If you are considering replacing boat mattresses, here are a few points for you to consider and some thoughts about which type of mattress would suit your needs; with information about the pros and cons of the main mattress constructions.
Memory Foam: Which is ideal for those wanting the ultimate in comfort and support, but be warned memory foam is heavy to move about, this is a fact most of us need to consider for bed making or accessing bilge areas below the mattress. Although great to sleep on at home, the general thought is that on board boats they can hold condensation because they cannot breath. You can use a DRY-Mat below the mattress which will help, although Ship Shape bedding state that they have created a marine memory foam, which would be worth investigating.
Memory foam retains body heat so this could be a positive or negative factor depending where you are in the world.
Memory foam has been identified as offering orthopaedic support, by evenly distributing the body weight. Memory foam features the same chemical makeup as high resilient foam, but a wetting agent is added to create air pockets that give the foam a slower spring-back. This gives the foam the ability to contour to shapes.
When looking to purchase a memory foam mattress, check to see that they have included an additional layer of rubberised coir fibre or similar as a base layer, to give the mattress even more spring and crucial ventilation to stop base mould.
Pocket Sprung and interior sprung: These mattresses are very similar to those we have at home, again quite weighty and come in such a range of prices it was hard for me to understand how they can vary so much. But when it comes to springs, it is quality rather than quantity that’s important. The number of springs in your mattress is less important than how they’re constructed. Mattresses can have densities of 440 to 1,085 springs which will then offer a wide variation in the level of support offered, which I guess explains the range in prices!
Depth of inner spring and pocket sprung mattresses vary from 150mm (6″) in depth to 250mm (10″) deep. When buying online check carefully for spring height and density.
When ordering your pocket sprung mattress, consider how you are going to access the space below your bunk, perhaps ask for the mattress to be made in sections. NaturalMat Marine offer a bespoke service for creating individual shapes.
Foam Mattress: These are what most of us have, usually light weight and more economical (in comparison to the top two). These are ideal for height restricted cabins, or those with bad backs, but the thickness can vary considerable which impacts on comfort, there are also a variety of different foams available.
Conventional foam comes in many weights and densities, but foam does not come with anti mould or mildew biocide protection, so it is extremely important that this form of ‘mattress’ is aired.
High resilience foam density normally ranges from 1.8 pounds to 2.5 pounds and is a more durable than memory foam and better able to retain its shape. The difference between conventional foam and high end foam is just in the chemicals used. High resilience foam is denser and heavier than conventional foam (not to be confused with memory foam); it is dearer than conventional foam, but offers a firmer night’s sleep, because HR foam reduces pressure at the points of greatest weight; again there are no biocide treatments in this foam.
Foam that will not absorb water is reticulated foam; this has the same chemical makeup as high resilient foam, but has had an added process to expand the cells, which creates the waterproof property. This is currently only produced in a small range of densities.
Another waterproof foam is a closed cell foam, this is dense cross linked polyethylene, which due to its closed cell format restricts water ingress. The downside of this foam is that it’s not comfortable to sit or sleep on.
EZ-Dri foam. This foam is available from Crest Foam Industries and comes in block form, in sheets or cut to size. It is high priced, offers good comfort and comes standard with biocide for mould and mildew prevention, but is not waterproof!
Look out for these additional features when purchasing your ‘mattress’
Whatever your budget, there are an amazing range of boat mattresses available to you, I hope this blog article has given you a better idea of what you should be aware of when buying your marine mattress.
Please add any comments or suggestions for other boat owners – it’s good to share!
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