It’s always a pleasure to take to the open water, no matter the size of your vessel. But before we get out there, let’s make sure we’ve got all the must-have boat accessories.
In this blog, we’ll explore 15 must haves for your boat, so keep reading if you're looking for accessories to make your voyage more comfortable.
A fire extinguisher
A fire extinguisher is one of the most important pieces of equipment to have on board. Fire is an ever-present danger on a boat, primarily due to the presence of fuel, electricity, and combustible materials. Furthermore, most states and municipalities require a fire extinguisher as part of boat safety regulations.
A life jacket for each person on board
If a person falls overboard or the boat capsizes, a life jacket will help keep them afloat until they can be rescued. Life jackets also protect against hypothermia in cold water, which can be life-threatening in minutes. In addition, wearing a life jacket can help make a person more visible in the water, increasing their chances of being spotted by a rescuer.
Most marine binoculars feature a built-in compass which is invaluable when navigating the waters, allowing you to easily determine your position, direction, and speed. Additionally, marine binoculars can help you identify other vessels in the area and their size, course, speed, and flag, which can be very useful in a tight situation. Moreover, marine binoculars can be used to spot potential hazards such as rocks, shoals, sandbanks, and reefs. They can also help you find landmarks and beacons that can be used to assess your position and guide you to safety.
A working VHF marine radio
A VHF handheld marine radio allows for boat-to-boat communication, as well as communication with boat-to-shore radio stations. Therefore, it can be used to call for help in an emergency, to check up on the weather, and to check in with the coast guard.
Handheld distress flares
Marine handheld distress flares are visible from a great distance and can last for over 30 seconds, allowing for a much more widespread signal of distress. They are also incredibly easy to use and can be activated in just a few seconds. Additionally, they are waterproof and can be relied upon to work even in extremely wet conditions. This makes them a must-have boat accessory for signaling an emergency.
The primary purpose of dock lines is to keep the boat secure while it's docked. They connect the boat to the dock and can be adjusted to compensate for changes in the tide, wind, and waves. Dock lines also help protect the boat from potential damage caused by floating debris, such as logs or other boats. They can also be used to moor the boat in shallow water.
Fenders provide an extra layer of protection for your boat when docking, mooring, or anchoring near other vessels or a pier. These buoyant cushions absorb the impact of the boat and keep it from bouncing off the dock or other boat, which can cause scratches, dents, and further damage.
Primarily, a horn or whistle is a safety measure, providing the boater with a means of alerting other vessels of its presence. If boats are approaching one another too closely, a horn or whistle can help them keep a safe distance. Additionally, a horn or whistle can be used to signal distress or to ask for assistance. It is also a useful tool for signaling to other boats in the vicinity that it is time to leave a certain area.
A strobe light or torch
A strobe light or torch is a great way to navigate the waters and stay safe, even at night. In the event of an emergency, the strobe light or torch can be used to signal for help or to attract attention. It can also be used to spotlight potential obstacles or hazards. Additionally, it can help other vessels identify your boat, which is especially important in foggy or low-visibility conditions.
A chart of the area
A chart helps you to identify the different bodies of water, coastlines, and other obstacles that may be encountered while out on the boat. It also identifies essential areas such as fishing spots, mooring locations, and other areas of interest. Knowing these locations is critical for safe and efficient boat navigation.
Compasses are the traditional navigational tool, providing a reliable means of determining the direction and keeping track of your position. GPS systems, on the other hand, provide a more accurate and reliable way of measuring direction and track position. In addition to aiding in navigation, a GPS system can help you locate nearby points of interest, such as nearby islands or marinas. This kind of information can be invaluable when you're out on the open water.
A first aid kit on board is a must-have for any boat, regardless of size or destination. Having a first aid kit on board can make all the difference in an emergency situation, so it's crucial to ensure it's stocked and accessible. A good first aid kit should include the following items:
- Items to treat minor injuries, such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze, and tape.
- Items to treat larger injuries, such as a tourniquet, tweezers, and scissors.
- Emergency items, such as a flashlight, whistle, and a first aid manual.
- Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, antacids, antihistamines, and antidiarrheal.
- Items specific to the needs of your crew, such as sunscreen, bug spray, and prescription medications.
Marine grade battery
A marine grade battery is an essential accessory for any boat, as it is designed to stand up to the harsh elements and provide reliable power. A boat needs both cranking and deep cycle batteries to meet its power needs. Cranking batteries supply instantaneous power to start the engine. Deep cycle batteries provide a consistent source of power for long-term tasks, such as running navigation systems, running a trolling motor and powering boat sound system.
Repair tool kit
A repair tool kit provides the tools you need to repair any potential damage to your boat, but they also come in handy for other maintenance jobs. Here are a few essential items that should be included in any boat repair tool kit:
- A set of wrenches and pliers
- A hammer and screwdrivers
- Spare nuts and bolts.
- Sealant and waterproof tape
- Line and string
- Spare bulbs, fuses, and belts
- Thread locking fluid
Boat registration or license
A valid license or boat registration is compulsory for most states and countries. This means that if you are caught operating your boat without the proper documents, you could face hefty fines or other penalties. Also, they come in handy when applying for mooring permits.
What can I not take on a boat?
It is not recommended to take flammable or combustible materials, such as gasoline, propane, and oil, on a boat. Additionally, messy snacks, plastic bags and glass bottles should be left behind. Lastly, firearms and other weapons are generally prohibited on boats.
What should I bring on my boat at night?
It is important to bring the necessary safety equipment when boating at night. This includes items such as a life jacket, a flashlight, a whistle, a VHF radio, a flare gun, and a signal mirror. Additionally, you should have a chart of your local waters, a GPS device, and a first-aid kit.
Do I need special boat accessories for saltwater boating?
Yes, you may need special boat accessories for saltwater boating, depending on your vessel's specific needs. Accessories such as corrosion-resistant fittings, marine-grade electrical systems, and specialized fuel systems may be necessary for a safe and successful saltwater boating experience.
Owning a boat can provide plenty of fun, but it also requires being prepared and having the right supplies on-hand. With these 15 must-have boat accessories, you'll be able to get the most out of your time on the water.
From essential safety gear like life vests and fire extinguishers, to convenient items like navigation charts and GPS, these items should be staples of any boat owner's arsenal. So, ready to make a splash? Get yourself the gear you need and start cruising the waterways.
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