Boat Accessories: The Ultimate Guide to Outfitting Your Boat

When you own a boat, you're no longer just a part of the scenery; you become part of the action. Owning a boat can be incredibly thrilling and incredibly rewarding, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. From safety items to navigation gear to fun and stylish additions, when you own a boat you’ll have to purchase plenty of boat accessories to suit your needs.

If you're feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, don't worry! This blog post will provide the ultimate guide to outfitting your boat.

We'll go over the different categories of boat accessories and the best tips for choosing them, as well as how to install them and wire them to the battery. Plus, we'll discuss who sells the best boat accessories and what the best battery is for powering all your boat accessories.

In the end, you'll have all the information you need to choose and install your favorite boat accessories safely and with confide

What's the Point of Boat Accessories?

Boating is a popular pastime and hobby, however, with all the various boat accessories out there, you may be wondering what purpose they serve and what value they bring to your boating experience. Here’s a breakdown of how boat accessories can enhance your boating experience.

Make Boating Easier

When you’re out on the lake or the ocean, the last thing you need is extra hassle - boat accessories can help make the boating process smoother and easier. Things like boat covers and mooring systems help you protect your boat from the elements and moor it safely overnight. A trolling motor can help you maneuver your boat through the water with ease. Anchors can help secure your boat in one place.

Maximize Comfort and Safety

There are boat accessories designed to maximize your comfort and safety while out on the water. PFDs, or personal flotation devices, are just one example of boat accessories that can keep you safe. Boat seats and padded decking can make your time on the water more comfortable. Additionally, having items such as first aid kits and fire extinguishers on hand can help you be prepared for any potential accidents or emergencies.

Personalize Your Boat

Boat accessories not only help make boating easier, more comfortable, and safer, but they also give your boat a unique, individual look. Fishing tackle, water sports equipment, and decorative items are just a few of the boat accessories you can use to customize your boat and make it stand out.

Whether you’re adding items to maximize ease, comfort, and safety or to customize and personalize your boat, accessories can help make your boat the perfect vessel for you.

Categories of Boat Accessories

Fishing boat accessories

Fishing boat accessories encompass items that enhance the fishing experience, such as fishing rods, trolling motors, coolers, fish finders, and bait. Some anglers may also opt for items such as a live bait tank, fish cleaning table, rod holders, and tackle boxes to optimize their fishing day.

Safety boat accessories

Safety boat accessories are all the items that are essential to keep the boaters safe and secure while they are out on the water. This can include items like life jackets and wetsuits as well as emergency kit supplies such as a flare gun, whistle, flashlights, or a first aid kit. Communication devices such as VHF marine radios are also essential safety items since they can allow you to contact the Coast Guard or other emergency personnel if the need arises.

Navigation and communication accessories

Navigation and communication accessories include items like a GPS system, depth sounders, marine radars, VHF marine radio antennas and transreceivers for both recreational and commercial boaters. They also encompass navigational charts, compasses, and other tools for plotting courses and destination points.

Canopies and Tops

These types of boat accessories refer to any type of shelter or protection you can set up on top of your boat. This could be anything from a Bimini top, a convertible top, a folding top, a cockpit cover, or a mooring cover. Depending on what type of boat you have, a canopy or top can provide protection from the sun, wind, rain, and any other elements that could be experienced out at sea.

Seats and Benches

Seats and benches are a must-have accessory for any boat, providing a comfortable place to sit or relax while boating. Popular options like captain’s chairs and jump seats offer optimal comfort and style. Other seat and bench accessories, like fighting chairs and stern seats, offer extra convenience.

Entertainment boat accessories

This category of boat accessories covers items related to fun and entertainment. Examples include stereo systems, grills, coolers, and game tables. Entertainment boat accessories are important for making the most of your time away from the dock.

Trolling motor accessories

Trolling motor accessories encompass items necessary to ensure a smooth and successful trolling motor experience on your boat. These items may include a trolling motor mount, thrust washers and bushings, a trolling motor lock, adjustable shaft extensions, propellers, weedless wedges, trolling motor batteries, power cords, and foot pedals. These items are designed to provide the operators of trolling motor boats with the utmost safety and control when operating the trolling motor.

Lighting accessories

Lighting accessories are essential for navigating in waters and providing visibility to the passengers of the boat. These must-have items include navigation boat lights to make the boat more visible to other vessels, underwater boat lights to better spot fish, LED flood lights that improve overall visibility, and colored lens systems allowing changing lighting colors with ease.

Mooring, docking and anchoring accessories

Mooring, docking, and anchoring accessories are crucial for keeping a boat secure when it’s not in use. These items may include mooring cleats, mooring buoys, boat fenders, boat bumpers, dock lines, anchors and other related items. These pieces of equipment ensure a safe, stable mooring, docking or anchoring so your boat won’t drift away or become a hazard.

