- Boat accessories can help keep you safe and allow more fun for the family
- Many of these items will range from a reasonable price to expensive based on brand
- Be sure to check labels on items, making sure they are waterproof or water resistant
Boating accessories can help turn your time on the water into a more enjoyable experience. But what are some of the best boat accessories?
A life jacket, first aid kit, and a fire extinguisher are a few of essential boat accessories everyone needs. For more fun boat accessories, these include a boat grill, fish finder, depth finder, and even a waterproof bluetooth speaker to enhance fun on board.
Any boater that plans to take more than one person on board needs to have safety boat accessories, such as extra life jackets stowed away or possibly a built in GPS if you are not familiar with the area. As you will read, the best boat accessories are a mix of fun and safety.
17 of the Best Boat Accessories
Boating can be a rewarding experience whether you are fishing, cruising, or spending time with family. It is important to have boat accessories that allow you to take action in time of need, but also make the experience more fun.
Arguably the most crucial boat accessory, life jackets can make the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. This would be a good time to upgrade to a comfortable one if you plan on wearing it all the time.
Make sure there are plenty of life jackets on board to account for every person. In addition, check that they fit correctly before leaving the dock.
First Aid Kit
First aid kits are needed on boats of different sizes, no matter what, making this easily the second best boat accessory to have. These can typically be purchased at most convenience stores and are essential to handle a variety of situations at sea, lake, or open water.
These kits typically have:
- A manual for emergency treatment
- Two absorbent pads for compression (measuring 5 inches by 9 inches)
- 25 sticky strips (in various sizes)
- One roll of sticky cloth tape (measuring 10 yards by 1 inch)
- Five packets of ointment to combat infections
- Five packets of wipes to sanitize wounds
- Two packets of aspirin in smaller doses (each with 81 milligrams)
- One thermal blanket for urgent situations
To guarantee the safety of your boat experience, it is essential to have navigation tools at your disposal. Navigating through unfamiliar waters can be made easier with the use of GPS devices or chart plotters, while a compass can serve as a reliable backup in case of any electronic failures.
Without these navigational tools, you will likely find yourself lost. Also, it is good to have a point of reference if you need to call out for help and someone can easily locate you based on your location.
Anchors are essential for boaters who need to stay in place, whether to fish, swim, or to stop for the night. There are many different sizes and shapes for anchors, as each one will vary based on desired use. Look for an anchor that is appropriate for various sizes and make sure you know how to use it correctly.
Good lighting is critical for safe boating, especially at night. Ensure you have navigation lights that meet Coast Guard regulations, along with interior and exterior lights, and possibly a waterproof flashlight to help you see and be seen. LED lights are a great option because they are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and are quite bright.
In addition to life jackets, several other safety items can help keep you safe on the water, such as fire extinguishers, flares, first aid kits, and a VHF radio. Once obtaining these items, it would not hurt to read the instructions and go over a safe plan with your family or guests on board in the event they need to be used. Be sure to know how to use all safety equipment on board and maintain it correctly.
Boat covers are a must-have accessory for protecting your vessel from the elements. They can help prevent damage from the sun, rain, and snow and deter theft. Find a cover that fits your boat properly and is made of a waterproof and durable material.
Entertainment systems can enhance your boating experience and make time on the water more enjoyable. There is a wide range of boats that offer sound systems, however, their quality varies and none of them are portable enough to be transported to a kayak or a shoreline.
Consider installing a stereo system, speakers, or a TV on board, or bring portable devices like a tablet or a portable DVD player to watch movies or listen to music. When selecting a portable speaker, opt for one that is resistant to water and dust so that you can enjoy your music uninterrupted even if it accidentally lands on a patch of sand.
Fenders are necessary to safeguard your boat from damage when docking or mooring. Made from rubber or plastic, they can be attached to your vessel's sides to absorb the impact from other boats or the dock.
Typically, it is advised to have a sufficient number of fenders based on the length of your boat. For instance, for a boat that is 20 feet long, it is recommended to have four fenders on each side.
Comfortable boat seats can make a significant difference in your boating experience. Seek out seats designed for your type of boating, whether it is fishing, cruising, or water sports. Ensure that the seats are comfortable and provide excellent support.
If you intend to transport your boat often and not leave it tied to a dock, then a trailer is a must-have accessory. Look for a trailer that is the correct size for your boat and is fitted with essential safety features such as brakes and lights. Be sure to know how to properly hitch and unhitch the trailer and how to drive with a trailer attached.
In situations where the surroundings are saturated with moisture, it becomes crucial to have a means of safeguarding personal belongings such as smartphones from getting wet. This is where high-quality dry bags can prove to be indispensable, with some even allowing it to be completely submerged.
Dry bags can store all of your most precious items that are in danger of being wet. In addition, these are easier to store and move around in comparison to a dry box.
For boaters of all types, a personal locator beacon (plc) is a valuable safety tool, particularly when introducing inexperienced passengers who may be apprehensive about venturing far from the shore. These beacons function as portable tracking devices, enabling rescue teams to locate you quickly in the event of an emergency.
