Post by Kyle St. Romain.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, I like to explore alternative ways people sleep. Whether that’s on a block of ice in the ICEHOTEL, in a hammock somewhere tropical, or underwater, there’s a number of ways you can get a good (or at least novel) night’s rest outside of the traditional bedroom. This week, we’re headed offshore and I’ll introduce you to the idea of sleeping on a boat.
When you’re on a boat, the bedroom is referred to as the “berth.” According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word berth dates back to the 1620’s and refers generally to a “convenient sea room.” It’s of uncertain origin, but is thought to have come from a combination of the word bear (the verb) and the suffix –th, which is used to turn verbs into nouns. The use of the word berth has been extended to refer to sleeping quarters in all types of transportation, including: planes, trains, and automobiles.
Space on a boat is limited, and designers are challenged to use every available square inch inside a boat efficiently. Thus, the master bedroom (berth) on “normal-sized” boats are typically located in the fore (front) hull of the vessel. These types of berths are known as a V-berth, due to the shape of the interior. Since the front compartments in boats are irregularly shaped, mattresses in a V-berth must be specially crafted to fill in the triangular gap that would otherwise be present with a rectangular mattress. Larger vessels may feature additional sleeping quarters along the sides and towards the rear of the ship, and generally have more latitude in the design of the rooms. Check out the picture below: berths can be quite luxurious!
It’s up for debate whether the front of the rear (aft) of a ship is more stable for sleeping, but most of the ultra-mega yachts I’ve seen on television all feature the master suite in the front. You’re also likely to find the luxury suites on cruise ships at the front.
While sleeping on a boat isn’t for everyone (some people just aren’t comfortable being on the water, or get sea sick), many seafaring types find that sleeping on a boat is quite relaxing. In calm seas, the gentle rocking of the boat helps lull you to sleep (a similar effect of sleeping in a hammock). Additionally, boating imbues a sense of excitement for the adventures that lay ahead. You can also experience amazing sunsets that below the unobstructed ocean horizon, and views are simply unobtainable from land.
Have you ever slept in a berth? Do you prefer the fore or the aft of the ship? Share your experiences in the comments below.