The Best Boating Accessories for 2018

Find the best boating accessories for your vessel

This year’s boating season is upon us, which means you really need to be thinking about what boating accessories you need and want to optimize your time on the water. Boat accessories ramp up the fun and comfort you can enjoy on your boat.  Some boat accessories can even increase the value of your boat or make your boat for hire more attractive to those looking to rent.

The type of boating accessories you plan to buy will be heavily influenced by the type of boat you have and connected to the water sports you want to engage in. Perhaps you like fishing, skiing or towing, wakeboarding, or just cruising for spots to picnic and swim and sight seeing. Your choice could also be influenced by an accessory you used on someone else’s boat or a boat that you rented.

Fabulous Boat Accessories For Fisherman

Sports Fisherman are a rare breed. You get up before dawn to get down to the dock and get out on the open ocean, set up your fishing station, and wait patiently for that big swordfish, grouper, marlin or tuna to take the bait. Whether you plan to fish for your own pleasure or you rent out your boat for fishing charters, there are a number of great accessories for your boat that can help you and your guests land that big catch.

Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N

The Humminbird Helix is a combination GPS and Sonar that has a 7” wide screen, 256-color display, and allows side imaging, down imaging and Dual beam plus. It is capable of imaging depths at 100 ft. (SI) and includes a GPS Receiver, GPS tracking and GPS chart plotting. As an added bonus, it has built in Bluetooth and Autochart live mapping capability. This is everything a fisherman could want to locate and track the big fish and get your bearings. It carries a 1-year Manufacturer’s warranty and runs approximately $800.

Scotty Bait Board

The Scotty Bait Board is an excellent work board with a built-in lure rack.

Everything you need to prepare your hooks, cut bait, keep tools safe, organized and readily available, is included. The Bait Board has a universal post base that will fit most Rod holder mounts and the Board can be adjusted beyond its standard height or angle by adding on Scotty Gear Head Mount extenders. Available from Paddlers Cove, the Scotty Bait Board is a nifty, affordable accessory to keep everything organized and make your fishing prep time easy and safe. It carries a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty and runs about $35.

Awesome Boat Accessories for Active Watersports

Some Boat enthusiasts are content to cruise on the water and chill out; others seek out the thrill of water skiing, wakeboarding or paddle boarding.  Check out these accessories to get more action out of your watersports from your ski and wakeboard boat.

Wakesurf Shaper Eight.3 Blade 138 Suction Cup

The wakesurfer shaper mounts onto the back of your boat at the water line via strong suction cups to create a wide, long wake to get more out of a wave for the ultimate in wakeboard action. The performance is 100% guarantee by RONIXCO. It runs about $400.00.

Roswell Marine Triton Strapless Board Rack 

The Triton Board Rack keeps your wakeboards securely in place using telescopic adjustable arms rather than straps and is designed to hold up to 2 wakeboards outside the boat so no wet drippings get into the boat. It is lined with 10mm closed cell foam to protect the board finish. It is compatible with most wake towers and runs about $1329.00.

Airhead AHSR-5 Ski Rope

This ski rope is perfect for all towable watersports. The floatable handle has a textured, comfortable grip with solid end caps to protect fingers and lessen fatigue. This ski rope is a durable 16-strand ski rope that unwinds up to 75 ft. and can hold up to 1500 lbs. It runs about $22.

Creative Boat Accessories for Pontoon Boats

There is no better way to cruise around the water than on a laid back pontoon boat that can be outfitted for fishing, swimming or just relaxing on the deck. Add some great accessories and you can dine and splash around to your heart’s content on your boating excursion.

Cuisinart Grill

This BBQ grill is modified to mount on the rails of a boat with easy to install marine grade stainless steel brackets. The grill has a large 14 sq. inches of cooking space, stainless steel burner, drip tray, and push button igniter. The lid locks in place, and a mount for a propane tank is in the back. Everything you need to install the grill and start cooking is included. It runs about $180.

Lillipad Diving Board

Pontoon Boats are made for swimming and diving. This diving board is easily installed on boats up to 18 feet long and can hold up to 250 lbs in weight. Constructed of durable heavy-duty aluminum and stainless steel with urethane springs, it doesn’t add stress to the boat. The Lillipad diving board runs about $1300.

EEZ-IN Outboard Transom Platform With Two Step Telescoping Ladder

Make it easy for people to come on board the boat after a swim in the water with this two-step retractable ladder that leads to a durable stable platform with handrail. It can be mounted on either side of the pontoon boat’s motor and runs about $240.

Outside of what comes as standard equipment and built-in conveniences that come with your boat when you purchase it, you will also want to stock up on the boating essentials for personal safety, navigation, protection from the elements, and damage protection for your boat.

