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42 Boat Accessories that Makes Boating More Fun and Safe (by a Boat Owner)

Fishing boat in marina slip

Here’s a picture of our new fishing boat.

I no sooner bought a Hewescraft boat, which wasn’t cheap and leased a marina slip and now I’m neck-deep in researching and buying boat accessories. It’s fast-becoming a hobby for me but it’s been fun.  While there are many parts of a boat, there are more boat accessories you can buy.

When it comes to stuff you can buy for a boat, there’s no shortage. I’ve been reading about boating gear and gadgets for some time now. I’ve bought a handful of items so far.  I’ll probably buy more.

I categorize boat accessories as tech, gadgets and safety.  Many of the boat safety accessories are required in some jurisdictions (such as mine) but I’ll list them anyway.  Until I took the boating exam I didn’t realize most of the safety gear that’s required for all boats.  I recognized that large yachts need plenty of gear but I didn’t realize small fishing boats need much of the same.

Also, which boating accessories you buy will depend in some cases the type of boat you get. For example, if you have a huge yacht, you’ll need more fire extinguishers and heavier duty safety equipment.

If you’re looking for some boating accessory ideas, scroll through my list below.

Related: Aluminum vs. Fiberglass Boat | Parts of a Boat | Where to Buy Used Boat | Hewescraft 180 Pro V Review | Renting a Boat Slip | Types of Boats | Boat Cost | Hard vs. Soft Top vs. Hybrid vs. Semi Top Boat | Buying a Boat | Parts of a Boat Trailer

A. Boating Tech

1. Sounder/Fish Finder

Lowrance Elite FS 9 Fish Finder with Active Imaging 3-in-1 Transducer, Preloaded C-MAP Contour+ Charts

I opted for the Lowrance Elite fish finder because it’s more than just a fish finder. It’s a GPS, sounder and fish finder all in one.  The large screen makes it easy to view key data while driving.  There are many different screen displays available.  While it’s not cheap, this thing is awesome.  I’m glad I spent more for this higher-end product.

Read our fish finder article setting out all types of fish finders and sounders and learn about the different types of fishing rods here.

2. Trickle charger or battery maintainer

NOCO Genius GEN5X1, 1-Bank, 5-Amp (5-Amp Per Bank) Fully-Automatic Smart Marine Charger, 12V Onboard Battery Charger, Battery Maintainer And Battery Desulfator With Temperature Compensation

I just bought this to keep our boat battery charged while at the marina.  Our boat has an automatic bilge pump that pulls from the battery so we definitely need this for winter when we don’t take the boat out much.  We get quite a bit of rain so the bilge runs regularly.

3. Warm Air Circulator

Caframo Limited 9406CAABX Stor-Dry 9406 Dehumidifier, Warm Air Circulator Fan, Small, Metallic

This device is to prevent mold and mildew during winter storage. It circulates warm, dry air throughout the boat cabin area. A good one draws low wattage (75 or so).

See also  3 Types of Boat Batteries

4. Solar panels and inverter (solar power)

Jackery Solar Generator 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency

We’re going to outfit our boat access cabin with solar panels so this isn’t necessary.  I’m still tempted but one problem is the panels are not waterproof.  It rains a lot where we are so it would have limited use.  Conceptually it’s awesome and if we weren’t primarily parking our boat at a cabin, I’d definitely get something like just to have a ready source of power.

5. Marine camera

Garmin GC 12 Marine Camera, 010-02667-00

If you’d like to add your own security to your boat wherever it’s docked, get a marine camera.  It’s a surveillance camera.  I don’t have one. I doubt I’d buy one but I can see the desire for such an accessory.

6. Radar

Humminbird Chirp Radar Dome

Marine radar helps with navigation. It detects other boats, land, weather systems etc.  We won’t be taking our boat far out on open water so it’s not necessary for us but if we were to head out far off land, I can see how this could be helpful.

7. Boat stereo speakers

BOSS Audio Systems B62RGB ATV UTV Weatherproof Waketower Speaker System - Amplified, 750 Watts Per Pair, 6.5 Inch Speakers, Full Range, 2 Way, Bluetooth, RGB Led Illumination, IPX5 Weatherproof, Sold

Small, easy to install bluetooth speakers for your boat.  These are weatherproofed speakers which is necessary on a boat.

