Mark Wallace's Black Skiff

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Passenger Seats for Small Boats

Let’s say you want to bring a passenger with you in your boat. What does he or she sit on, other than a boat cushion? One option is the ‘stern seat’, using the transom as a backrest… like this:

Stern Seat in a Bolger Cartopper (Photo:

The problem is the weight being so far aft in the boat can ruin the trim of the boat unless the paddler or rower (with a second set of oar locks) is far forward.

The purpose of this post is to show a number of other passenger seats that can either be purchased (complete or in kit form), or used as ideas/prototypes for making your own.

You could, for example, use a folding “stadium seats” such as this one…

Folding 'Stadium' Seat from Amazon

…from Amazon.

Another similar option is Gander Mountain’s SitBacker Canoe Seat.

Gander Mountain SitBacker Canoe Seat

FrontRower sells this folding passenger seat…

FrontRower Passenger Seat

… made from Cherry wood and matches, in style, the FrontRower(TM) Rowing System.

Glynn Sirmans in Duckworks Magazine created a very comfortable looking passenger seat.

Glen Sirman's Custom Passenger Seat

Plans for Glen's Passenger Seat

Ken Simpson Plans offers free plans for a simply made folding passenger seat.

Ken Simpson's Folding Passenger Seat

Chesapeake Light Craft offers a cane seat ...

CLC's Cane Passenger Seat

…that is similar (identical?) to this cane seat from Fyne Boats who sell CLC products in the UK.

Fyne Boats Cane Passenger Seat

Fyne Boats also shows this ‘slatted seat’ in another of their boats.

A Slatted Seat in a Fyne Boat

If you need a passenger seat in your oar cruiser or canoe, I hope these alternatives will provide you with ideas on either purchasing a seat or building your own.

Let us know of any other passenger seats you have seen, or better yet, built for your small boat.


  1. I have a rear seat for my sliding seat rowboat. There are two locations of the rowing rig, one for solo rowing and another further forward for rowing with a passenger. the backrest clamps to the gunwales, and the seat sits in the bottom of the hull and is located by the unused rear mounting for the slider. shows the seat before I finished the boat for delivery.

    1. Hi Richard... Thank you for sharing this... If you don't mind, I'd like to include it in a quick post in the blog, with appropriate credits to you and OysterBayBoats...

  2. That would be great.
    Best rgds