Like many of you, boating is one of my very favorite activities.  Hanging out with friends or family and enjoying nature is my idea of a good time.  So how can you make the experience even better?  In this article, I put together a list of what I believe are some of the best boat accessories to help take your boating to the next level.  My list of items is divided into three categories of boat accessories:

If you wish to skip to a particular category, simply click on the heading above.

Fun Boat AccessoriesSaddle Floats

  • Saddle floats. After a morning ski and wakeboarding run, we love to grab a bite to eat and then park the boat in a quiet bay and float.  These saddle floats are great because they are easy to use and will keep you upright so that you can converse with your crew and never spill your beverage.  $64.99 for a set of two Saddle Floats at Amazon.com.
  • Soaker GunSoaker Gun. Credit for this idea comes from my neighbor Mark who says these are “100% fun”.  Hand one to each of your guests and let the mischief begin.  And, because they are made out of swim noodle (foam) material, you don’t have to worry about dropping them in the lake.  The Max Liquidator 6-pack is currently $23 at Amazon.com
  • Floating MatFloating Mat. When our kids and grandkids pay us a visit, we love to hang out on our floating mat.  It is a great way to chill out on a warm summer day and can accommodate several kids and adults.  Dogs love them too but you do need to be careful so that they don’t scratch the foam with their nails.  The Rubber Dockie Float Mat is $397 for the 18×6′ version at Amazon.com.
  • Pontoon Slide. If you are looking for fun pontoon boat accessories, check out this inflatable slide from Airhead.  Just place it over the gate and strap it to the fence railing and let the fun begin.  And it can hold “kids” up to 200 lbs.  When the party is over, just deflate and store it under a seat.  The Airhead Pontoon Slide retails for $559 at Amazon.com.
  • Cuisinart Pontoon GrillPortable Grill. Speaking of pontoon boat accessories, check out this handy little grill from Cuisinart that is designed specifically for pontoons.  Clamp it to the railing and let the grillin’ begin.  Sure beats cold-cut sandwiches but don’t be surprised if visitors pop over after the smell of burgers wafts in their direction.  The Cuisinart pontoon grill is listed for $283 at Amazon.
  • T-Shirt Gift for BoatersI’m Sorry T-Shirt.  We know things can get crazy and maybe even a little heated when docking the boat.  But displaying this pre-emptive message might help to smooth things over afterwards.  Available in a variety of sizes and colors, this “I’m Sorry for What I Said” T-shirt is $30 at Etsy.
  • I'm the CaptainLet them know who’s boss. We’ve all heard the expression “too many cooks spoil the broth”.  The same applies to captaining a vessel.  With this shirt, you can subtly let everyone know who is in charge and avoid any awkward situations.  The “I’m the Captain” T-shirt is available at Etsy for $19.
  • His & Her TumblersHis and Her Tumblers. Whether at the dock or out at sea, these customizable tumblers will keep your drink cold for 24 hours and will give others a glimpse of the “real you”.  You can get your custom “Nauti Gal” or “Bad Buoy” tumbler for $25/ea. at Etsy.

Boat and Engine Accessories

  • Mercury VesselView MobileMercury VesselView Mobile. This slick tool easily connects your outboard (40 hp+) or sterndrive engine to a mobile device via a Bluetooth connection.  With it, you can digitally monitor engine hours and performance metrics (rpms, fuel flow, engine temperature, etc.), get maintenance reminders and receive fault information if issues occur.  Much better than the standard “beeps”, the information provided by VesselView could help you identify and diagnose problems before they become severe.  VesselView Mobile currently retails for $235.95 at Amazon.com although you might be able to get it for slightly less at Bass Pro Shops.  Visit the Mercury Marine website for more details.
  • Blue Sea Systems Battery SwitchBattery Switch. This is an item that I know I need but haven’t gotten around to installing on my boats yet.  With a simple turn of the dial, you can cut off power from your battery when you are ready to put your boat up for a while.  That way, you won’t be surprised by a dead battery if you accidently left a courtesy light on or have something that is slowly drawing current.   There are models for single and multiple battery installations so be sure to get the correct one for your needs.  $32 for a Blue Sea Systems Switch for a single battery system at Amazon.com
  • Mercury Floating Prop WrenchFloating Prop Wrench. Many years ago, I damaged my propeller on takeoff when waterskiing.  Fortunately, I had a floating prop wrench and a spare propeller that saved the day.  This floating prop wrench from Mercury is made of plastic, is lightweight and will not clang around inside your boat.  Available at Amazon.com for $26.
  • Rearview MirrorRearview Mirror. Every time we go skiing and wakeboarding, we bring along an oversized mirror.  Not only is it good for safety reasons but it also enables the captain to share in the experience of the person being towed.  If your boat has a windshield, you can get a mirror like this one that clamps onto the windshield for $43 at Amazon.com.  For pontoon owners, check out this version that mounts to the railing.
  • Sta-Bil Ethanol TreatmentEthanol Treatment. This is a simple but important item that could benefit most boat owners.  As you might know, ethanol gas can be very harmful to marine engines.  So much so that the marine industry has formed lobbying efforts to combat its expansion (especially e15 gas). This is because any moisture or condensation in your fuel tank may combine with the ethanol and sink in what is referred to as “phase separation”.  When the ethanol/water combination gets to your engine, it can cause considerable damage.  Given this, I always add an ethanol treatment when I fill up as a precaution unless I am certain that the fuel is ethanol-free.  Just 1 oz for every 10 gallons of gasoline.  This 32 oz bottle of Sta-Bil Ethanol Treatment is available for $21 at Amazon.com and will treat 320 gallons.
  • Portable Trash ReceptaclePortable trash receptacle. If you like to picnic or entertain a lot of guests on your boat, this simple accessory will help keep your space tidy.  Plus, it will even keep your refuge secure when under power.  Especially handy for pontoon boat owners, this Mangrove Products portable trash receptacle sells for $32 at Amazon.com
  • Starbrite Boat Brush Combo SetBoat Brush. Let’s face it, we all would much rather use our boat than spend time cleaning it.  But with this brush and extendable handle, at least you can make the cleaning process a little easier and less back-breaking. The Starbrite Boat Brush with 6′ telescoping handle is available from Academy for $39, or check out this combo set for $54 from Amazon.com.

