Best Boat Accessories You Should Have in Your Boat

STAINLESS-STEEL-REPAIRS

In this article, we will talk about the best boat accessories you should have in your boat. We will also explain what they are and why you should have these marine supplies in your boat.

To start, we will list what boat accessories are a must-have according to Victoria’s State Law. These items are compulsory for powerboats navigating in Victoria’s waters.

Note* Legislation may vary according to boat type and location you are boating.

Must have Boat Accessories in your boat

Coastal Offshore

(more than 2 nautical miles from coast)
Coastal Offshore Accessories
  • Lifejacket(per person onboard/towed)
  • 1x Approved fire extinguisher
  • 1x Waterproof buoyant torch
  • 1x Anchor and chain or line or both
  • 1x Bailer(if no electric or manual bilge pumping system)
  • 1x Bucket with lanyard(can also double as a bailer)
  • 1x Electric or manual bilge pumping system(if the vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments other than airtight void spaces)
  • 1x Pair of oars with rowlocks or pair of paddles(if the vessel is up to and including 4.8m)
  • 2x Handheld orange smoke signals
  • 2x Handheld red distress flares
  • 1x Lifebuoy(if the vessel is more than 8m but less than 12m in length)
  • 2x Lifebuoy(if the vessel is more than 12m in length)
  • 1x Dinghy or liferaft(if the vessel is more than 12m in length)
  • 1x Compass
  • 1x VHFMarine radio (DSC optional but recommended)
  • 1x Red star parachute distress rocket
  • 1x Registered EPIRB

Coastal Inshore

(less than 2 nautical miles from coast)
Coastal Inshore Accessories
  • Lifejacket(per person onboard/towed)
  • 1x Approved fire extinguisher
  • 1x Waterproof buoyant torch
  • 1x Anchor and chain or line or both
  • 1x Bailer(if no electric or manual bilge pumping system)
  • 1x Bucket with lanyard(can also double as a bailer)
  • 1x Electric or manual bilge pumping system(if the vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments other than airtight void spaces)
  • 1x Pair of oars with rowlocks or pair of paddles(if the vessel is up to and including 4.8m)
  • 2x Handheld orange smoke signals
  • 2x Handheld red distress flares
  • 1x VHFMarine radio (DSC optional but recommended)
  • 1x Lifebuoy(if the vessel is more than 8m but less than 12m in length)
  • 2x Lifebuoy(if the vessel is more than 12m in length)
  • 1x Dinghy or liferaft(if the vessel is more than 12m in length)

Enclosed

(bays and estuaries)
Enclosed Accessories
  • Lifejacket(per person onboard/towed)
  • 1x Approved fire extinguisher
  • 1x Waterproof buoyant torch
  • 1x Anchor and chain or line or both
  • 1x Bailer(if no electric or manual bilge pumping system)
  • 1x Bucket with lanyard(can also double as a bailer)
  • 1x Electric or manual bilge pumping system(if the vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments other than airtight void spaces)
  • 1x Pair of oars with rowlocks or pair of paddles(if the vessel is up to and including 4.8m)
  • 2x Handheld orange smoke signals
  • 2x Handheld red distress flares
  • 1x VHFMarine radio (DSC optional but recommended)
  • 1x Lifebuoy(if the vessel is more than 8m but less than 12m in length)
  • 2x Lifebuoy(if the vessel is more than 12m in length)

 Inland

(rivers, lakes and dams)
Inland Accessories
  • Lifejacket (per person onboard/towed)
  • 1x Approved fire extinguisher
  • 1x Waterproof buoyant torch
  • 1x Bailer (if no electric or manual bilge pumping system)
  • 1x Bucket with lanyard(can also double as a bailer)
  • 1x Electric or manual bilge pumping system(if the vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments other than airtight void spaces)
  • 1x Pair of oars with rowlocks or pair of paddles(if the vessel is up to and including 4.8m)
  • 1x VHFMarine radio (DSC optional but recommended)
  • 1x Lifebuoy(if the vessel is more than 8m but less than 12m in length)
  • 2x Lifebuoy(if the vessel is more than 12m in length)

If you are already equipped with the mandatory safety devices mentioned above, it’s time to go a bit deeper into the boat accessories world. That’s when the fun starts.  Most of those boat accessories will increase your performance on the water and make your life a lot easier when boating.

Should have Boat Accessories in your boat

1. Chartplotter or Paper charts

The chartplotter or paper charts are similar to a terrain map, providing water depth, locations of dangers in the route, locations and characteristics of aids to navigation, anchorages, and other features. The nautical chart is essential for safe navigation. Mariners use paper charts/chartplotters to plan voyages and navigate safely and economically.

Paper charts or chartplotter are not mandatory on a boat but most boaters have one themselves and would argue it should be a compulsory item. The main function of a chartplotter is to assist the skipper to plot and follow a course. In other words, the chartplotter is the one thing that can ensure when you head home from the sea that you are heading the best and safest direction. Choose wisely and don’t skimp on this life-preserving boating system.

