Having the correct gear and accessories is important for any boat owner. If you’re new to boating you might not know what the must-have boating accessories to get.
We have gathered the best boating accessories for any boat. It doesn’t matter if you have a pontoon, bowrider, or even a cruiser – anyone can benefit from the gear below.
We organized the gear in the level of importance. The gear we think is the most important are first and the gear you can probably do without is at the bottom.
Make sure to follow any state regulations for what you should have on your boat and safety!
Boat Throw Cushions and Boat Life Jackets
Probably the most important accessory to have on anything that floats is life jackets, throw cushions, and flotation safety gear.
Every person on a boat needs a life jacket. The best way to go about this is to buy the packs of life jackets like these (Amazon Link Ad).
A good throw cushion (Amazon Link Ad) is a must-have too. Many states actually require you to have a throw cushion on board.
Boat Towing Membership
If you’re on a lake or even saltwater you can get a local tow boating membership. This is the type of service that can get you out of a pickle.
Trust me, it’s better to be a member of these companies because if you need a tow and you’re not a member it can usually cost an arm and a leg.
Sea-Tow and TowBoatUS are the two I’m more familiar with. It’s best to see if they cover your area or call up your local boat towing company.
You may never use their service, but if you ever do it will be worth every penny. Trust me, it sucks getting stuck in the middle of the lake because something happens to your boat.
First Aid Kit and Safety Kit
Just in case someone gets hurt you’ll need to be covered. Make sure you get a first aid kit with a bunch of supplies and one that has a good solid case. I’m a fan of this first aid kit (Amazon Link Ad) because it has so many features to it.
There are not many safety kits for boats out there so you will have to make your own. Here is a list of items you should consider placing in a safety kit.
Must Have Boat Accessories Saftey Kit List
- Boat Flares
- Air Horn (Amazon Link Ad) and Whistle
- Boat VHF Radio (Amazon Link Ad)
- Trash Bags
- Boating Knife (Amazon Link Ad)
- Duct Tape
- Boating Goggles
- Zip Ties
- Spare T-Shirt and Gym Shorts
- Basic Tool Kit (Amazon Link Ad)
- Sunscreen and Bug Repellent
Just place these items in a dry storage box and keep them on the boat. Some of these items actually have multi uses.
The trash bags work great for trash of course, but also for storing wet clothing.
The duct tape and zip ties can be used to make a makeshift changing room with towels.
The knife is for …. well….. you always need a knife when on a boat. Enough said.
The goggles are for the off chance you’ll need to go underwater to check on something. It’s a rare thing to happen, but you’ll thank me in the future.
For the flashlight, it’s important you don’t buy one that operates on batteries. Let’s be honest with ourselves and just assume we will never check the batteries on it until we really need it. So just buy the hand crank flashlights.
Go out and buy the cheapest or go to Goodwill and get some basic t-shirts and gym shorts. You never know when someone will need spare clothes and you’ll be a hero. Just go with big sizes to make sure everyone can be covered.
The flares and VHF radio are more for people who go in the ocean. If you’re on the lake a regular tow service is all you really need. If you do get a VHF radio make sure to keep it close and easy to access. Also, make sure to keep the battery charged or just buy the radios that mount to the boat itself.
Boat Fire Extinguisher
If your boat did not come with a Fire Extinguisher then you need to pick one up. Not just any Fire Extinguisher will do, you’ll need a marine fire extinguisher (Amazon Link Ad).
A fire extinguisher for sure needs to be on everyone’s must-have boating accessories list.
You never know when you’ll need a paddle. A paddle is the best thing if your engine stops and you need to get to shore.
It’s best to get two folding paddles like this one (Amazon Link Ad) so that you’ll be covered and they don’t take up too much space.
Solar Panel For Charging The Boats Battery
Having a solar panel like this one (Amazon Link Ad) is one of the best things you can buy for any boat or pontoon. Batteries go flat or die when they are not used. A solar panel will keep that battery alive and ready for your next boating adventure.
To keep the battery from overcharging stick with solar chargers that have charge controllers.
A solar panel is no replacement for other battery chargers especially since boat batteries are so big, but it does keep the battery from dying when you’re not using them.
Jump Pack For Boats
Talking about keeping a battery from going flat a good jump pack is always a good idea to carry with you. Nothing worse than going to the boat launch and you back your boat in and you go to start it and the battery is dead.
Or if you’re out on the water all day listening to music and when you’re ready to leave but find out that the battery is now dead. If you had a jump pack you could just jump the battery off.
I’ve since switched to a jump pack that uses supercapacitors like this one here (Amazon Link Ad). I prefer this battery jumper because you don’t need to keep it charged which a lot of us are bad at doing. This jumper only needs a little bit of juice from the dead battery to charge itself just enough to start an engine. Or you can use another boat or car’s battery to charge this jumper instead of messing with jumper cables which are hard to do in the water.
I know it sounds too good to be true but it does work as the video below shows. It works so well I bought some for the cars too!
Boating Dock Line – Anchor – Fenders
Every boat needs dock line, fenders, and an anchor. What you buy depends on what size boat you have.
- Up to 24 Foot use 3/8″ diameter dock line
- Up to 35 Foot use 1/2″ diameter dock line
You’ll need a place to keep your phone and other items you don’t want to get wet. A dry box works great for this.
You can even get a dry bag like this one (Amazon Link Ad) which works very well too.
Many of our phones have GPS built-in and can work just fine for boats that ride on the lake. If you ride places where you can’t get a signal on your phone, then a marine GPS will be a great thing to get.
Our phones have become a big part of our lives and it’s no surprise that we’ll carry them on the boat with us. It’s important to have a 12-volt charger onboard your boat that can charge any phone.
I go a step further. I either have the jump starter with the built-in phone charger or I have a solar powered phone charger (Amazon Link Ad). Your phone can be your GPS or a way to call for help so it’s important that it stays charged. Many phones can even be used as a flashlight too! It’s very important that you have a way to charge your phone for emergencies.
Towable Tubes For Boats
There is nothing more fun than riding on a tube behind your new boat. There are so many options to pick when it comes to tubing. You can’t go wrong, just make sure you have a 12-volt air pump (Amazon Link Ad) to inflate the tubes with.
Boat Grill – A Cool Boating Accessory
I love going out on the Fourth of July and grilling on my boat. Then as the sun sets, I turn on my underwater lights (Amazon Link Ad) and get ready for the fireworks to go off. I look forward to this every year and it would not be the same if I did not have a grill.
Don’t forget the cooler. You can’t cookout and enjoy the boat life without a cooler. Just make sure to have plenty of water in your cooler, the sun can really zap and dehydrate you if you’re not careful.
Inflatable Boat Slide
Yes, they do make a slide that you can inflate and hang off the side of your pontoon. The kids love it and it is easy to store away when you’re done with it.
Doggie Boat Ladder
Don’t forget about your best friend. Boat ladders are not made for dogs, but you can buy a doggie boat ladder to help your dogs back on the boat.
Let Me Know Your Favorite Must Have Boating Accessories!
Did we miss any accessories or tools? Let us know in the comments below what we should add to our must-have boat accessories list!
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boat flags for the rear of a pontoon boat