8. Cell phone signal booster

weBoost Drive 4G-X 470510 Cell Phone Signal Booster, Marine Bundle, Cell Signal Booster Kit for Boat & Marine Applications, Boosts 4G/LTE/3G Signals – Maximum Cell Signal Boost Allowed by FCC

The cell phone booster is something I’m interested in for up at our cabin.  We get cell reception but it’s spotty.  I have a hunch this product would provide the boost we’d need to ensure a consistent and decent signal.

9. Boat Cabin heater

Xtreme Heaters XXXHEAT Large 600W 110v Boat Engine Compartment Heater | Military Certified, Ultra-Safe, Multi-Use Boat Bilge Heater, RV Heater, Camper & Van Heater

Since we don’t plan to head out in the cold much, we don’t need a heater for our boat cabin but if we did, a heater would be nice. It doesn’t take long to get chilled on a boat.

10. LED Boat Strip Lights

Vbakor Led Strip Lights Boat Lights, 12V Flexible RGB Strip Lights, IP65 Waterproof Boat Deck Lighting, Color Changing Marine Lights for Jon Bass Boat Sailboat Kayak, Fishing Boat Lights (10M-32.8FT)

Obviously not a necessity but could be fun if you want to deck out your book with some colorful lighting.  This isn’t my thing but I could see the appeal (maybe).

11. Waterproof USB Charger

Quick Charge 3.0 Dual USB Charger Socket, ADSDIA Waterproof Aluminum Power Outlet Fast Charge with LED Voltmeter & Wire Fuse DIY Kit for 12V/24V Car Boat Marine Motorcycle Truck Golf Cart and More

You can hook this USB charger up to your boat battery or cigarette lighter to charge devices.  These things are very handy. I have one in each vehicle we own and I’ll be getting one for the boat.  You never know when you’ll need to charge a device.  I know some might read this and think we can get by without our devices for a few hours and that’s true, but I view cell phones as a safety item on the water.  I realize coverage isn’t perfect but it could be a lifesaver.  We will use our boat where there is a signal for the most part.  It would be a shame not to be able to use it because of a low device battery.

B. Boating Gadgets

12. Boat Bungee Dock Lines

DOMABRI Boat Bungee Dock Lines - 2 Pack - 4 ft Mooring Rope - Boating Dock Accessories - Quick Docking - Non-Jerking - Great Boating Gifts For Men - Pontoon, Kayak, Fishing Boat - Durable - Free eBook

Initially, I bought four regular dock lines.  They work just fine but I just bought these because it sure looks like this could speed up tying up a boat at our dock. It’s a quick slip knot and done.  I’ll give it a shot and see whether it’s better.  These aren’t expensive so it was worth a try.

13. Boat Tote:  Boating organizer

Boat Tote All-in-One Boat Accessories Organizer - Boating, Fishing Accessory, Rod and Gear Holder for Jon Boats, Kayaks, Cartoppers

I highly doubt I’ll buy a boat organizer but that’s because inside our cabin we have cup holders and storage compartments.  If you have a skiff with no surface areas, this could be an ideal accessory.

14. Mesh Boat Trash Bag

Boat Trash Bag - Medium Hoop Mesh Trash Bag for Your Boat

I like this idea. I know garbage will stack up on the boat. This keeps the boat tidy and easy to get rid of the trash.

15. Boat Grill Mount

Boat Grill with Mount - Portable Propane Gas BBQ - Grills Secure into Rod Holder | Adjustable Legs for Table Top Use | Stainless Steel Marine Stove -Great Outdoor Barbecue

I have no plans to grill on my boat but if you like the idea, here’s a way to mount the grill to your boat.  Catch, clean and grill.  When put that way, I’m almost tempted to buy it.

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16. Boat cleaning kit

StarBrite 083701N Boat Care In A Bucket Starter Kit Wash Cleaner Polish Included

I don’t myself cleaning the boat all that much other than using the built in hose to spray it down.  However, if you’re the type who loves a clean boat, you can buy boat cleaner kits just like this.

17. Umbrella with clamp

G4Free UPF 50+ Adjustable Beach Umbrella XL with Universal Clamp for Chair, Golf Cart, Stroller, Bleacher, Patio (Black)

If you have no covered area on your boat, an umbrella with a clamp could come in very handy.  Sitting in the open on the water in the hot sun can get unbearable.  This umbrella could provide the shade you need not to fry all day.

