Have you recently purchased a boat after years of renting one out each summer? Or maybe you’ve decided to jump straight in at the deep end following a windfall. Whatever the reason, owning a boat will open the door to a lifetime of adventures.
After finding the perfect boat for your requirements, you may feel like the work is done. On the contrary, equipping yourself with the best boat accessories is an equally important task. It will influence the safety and performance of the boat, as well as your comfort on the waters. In turn, this will maximize your enjoyment and ensure you get more value from the vessel.
As a new (or soon-to-be) boat owner, there are literally hundreds of items to choose from. So, which boat accessories should you consider as essential? Here’s all you need to know.
A. Safety Accessories
Safety must come first at all times, regardless of previous boating experience levels. Ensuring that you have the right boat accessories to protect yourself and passengers, as well as the vessel itself, is compulsory. The following items will allow you to do it in style.
#1 Life Jackets
While you hope that they will never be needed, life jackets and life vests are essential. In many boating situations, it is necessary to wear them throughout the day as a precaution during your time on the water. Even when this isn’t the case, they should be stored in an accessible place. It’s worth keeping some extras on board in case the primary items are ripped by mistake.
Waterproof flashlights serve many functions.They provide an alternative light source when the power goes on your boat or lights blow. They can also be used to attract the attention of other boats or allow you to gain better visibility when trying to reach hard to access places. In addition to a standard handheld flashlight, you may want to consider a hat with an incorporated spotlight.
#3 Marine First Aid Kit
Boating is a lot of fun, but there are plenty of ledges, edges, hooks, and items that could cause minor injuries. A specialized marine first aid kit will be housed in a waterproof case. It should include bandages, band aids, scissors to cut the materials, a tourniquet, gauze pads, disposable gloves and a thermometer. The first aid kit must be stored away from heat, yet in an easy to reach location.
#4 Flare Kit & Horn
When certain boasting emergencies surface, you must attract passing boats or the coast guard to gain help. A flare kit that includes standard flares and a flare gun allows you to get spotted from near and far. In addition to the flares, you should invest in a handheld horn that can compensate for when a loss of power stops the main horn from working. Time is of the essence for your rescue.
#5 Handheld Anemometer
The wind can play a telling role in the overall boating experience, both in terms of safety and general comfort. A simple handheld anemometer will deliver real-time wind readings to indicate the direction and speed of the winds. The data enables you to make calculated decisions regarding changes that may be required during the trip – or whether it is turn to head back to shore.
B. Performance Boat Accessories
Any product that can successfully enhance the performance of your boat will enable you to create magical memories on the water. Moreover, the simple upgrades provide a level of personalization that will truly make the boat feel like yours.
#1 Jack Plates
If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to make the boat faster, this is one of the best solutions. Jack plates essentially create less drag under the water, which can yield an improvement of around 5mph depending on your boat type and size. For the sake of roughly $100, it makes a far more practical upgrade than changing the engine or making significant modifications.
#2 Steering Tension Wheel
There’s something quite special about driving your boat. However, a simple upgrade can make the steering even better. Choosing a better boat steering tension will apply constant and consistent tension on the steering cable. In turn, you will feel every turn of the wheel with greater control. The noticeable difference will improve your future sea journeys and encourage more frequent usage of the vessel.
#3 Fishing Rod Holder
Boat performances aren’t dictated solely by speed or handling. It also incorporates upgrades to the experiences enjoyed on the water. A fixed fishing rod holder that offers good stability is one of the most valuable items for any experienced angler. You might want a single rod holder or a multi rod holder. One that can be adjusted to suit various rod circumferences is preferential.
#4 VHF Radio
While a VHF radio won’t technically improve the performance of the boat, it aids the function by enabling you to communicate with other vessels, rescue teams, harbors, marinas, and more. You will have to familiarize yourself with the relevant channels of locks and other features before starting your adventure. Still, the relatively cheap addition will add a new dimension to boating adventures.
Every boat needs an anchor. Choosing a light option, like a folding 3.5lb four-fluke anchor for smaller vessels, allows you to save space and potentially aid the speed of your vessel. As a new boat owner, this is a product that needs to be purchased sooner rather than later. Get it right at the first time of asking with the lightest option that is suitable to keep a boat of yours anchored to the sea bed.
C. Miscellaneous Boat Accessories
Tools may also be required to complete an array of different tasks. From fixing minor faults to keeping the boat positioned or overcoming unenviable situations, the following items are ideal investments ahead of your first trip.
#1 Wire Strippers
If a problem is identified with the electrical wires, efficient stripping will be vital. Wire strippers enable you to make a clean break before fitting the new wire or spark plug. A plier crimping tool featuring multiple holes and teeth is advised. It should be labeled with the details of each element, thus allowing you to complete tasks more quickly. The tool can be useful around the home too.
#2 PVC Cutters
Strong PVC cutters will actually cut through plastics, cabling, and an array of additional materials that may be found onboard your boat. While you will naturally carry a knife and hatchet, the pipe cutter tool can help localize damage or begin the restoration process. Whether it’s while you’re on the water or once safely docked, the tool can save you a lot of time and hassle.
