape on top of the old, uncomfortable foam.

Memory foam cut to shape on top of the old, uncomfortable foam.

The ceiling is low in the V berth, which doesn’t please my slightly claustrophobic wife, and the end near the bow narrows uncomfortably for two tall people who need to use all available real estate to sleep.

So we use the bunks in the main cabin, but we’ve always found the foam in the cushions to be hard and uncomfortable. It’s not as bad as sleeping on the ground while camping, but it’s not far off, either.

So, when we removed the cushions from the boat during our last haulout, we talked about adding memory foam. A one-inch pad had done wonders for our bed at home, and we thought it might do the same for our cabin cushions.

It turned out to be a no-brainer of a project.

We ordered a sheet of memory foam on Amazon for all of $30. For our boat, a 50-inch-wide sheet was sufficient to do both cabin cushions.

The cabin cushion with memory foam added. It takes a while for the foam to settle into the cover.

The cabin cushion with memory foam added. It takes a while for the foam to settle into the cover.

It was simple to lay the cushions on top of the memory foam and then use a sharp scissors to cut them in the correct shape. We glued the memory foam to the old stuff to make it easier to wrestle the foam into the covers.

Because it is compressable foam, it was only slightly more difficult to get it back into the Sunbrella covers. I wouldn’t bother to cut any of the old foam off when adding the memory foam.

While we have yet to test the cushions on a cruise, we have tried them out on the floor of our den and lounging around on the boat during the day. So far, the memory foam is a big improvement over the old stuff.

Another possibility is to custom sew a sheet so that it fits tightly over a cabin cushion with the memory foam inside. We talked about this as an alternative if the original strategy didn’t work.

For those of us getting up in years, this little bit of extra comfort can make a big difference in enjoying your trips more. It’s easy to find yourself with a sore back or a restless night of non-sleep if you’re not comfortable.