18. Binoculars

Steiner Navigator Pro 7x50 Binoculars - Magnification 7X - High Contrast Optics - Floating Prism System - Sports-Auto Focus - Delivers Excellent Image Clarity, Navy Blue (7655)

Binoculars come in very handy on a boat as you can imagine.  It’s a good idea to get weatherproof binoculars that perform well in heat, cold and if they get wet.  Shock-proofing is also good since it’s likely they’ll get dropped or banged around on the boat.  Lastly, you don’t want them too big or heavy since often you’ll be using them with one hand.

19. Docktail Boat Bar

Docktail Boat Bar & Ultimate Marine Cup & Bottle Holder - This Boating Accessory Includes Rod Holder Mount - Holds Handles and All 20 and 30 Oz Tumblers - 12 oz Cans and Bottles - Starboard

Like the grill mount, I doubt I’ll buy this docktail boat bar but for those who are partying on the boat or have nowhere to put beverages, this could come in handy.  It’s great for preventing spills.

20. Waterproof cell phone cases

Universal Waterproof Case,Waterproof Phone Pouch Compatible for iPhone 13 12 11 Pro Max XS Max XR X 8 7 Samsung Galaxy s10/s9 Google Pixel 2 HTC Up to 7.0", IPX8 Cellphone Dry Bag -2 Pack

If you’re worried about frying your cell phone, get a waterproof cell phone case.  You can use the phone through the case (although it’s not as sensitive as using without).  It’s a good idea on a boat.

21. Dry bag

MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag 5L/10L/20L/30L/40L, Roll Top Sack Keeps Gear Dry for Kayaking, Rafting, Boating, Swimming, Camping, Hiking, Beach, Fishing (Teal, 20L)

Having one dry bag around for stuff you can’t get wet is smart especially if you don’t have a cabin.  I’ll probably get something like this… I’ll have to use our boat for a season to find out if it’s necessary.

22. Swimming ladder

Boat swimming ladder

If you plan to recreate with your boat, a folding swim ladder is a must-have.  We had one installed

C. Safety Accessories

23. Life jackets

Stohlquist Infant PFD Life Jacket - Yellow + Blue, 8-30 lbs - Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Toddlers, Support Collar, Grab Handle, Fully Adjustable with Quick Release Buckle

Life jackets are a must-have item for any boat.  One life jacket per person. Ideally, everyone wears them.  That’s what I learned in the boating exam and it’s hard to argue with when you look at the boating death statistics… many deaths could have been avoided had people been wearing a life jacket.

24. Emergency kit for boating

Goglobe Boat Safety Kit for Boating Sailing Kayaking Fishing Marine Safety Required by Coast Guard

I like prepared kits because it makes things easy. I bought a Mickey Mouse boat emergency kit and should upgrade to something like this.  I know I’m sounding overdramatic about safety but I have to say the boat licensing course and exam I took opened my eyes to the dangers of boating where much of the danger could be avoided with the proper emergency gear onboard.

25. First Aid Kit

Compact First Aid Kit (228pcs) Designed for Family Emergency Care. Waterproof EVA Case and Bag is Ideal for The Car, Home, Boat, School, Camping, Hiking, Office, Sports. Protect Your Loved Ones.

Check. We have a first aid kit. I have tons of these.  They come in handy. They’re a good thing to have on a boat.

26. Floating safety line

Outdoor Professional Water Floating Lifesaving Rope,Water Floating Rescue Lifeline with Bracelet (Orange, 98.40)

A floating safety line is a no-brainer.  If someone falls out, you can fish them in.

27. Flare gun

Coastal Alert Launcher KIT

Also a no-brainer.  It’s hard for aircraft and other boats to see your boat if weather is bad.  Flares help. Flare guns can save lives. It’s good to have one. In our neck of the woods, they’re required.

28. Whistle

Hipat Emergency Whistle, Super Loud Safety Whistle with Lanyard, Ideal for Kayaking, Boating, Swimming, Water Survival, Hiking, Camping, Climbing

A whistle is a low cost, potentially highly effective piece of safety equipment. Being able to alert with a loud whistle could come in handy in many dangerous situations.

29. Fenders

Seachoice 79251 Twin Eye Ribbed Fender Kit - Includes a Pair of MFP Fender Lines, 5-½-Inch x 20-Inch, Black

More of a boat protection item, fenders hang off the boat and prevent the hull from hitting a dock.  I bought 4 of them and I’m glad I did.

30. Air horn

Air Horn for Boating Safety Canned Boat Accessories | Marine Grade Airhorn Can and Blow Horn - 1.4oz

If you really need to make some noise, nothing will do so quite like an air horn. Another good safety item to have onboard.