Their compact size allows them to be conveniently attached to a life jacket or shorts, offering a sense of security in almost any situation. These essential nautical accessories offer adaptability, and in case of a dire situation or disorientation, they have the potential to be literal lifesavers.
A cooler might seem like a no-brainer to take on a long fish trip or sailing, but not just any type will work. Consider choosing a cooler with a soft-sided exterior that can handle saltwater conditions, as its size decreases as you remove items from it throughout the day, making it more convenient to store by folding it up and placing it in a compact location like under a seat or in a side compartment.
In contrast, a hard-sided cooler of the same size remains bulky even when empty, limiting your storage options. Certain portable coolers have the ability to be worn on one's back, allowing for effortless transportation onto a small boat and onward to a sandy shore for a midday meal.
When you want to cook while at sea or near the beach, you need a marine specific grill to handle the job. Typical charcoal grills are not going to get the job done.
You will need one that is marine ready and preferably securely fastened to the boat so it does not turn loose when you go over waves. It is up to your grilling habits if you want your boat's grill connected by detachable or fixed fastenings, suitable for a curved or plane base.
Telescopic Boat Hook
A boat hook allows you to effortlessly navigate your boat or dropped items in the water from afar, ensuring a safer and more manageable boating experience. If you do not prefer to manually operate your boat while launching or retrieving, then a boat hook is worth your consideration.
While using a boat hook, they make your life a thousand times easier when pulling it towards you or to steer. Maintaining full command of your boat while on the ramp is not only essential for your own security but also for the wellbeing of those around you.
When tying off at a dock, you want to make sure you have plenty of dock lines ready to go. At a minimum, you should have four lines and some to spare in the event they break. Depending on the size of your boat, you may need to invest in more lines and have plenty in storage.
Do You Need Accessories to Own a Boat?
Boat accessories make owning a boat much more fun, allowing you to partake in any activity that is planned. While you do not need a ton of accessories to own your boat, there are some that make the experience better.
Individuals with a fondness for aquatic activities may consider procuring towable playthings and personal flotation devices tailored to their chosen water sport. Fishing enthusiasts will prioritize acquiring appropriate angling equipment and other tools such as a fish finder or depth finders, while seafarers have distinct gear requirements of their own. Those who relish preparing meals onboard the vessel will have an entirely unique inventory of essentials to consider.
Why You Need the Right Boat Accessories
Cars come with everything you need to drive, while boats usually require extra equipment for a successful day on the water. This may include electronics, fishing gear, coolers, and more, depending on how and where you plan to use your boat.
However, adding accessories is a fun way to personalize your boat and make it perfect for your needs. It is crucial to ensure that the items you choose are suitable for your intended usage, appropriately sized for your vessel, and can be fastened securely to your boat. Before purchasing any boat accessories, ensure that you contemplate the available space on your vessel and secure them appropriately once obtained.
It is imperative to prioritize being safe when navigating any aquatic terrain, regardless of your level of experience. An array of exceptional nautical accessories are available to improve the protection of your boat, such as handrails, aquatic perches, and mounting mechanisms for easy access to emergency supplies like fire extinguishers and medical kits, as well as signage and additional protection features.
Ease of Use
In order to fully enjoy your time on the water, it is essential to have all necessary items easily accessible. Moving around on a boat can be challenging, so having convenient tools such as cup holders, gadget holders, fishing equipment, portable grill, cooler, and tables can greatly improve the experience.
Enhancing your boating experience can be achieved through the incorporation of various elements that provide a cozy and pleasurable environment. You can consider features such as cushioned decks, tables, mist sprayers, sun protection, seating options, and other furniture to accommodate guests.
If you are heading out on a boat, it makes sense to look forward to having a good time and make the most of your experience. To achieve this, you may want to consider adding some fun and entertaining accessories to your vessel, such as sound systems, food and drink holders, and even recreational games for the family to enjoy. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy your time on the water to the fullest extent possible.
Cruising and Fishing
Certain vessels are intentionally constructed to cater to cruising or fishing needs, whereas others necessitate modification to serve as competent fishing stations. Despite being purposely crafted for fishing, a fishing vessel can still enhance its functionality with the inclusion of fishing accouterments.
There are numerous add-ons available to enhance your fishing experience while on your boat. These include additional racks for fishing rods, compartments for organizing fishing gear, designated areas for cleaning fish, long poles to extend the reach, compartments for storing tools and bait, satchels for holding the day's catch, bucket attachments, coolers with built-in chopping boards, and many more.
Waterproof and Water Resistant
When it comes to boating gear, it is important to select items that can withstand moisture (waterproof). Additionally, you should choose products that are built to last, will not break the bank, and cater to the boating lifestyle.
Where to Find Boat Accessories
If you see something that you feel like incorporating into your boat equipment, they are readily available and easy to find. Consider your preferences when it comes to essentials like sun protection and coolers, but do not skip out on necessary precaution items like life jackets.
Boat bumpers, life vests, and dock lines can typically be found at your boat vendor or similar stores. As for emergency kits and other equipment, a plethora of options can be found online or at general convenience stores.
To make the most of your aquatic adventure, look into researching the laws in your area and creating a checklist of must-have items. This way, you can narrow down what works best for your situation.
About THE AUTHOR
I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.Read More About Brian Samson