2. Fish Finder

Fish Finder is an instrument used to locate fish underwater by detecting reflected pulses of sound energy, as in sonar. It can tell you how many fish are out there and their size. It can also tell you a lot about the spot where you are fishing, it determines the depth of the water and temperature.

In operation, an electrical impulse from a transmitter is converted into a sound wave by an underwater transducer and sends sound waves into the ocean floor. When the wave strikes something such as a fish, it is reflected back and displays the size, composition, and shape of the object.

Newer fish finders have integrated GPS navigation, marine radar, and compasses. These not only help you find fish, but they also help you find your way. So, they’re a great tool for low visibility below and above water. The GPS integration also allows you to have an overview of the area and mark spots, so you can come back.

If you are a fisherman this accessory will change the way you catch fish.

3. Anchor Winch

anchor-winch-installed-on-boat

Anchor winches are a great investment no matter what size boat you own. The anchor winch is a machine that restrains and manipulates the anchor chain on a boat, allowing the anchor to be raised and lowered.

Winches come in different types such as electrical winches, mechanical drum-style winches, mechanical capstan-style winches, hydraulic winches etc.. Depending on the winch design, the chain’s weight and anchor set up, the performance of your anchor system can be greatly affected. When purchasing a Winch for your boat keep in mind the size, utility, placement and if possible seek professional advice.

4. Autopilot

Autopilot is an electronic self-steering system which is able to control the direction of your boat but not the speed. Most autopilot systems are connected to a chartplotter or GPS and can steer the boat to a waypoint or to a route determined by you. 

This boat supply does a great job of holding a steady course in light to moderate conditions with minimal helm movements. Autopilots are a nice way to control your vessel whilst working on the back deck fishing or relaxing a bit more on a long journey. 

Fun fact: Travelling with a destination with autopilot will reduce gas/petrol consumption.

Safety tip: The installation of a marine radar to your boat is highly recommended for safety purposes. If any potential collision hazards appear in front of the vessel this marine accessory will detect it and will alert you of the danger well before a collision occurs. 

5. Dual Battery and VSR System

Boats often have two different batteries, the first one is the Starting Battery which supplies lots of current for a short period of time, but has to be recharged almost immediately and are not tolerant of deep discharges. And the second one is the deep-cycle battery which can endure repeated deep discharging and recharging without damage.

The dual battery has lower storage capacity than comparably-sized deep cycles, and it is recommended for boats with two identical batteries used interchangeably for starting and house electrical loads. Dual-purpose batteries work well in some applications and are a good compromise because they tolerate deep discharges that would ruin a typical starting battery.

The primary reason to use two batteries is to have the ability to hold one in reserve in case of difficulties on the water.

6. Waterproof Sound System with Bluetooth

Listen to the radio wherever you go, It can be mounted anywhere, USB, smartphone and Bluetooth capabilities.
Whether you’re heading out fishing or just having a cruise, a marine stereo system with a built-in AM/FM radio tuner, you will be able to keep track of the conditions while also having the option to listen to your favourite stations.
{Weatherband is a USA only feature – standard AM/FM radio stations do offer weather information but not consistently}

7. Underwater lighting

The primary function and purpose of underwater boat light is to provide illumination for the boat while on dock or fishing/sailing. For underwater LED boat lights to work effectively they need to be constructed from durable and waterproof materials that are corrosion resistant.

Tip: there are many substandard products on the water that do not last long once put to test in the harsh saltwater environment with barnacles etc.

Underwater boat lights are capable of illuminating the water below your vessel so fishing and other water activities become more enjoyable. When selecting underwater boat lights for your boat,  always research the best options available and if possible get professional advice on which brand and type of lighting is the best for your specific boating needs.

8. Boatcatch

boat-catch-dismounted-piece

Boatcatch is a patented boat trailer accessory which makes launching and retrieving your boat on the boat ramp quick and easy. After it’s installed, you won’t have to even stand on a ramp ever again. No wet feet and no slipping on muddy, slippery ramps. Best of all, you will also save time and prevent arguments.

Boatcatch increases safety and peace of mind launching your boat. Boatcatch has a heavy-duty pin that locates inside the eye automatically when retrieving and secures the boat upon the trailer.

Some vessels require minor modification to have a correctly installed system. Nautek Marine technicians have the experience to assist the DIY installer with advice or provide a polished installed boatcatch system on your boat.

9. Ballast bag/Fat Sac

Wakeboard Ballast bags/Fat Sacs are inflatable sacks that hold water to create extra weight. In order to build a bigger wake, you need to add additional weight to your boat. An easy and good way to do that is adding ballast bags. 

To maximize your wake, you’ll put most of your ballast toward the rear of the boat, and on one side. These Ballast bags vary in size from the 225-pounds to 750-pound ballast bag. The higher the weight, the bigger your wake. If you are a wakeboarder this accessory is a must-have item. 

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