#3 Dock Lines
It’s very easy to focus solely on the products needed for when you’re stuck at sea. In reality, though, your boat will spend a lot of time on the dock. Keeping dock lines on board for when you reach a new dock is essential. This will improve any sea tours that you plan to enjoy. The ropes should be durable and incorporate large eyelets. They must also resist oil and adverse weather damage.
#4 Battery Pack
When the boat’s on board power supply fails, you will hopefully find another boat to tow you back. However, a reserve battery pack to provide temporary power is a wise addition. It can allow you to get back to the dock without outside help, and use the lights and electrical items until you do. Alternatively, you could invest in a solar panel to provide energy in those times of need. This option may also reduce your energy costs.
#5 Survivalist Phone Case
Whether you’re team Apple or team Android, keeping your smartphone protected on the waters is essential. Survivalist phone cases are available for all major cell phone models. While primarily designed for camping, their waterproof attributes make them great for boating. The best ones will incorporate a concealed multitool for cutting and measuring while the kickstand allows you to utilize the smartphone in new ways.
D. Fault Finding Boat Accessories
As a new boating enthusiast, you should expect to encounter faults from time to time. That’s just a part of the boating lifestyle. However, you can’t repair the problems without first identifying them. The following boat accessories will help during those processes.
Electricity and water don’t mix. Consequently, then, electrical faults should not surprise you. The addition of a multi-meter will allow you to quickly analyze the current in any given space. This can quickly identify where the power has tripped or circuit is broken while also ruling out the prospect of additional faults throughout the system. Select a model that uses a digital display for the very best results.
#2 Moisture Meter
Leaking is another very common issue that all new boating enthusiasts must prepare for. The use of a moisture meter will produce live readings that allow you to confirm the presence of moisture before honing in on it. The presence of a little water could be caused by many reasons, the moisture meter lets you gain control of the situation and fix it in the fastest time.
#3 Magnifying Glass
It might be the simplest accessory you ever purchase. Nonetheless, a magnifying glass can make a world of difference when investigating faults in hard to see places. From reading labels on fixed items to finding products that have dropped and rolled around the floor due to the movement of the waters, this tool can provide function in many scenarios. For the best results, use it with a flashlight.
#4 Infrared Thermometer
Sometimes you will notice a change in the boat’s performance long before the alarm systems notify you of an issue. When dealing with the engine, pointing an infrared thermometer at different points will allow you to find the source of your troubles. From here, you can read the manual to find a suitable solution. Similarly, it will help you know exactly which parts require a replacement.
#5 Waterproof Notepad
From checking off the potential faults you’ve ruled out to taking measurements or jotting down key points, a waterproof notepad finally allows you to keep a manual log without ruining the pages due to leaking water. This can indirectly speed up the fault finding process while simultaneously removing the confusion that could cause inaccurate measurements, actions, or recordings.
E. Comfort Boat Accessories
In reality, you could probably survive without the following boat accessories. Nonetheless, the fact that they can add a little comfort to your activities will encourage you to spend more time on the water while also preventing stress and potential ill health.
#1 Dry Sack
A dry sack that features taped seams and a clips to keep the top sealed is one of the simplest ways to keep your clothes dry while you’re on the water. While this is particularly beneficial for overnight trips, such as fishing, the rewards exist for day boaters too. When you get wet, getting out of that outfit and into a new one can make the next few hours more enjoyable while also fighting off the threat of flu.
#2 Dry Box
It’s not just your clothes that need protecting. A dry box with a completely airlocked and sealed lid will provide peace of mind for storing watches, jewelry, backup cell phones, and other valuables. This is a far better solution than the upholstery inside the boat cabin, which could still be vulnerable to water caused by leaks or waves that crash onto the boat. They can be stored at ground level to prevent falls and subsequent breaking.
#3 Camping Hammock
Some boats will have beds included in the cabin, which is great. If yours is a smaller boat intended for day use, a nylon camping hammock is the ultimate solution. Whether it’s to relax on the deck while fishing or catch a few Zs while drifting away on calm waters doesn’t matter. Most boats naturally have several structural points that you can tie the hammock to. A single or double? It’s up to you.
#4 Eating Accessories
Mealtimes on board your boat aren’t going to provide fine dining. Still, you can create a more pleasurable experience by investing in simple accessories. A thermal flask will allow you to keep your tea warm while sitting on the starboard. An electrical tin opener can help overcome problems caused by movement on the waves. And titanium sporks will save valuable space by combining two tools into one.
#5 Cut-Resistant Gloves
As a boater, you will constantly rely on your hands to complete tasks and manage your vessel. Cut-resistant gloves keep your hands warm while also protecting you from glass, sharp edges, and other potential sources of damage to your fingers. They also help your grip. Machine-washable gloves offer the best long-term value by far.
Having probably spent thousands of dollars on your boat, it would be crazy to restrict your enjoyment for the sake of a few hundred dollars. While you might not find that every item listed above is necessary, investments into the items that are relevant to you can make a world of difference to your future adventures. Happy boating!