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31. Flashlight (waterproof)

Dorcy 55 Lumen Floating Waterproof LED Flashlight with Carabineer Clip Dorcy, Purple (41-2508)

Flashlights not only help you see, they can serve so that other boats can see you.  Once agian, low cost with a very high safety effectiveness.  I’ll probably outfit our boat with two high-quality flashlights. Currently, we have one.

32. Fire extinguisher

FIRST ALERT 1039894 Marine Fire Extinguisher, 14", White

In our jurisdiction, a fire extinguisher is required.  I have one.  I hope to never have to use it but they can save lives.  The number of fire extinguishers you need depends on how big your boat is and whether it has many separate rooms below.  Each distinct room should have a fire extinguisher.

33. VHF radio

Standard Horizon GX1400GB VHF,Black,Small

Channel 16 is where it’s at. That’s the emergency channel on a VHF. I learned that in my boating course. VHF is more reliable than cell phones so I decided to buy one for our boat.  Again, I hope to never have to use it but if in a jam it could save lives.

34. Manual bailer

Bilge Pump Manual Water Pump for Boats | Hand Pumps Siphon Boat

You could opt for a manual pump like this or a simple bucket to scoop water or both.  We are required to have some form of manual bailer on board to get water out if it’s coming in and not getting pumped out.

35. Boat hook

EVERSPROUT 5-to-13 Foot Telescoping Boat Hook | Floats, Scratch-Resistant, Sturdy Design | Durable & Lightweight, 3-Stage Anodized Aluminum Pole | Threaded End for Boating Accessories (13 Feet)

This could very well be one of the most useful items I bought.  It’s helped me dock numerous times.  Once fairly close, someone can easily hook onto the dock and pull the boat in.  It’s a must-have boating accessory IMO.

36. Floating keychain

Graphics and More Personalized Custom 1 Line Police Thin Blue Line Floating Keychain Oval Foam Fishing Boat Buoy Key Float

So simple, yet could make a huge difference.  If you drop your key overboard, you’re stuck. Bust out the paddles.  That’s no fun.  If your keys are floating, you have a fighting chance to find them.

37. Floating gear bag


Vitchelo 30L Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack - Floating Storage Bag - Waterproof Phone Case for Travel, Hiking, Boating, Kayaking, Camping & Beach - 100% Tear-Free Lightweight Lifetime Kayak Bag

The above takes a waterproof bag to another level. This one floats with gear inside.  That could be important.  You could store survival items in it and in the event the boat capsizes or sinks, this floating bag just might make it shore with you and prove helpful.

38. Waterproof lighter

Torch Lighter Butane Lighter Waterproof Windproof Lighter Mens Gifts Lighter for Candle Camping Family Use (Without Butane) (Black)

You never know when you’ll need fire so having a waterproof lighter on board is a really good idea.

39. Paddles

SeaSense Paddle Boat Hook Telescoping , Black

This particular paddle is interesting because it telescopes.  We bought basic wood paddles.  At the end of the day, paddles are important.  Since we have a kicker motor (second small motor) paddles aren’t necessary but the thing is, we could run out of gas in which case neither motor works.  I feel better with paddles.

40. Jerry Can (filled with fuel)

Wavian USA JC0020RVS Red Authentic NATO Jerry Fuel Can and Spout System (20 Liter)

It’s always good to have a jerry can filled with fuel as an emergency fuel reserve just in case your boat runs out of gas.  Boat fuel dials are not terribly accurage; as a boat bobs up and down it’s hard to get a precise reading on the water.

41. Compass

Ritchie Navigation Explorer Compass, Black, 2.75-inch Dial

If you head out on open water it’s always good to have an old school manual compass on your boat.  Even if you rely on electronic compass, they can die for any reason.

42. Knife

Pocket Folding Knife, Gifts for Men Dad Husband, Hunting Fishing Survival Hiking EDC Knife for Women, Camping Accessories, Unique Anniversary Birthday Gift Ideas for Him Boyfriend, Cool Gadgets

It’s a really good idea to have a good hunting/fishing knife aboard your boat. You never known when you’ll need to cut a line or need to cut something to get out of a jam or rig something.

That’s it and it’s a lot.

Obviously, you don’t need everything in this list. I don’t plan to buy everything but I think I’ll get quite a bit of it.  Not tomorrow or the next day but come boating season I’m hoping to have the boat very well provisioned with both fun and safety accessories.