Boat gauges and signal senders

This category of boat accessories encompasses all of the gadgets and tools to help take your boating experience from average to extraordinary. Boating gauges and signal senders provide useful feedback on the state of your boat, allowing you to make sure you've equipped the optimal setting for any conditions.

Examples of boat gauges and signal senders include: water pressure gauges, tank level sensors, oil pressure gauges, engine hour meters, gas gauges, trim gauges, speedometers, multi gauges, and temperature senders.

Maintenance and Repair Accessories

These are all the items and tools needed to perform necessary repairs and maintain your boat in good conditions, such as pumps, spark plugs, kits, hoses and oil filters. Additionally, items to clean your boat like marine cleaners, cloths and brushes, and lubricants fall under this category.

Storage and Organization Accessories

From tackle boxes and fishing seats to rail-mounted rod holders, these accessories help you keep your boat organized and safe. Other items under this category may include drink holders, coolers, bulkheads, deck organizers and tubs for organization.

Paint, Finishing, and Decorative Accessories

This category of boat accessories includes elements to make your boat look beautiful such as decorative boat flags and banners, hull graphics, custom carpets, and specialty paints and coatings. All these items will help give your boat a unique, stylish look that you can proudly show off others out on the water.

Looking for gift ideas for boaters? Check out our previous post on the topic.

Best Tips for Choosing Boat Accessories

If you're in the market for boat accessories for your vessel, there are some key considerations to make. To help you out, we've put together a list of the best tips for choosing boat accessories.

Know your boat

The first step should be to assess your boat and its needs. This includes reviewing the type of boat and its size, since accessories vary in terms of compatibility for various vessel sizes and types. Knowing the size and type of your boat is essential to narrowing down your choices.

Gather Necessary Information

Read reviews of the product you're considering in order to get an honest view of its performance. It's also a good idea to research installation information, as well as how to properly maintain the boat accessory after purchase.

Opt for Quality

When it comes to boat accessories, you get what you pay for. Don't skimp on the cost when selecting accessories for your boat- quality costs. Always look for features such as corrosion-resistant materials to ensure your product will last for many years. Additionally, make sure the boat accessory is backed by a good warranty.

Choose the Right Style

When shopping for boat accessories, there are lots of styles to choose from. Ensure the accessory you purchase is the right style to match your vessel and décor. For instance, if your boat has a modern, sleek look, opt for accessories that echo that.

DIY or Professional

If you're a bit of a handyman, purchasing boat accessories that are easy to install and can be done with minimal tools is a great option. Look for accessories designed for DIY installation, so you can do it yourself. If you're not confident in your DIY skills, a professional installer is the better route to take.

With these tips as a guide, choosing the perfect boat accessories should be easier.

How to Install Boat Accessories

Whether you've bought new equipment to upgrade your boat's performance or want to add a feature that makes your boat more comfortable and fun, proper installation is essential to ensure you're working safely and efficiently. Follow these general installation steps to get the job done!

Tools & Supplies

Before you get started, gather all the supplies you'll need. This most likely includes screwdrivers, drill, wrench and any necessary parts.

Prepping the Area

The next step is to prep the area, which includes clearing out all necessary items from the area for an easier installation. This can include switching up the seating arrangements and taking out any furniture if necessary.

Marking & Drilling

To make the installation process run more smoothly, take the time to carefully mark and measure the places you need to drill or make holes for the new accessories. Don't forget to double and triple check your measurements for a precise fit.

Secure & Test

Once you have all of your holes marked and the necessary holes drilled, it's time to secure the accessories. With all the holes securely drilled and the parts in place and the battery connected, make sure to run a few tests to ensure that everything is properly tightened and that it won't come loose while you're out on the water.

Whether you bought new navigation tools or improved your seating - you now get to use them. So go ahead and take your boat out for a spin and experience the new and improved features you installed!

Tip: With the use of Network technologies such as NMEA 2000, connecting boat accessories can be done quickly and easily. Check out our detailed guide about this boat network technology here.

Who Sells the Best Boat Accessories?

There is a range of boat accessories available these days, from the latest and greatest safety gear, fishing equipment, and so much more. But who sells the best boat accessories? Let’s explore the options to find out.

Online Retailers

For boat owners who are looking for a wide selection of parts and accessories, online retailers are the way to go. By shopping online, you can take advantage of competitive prices and a wide selection of boat accessories from top brands. Plus, if you need to replace a boat part it's fast and easy to shop for replacements, no matter what type of boat you own. Explore Themarineking to see our quality and affordable collection of boat accessories.

Local Stores Near You

If you'd like to support local businesses and get personalized service, you should consider visiting a marina or boat shop. These businesses often employ boat owners who are happy to share the best advice on all things boating related. Not to mention, you can find good deals on brands that are only sold and serviced by these local vendors.