Safety Items

  • NOCO Boost Plus Battery StarterJumper battery. Two of the most common breakdowns on the water is running out of fuel or having a dead battery.  With this slick little battery booster from NOCO, you can at least guard against the latter.  Just connect the leads to your battery and crank her up.  And because it uses a lithium battery, it is lightweight (only 2 1/2 lbs.) and compact making it a handy item to keep on board “just in case”.  The NOCO Boost Plus battery starter retails for $97 at Amazon.com.
  • TireMinder TPMSWireless PSI Monitors. If you trailer a boat or RV long distances, you know that having an issue with a trailer tire can be both an inconvenience and a safety issue.  This Bluetooth monitor attaches to your existing tires and will read the temperature and pressure of each tire every six seconds on your iPhone or Android device.  Though somewhat expensive, the TireMinder TPMS with six transmitters could help you avoid the considerable cost and hassle of breaking down on the road.  Available at Amazon.com for $361.
  • EMMMSUN Floating & Rechargeable SpotlightFloating Spotlight. In the summertime, I sometimes like to fish during the cool of the evening.  With this EMMMSUN Floating and Rechargeable spotlight, you can illuminate the shoreline or other obstructions to help you find the target or keep you out of trouble.  Plus, it also has a red-light filter to avoid impacting your night vision.  $35 at Amazon.com.
  • Streamlight Floating Outdoor LanternFloating Lantern. I purchased this fantastic little lantern for a family vacation to do a little night fishing with my son-in-law.  While the above spotlight is great for navigation and illuminating targets, this lantern is ideal for short-range activities such as tying a line, taking fish off a hook, getting something from the cooler, etc.   And it also floats and has a red-light filter.  The Streamlight Outdoor Lantern is $39 at Amazon.com.
  • Outward Hound Dog Life VestDog Life Vest. A few years ago, I took in a stray dog named Lilly who loved to follow me everywhere – including when I went fishing.  As a pit-bull mix, she was not exactly built for the water so I got her this life jacket to keep her safe.  One feature I love about this life vest is the grab handle on top.  Getting Lilly onto my boat was as easy as checking bags at the airport.  The Outward Hound Dog Life Vest retails for $15 at Amazon.com.
  • Attwood 54Folding Boat Paddle – though typically not required on motor boats, it is a good idea to have a paddle in case of engine failure and/or to help unwedge yourself if you run aground. This Attwood 54″ folding paddle makes it convenient to keep one on board without taking up much space for something that (hopefully) is rarely used.  $25 at Amazon.com.
  • Water-Resistant First Aid KitFirst Aid Kit.  I managed to go over 50 years without ever hooking myself.  Then, in the span of about 3 weeks, I impaled myself twice.  After the second go-around, my neighbor felt sorry for me and gave me a safety kit for my boat.  This mini water-resistant 45-piece safety kit is only $15 at Amazon and is a smart item to keep aboard your boat.

There you have my list of the best boat accessories.  Let me know your favorites in the comments section below and I might add them to the list.

Please note that I provided links to the products above for your convenience.  These are things that I personally use or would like to own or were recommended by other boaters.  If you click on a link and buy the listed product or any other, I will receive a small commission that will help support BoaterInput and would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for visiting my site.

Jerry Mona - BoaterInput

About the author

Jerry Mona is an avid boater and angler and long-time boating industry insider. With over three decades of experience, he is often considered to be the leading research expert with boaters and has helped numerous manufacturers and trade associations to understand the needs, wants, attitudes and behaviors of boaters. He now shares many of his insights about boats and boaters for free on his BoaterInput.com website.

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