Safety Accessories

Fire Extinguishers. A Boat fire is one of the most destructive dangers a boater faces while on the water. The Coast Guard requires that you carry a fire extinguisher on board that is capable of putting out fuel, grease, oil and electrical fires.  One of the best is the Kidde Mariner 110 Fire Extinguisher .

This fire extinguisher can handle multiple classes of fires (Class A, B & C) and has a readily viewable gauge to tell you the charge status.

It is made of lightweight aluminum with a rust and impact resistant steel handle, carries a 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, and runs about $40.

Lifejackets. Drowning is a big risk when you are out on the water, so everyone in the boat should be wearing a lifejacket.

Stearns First Mate Flotation Life Jacket

Stearns Adult First Mate Flotation Life Jacket is Coast Guard approved and made of comfortable, durable nylon and PE floatation foam. It’s a good general-purpose life jacket with a durable zipper and adjustable side tabs for a comfortable fit. It comes equipped with 4 pockets for securing valuables and 2 D-rings to attach accessories. This life jacket is great for action watersports and runs between $60-90.

Distress Signal Aids. If you are on the water and your engine stops or you run into something that disables your boat, you want to be sure you have some type of visual signal aid that will alert search teams to your position.

Weems & Plath SOS Distress Light & Flag

Instead of relying on a 3-minute pyrotechnic flare, this distress light is buoyant, lasts for hours, is visible up to 10 nautical miles and is visible to aircraft flying overhead. The SOS signal is flashed through a powerful LED bulb powered by 3 C batteries in a waterproof chamber. It is Coast Guard approved and runs about $100. 

Navigation Aids

GPS & Sonar

Boating has come a long way from the days of using paper maps, charts or the stars to navigate your way to an island or other fascinating place on the river, lake or ocean. GPS, sonar or satellite-based navigation systems can provide accurate navigation to locations, come with electronic charts,  and provide warnings when you are off course or nearing your destination.

Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro Sonar

Raymarine’s Dragonfly is a superior GPS with a dual-channel sonar system that includes a CHIRP down vison sonar and conventional sonar for both photo images and fish finding. It is able to reach depths of 600-900 feet. It sports a 4.3” screen with high-def LED backlight that is easily readable with sharp color images. Wi-Fi capability allows you to share sonar findings to your smartphone. It comes preloaded with U.S. lakes, rivers and coastal maps and runs about $300.

Ritchie F-50 Explorer Compass

Technology is awesome with all of the multiple features and abilities it provides, however if the boat battery dies so does the technology. You still need a reliable method of finding your way back home, so having a compass on board is essential. The Ritchie F-50 Explorer Compass is easily mounted to your boat and has an easily readable dial that illuminates at night. This compass automatically compensates for any movement and has a hard steel pivot dial movement with powerful magnets that provide true to course direction quickly. It is able to withstand high temperatures due to its composite construction. It carries a 5-year manufacturer warranty and runs around $50.

Boat Tops and Canvases

When you are out on the water for the day with the sun beating down on your boat, you want to have some protection from the damaging effects of the sun. One of the best sun protectors is a Bimini top for your boat.

MSC4 Bow Bimini Boat Top Cover

This Bimini boat top is constructed of an anti-rust, durable 1” aluminum frame with a 600D polyester canvas that is double PU marine grade coated. It boasts reinforced for and aft support poles and a storage boot for a secure assembly. It comes ready to install with all the necessary hardware.  The MSC4 Bow Bimini Boat Top Cover is available in 4 different sizes and colors and runs about $190.

Boat Fenders & Dock lines

Every boat owner needs boat fenders to protect your boat’s finish from chafing against the dock and a secure dock lines to keep it from drifting away. 

Mission Sentry Boat Fenders

These boat fenders are very different than the fenders most boaters are used to. They are wider and longer offering boat protection above and below the water line at the rail where the boat meets the dock. They easily attach to boat cleats with a built in strap, so no tying of knots is necessary. It has a locking mechanism that keeps the fender securely in place. It is constructed of extra tough closed cell foam that is waterproof and fadeproof.  They run about $64.00.   

Airhead Bungee lines

This is not your average dock line because it is actually a bungee cord inside a rope with two foam floats at either end to protect the boat from chaffing against the dock. You won’t need to tie off with knots as this line has built in loops at either end that fit over the dock cleats and are tightened with an adjustable slide at both ends. It has a tensile strength of 2,150 pounds and can stretch 9 feet. It can handle up to a 4,000-pound boat and is nicely affordable at $15.

With this year’s recommended boating accessories, you’ll be all set for fun, comfort and safety on your boating adventures. If you are a boat captain for hire, many of these boat accessories will make your boat that much more appealing to would-be renters.

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