Online Marketplace

When in need of a specific boat accessory, there are great options for finding one-of-a-kind items through online communities and auction sites. There's also the opportunity to find used items at a reduced cost. Just be sure to thoroughly inspect any used item before purchasing it.

Best Battery for Boat Accessories

For boaters, selecting the right battery for boat accessories is just as important as the boat itself. Here's what you need to know when choosing a battery for your boat accessories.

Battery type

Deep cycle boat batteries are best for these accessories as they deliver more power and can last a long time. They are designed to provide a steady supply of power over a long period of time and therefore, they can power multiple accessories without needing to be recharged often.

Size of Battery

When it comes to selecting the right battery for boat accessories, the size of the battery is important. You need to make sure that your battery will provide enough power to keep the accessories functioning while at sea. If you are using multiple accessories, the battery size needs to be sufficient to power them all. In most cases, you'll need at least one 12V battery for powering a standard boat's accessories.

Battery charger

When selecting a battery for boat accessories, don't forget chargers as you will need them to recharge the battery. 3-bank battery chargers are great for marine applications as they can charge multiple batteries at once. However, you should still double-check the specifications of your battery to make sure the charger you’re investing in is suitable for the size and type of battery.

Maintenance

Maintenance is also a key factor when considering a battery for boat accessories. A deep cycle marine battery should be drained by about 50% for best results, and you should avoid overcharging, as this will result in a shorter battery life. Additionally, you should ensure that your battery is free from dirt and dust, and that the terminals remain clean.

How Do I Wire My Boat Accessories to the Battery?

Trying to figure out how to wire all of your boat accessories to the battery can be challenging, but we’re here to help you out. Below is a step by step guide to help you get the job done quickly and easily:

  1. First, you need to identify which accessories you will be wiring to the battery. Make a list of these items so you can easily reference it as you work.
  1. Next, you need to determine where you will be mounting the battery. It is important to choose a location that is easily accessible and will not be in the way of other boating equipment.
  1. Once you have chosen a location for the battery, you need to install the necessary brackets or clamps to secure it in place.
  1. Now you can begin to wire the accessories to the battery. Start by connecting the positive (red) terminal of the battery to the positive terminal of the first accessory.
  1. Then, connect the negative (black) terminal of the battery to the negative terminal of the first accessory.
  1. Repeat this process for each additional accessory you are wiring to the battery. You can use zip ties or a battery wire connector to keep all the connections nice and organized.
  1. Once all of the accessories are wired, you can now install the battery cover and secure it in place.
  1. That's it! You've successfully wired your boat accessories to the battery.

Where Do I Ground Accessories on a Boat?

It’s essential that accessories are properly grounded, so that they are safe to use and to protect other items and people from electric shock. But where exactly do you ground your boat accessories? Here are some tips to help you get it right.

Grounding to the Engine Block

The simplest and most effective way to ground accessories on a boat is to attach them to the engine block. This prevents any stray or buildup of electricity from getting into the electrics of the engine. Ensure you use a dedicated anchor point on the engine and then fit the appropriate size cable in order to make the connection. You should also use marine-grade connectors to ensure a robust electrical connection.

Using a Negative Bus Bar

Another great way to ground boat accessories is to attach them to a negative bus bar. This will provide a dedicated anchor point to ground the accessories. This can be done using the same types of marine-grade connectors mentioned above. It’s important to ensure that the negative bus bar is securely attached to the boat so it won’t come loose while you’re out on the water.

Ground Accessories through the Hull

Finally, you can also ground boat accessories to the hull with special plates. These plates create a solid contact point between the accessory and the hull, providing a reliable ground. Make sure to angle the plate toward the accessory so that the cable doesn’t kink or bend when being attached.

FAQs

What is the best gauge wire for boat accessories?

The best gauge wire for boat accessories is usually 14-gauge stranded wire, although the exact type of wire to use will depend on the application. For wiring lights and other low-power accessories, 16-gauge stranded wire can be used.

What size fuse for boat accessories?

The size of the fuse for boat accessories will depend on the circuit, wire gauge, and current capacity of the boat to be operated on. As a general guideline, use the maximum fuse size specified by the manufacturer of the boat accessories

Why are boat accessories painted black?

Boat accessories are usually painted black to help prevent corrosion from the salty water. The black paint also helps to reduce glare from the sun, reducing eye strain for the boat operator.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, boat accessories are an important part of effectively outfitting your boat and having a safe and enjoyable experience. The kind of boat accessories you invest in will depend on the type of boat you have, your personal needs and which boat accessories best support your needs.

Follow our tips before purchasing any boat accessory, and always consider where to ground your accessories and plan the installation process beforehand. Additionally, make sure to invest in a good quality battery for your boat accessories and read up on how to properly wire it.

With these points in mind, you can ensure that your boat is set up to your specifications with the right accessories and provide you with many beautiful days on the waves.

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