Leaving the safety and comfort of the dock behind is no simple feat. If you’re considering owning a boat to go fishing or simply relax in your free time, then you must have a lot of questions in mind. You are probably repeatedly listing the necessities and those lists end up having different items every time. It’s ok, how can you know what every boat needs? This is where the input from others may come in handy.
In my experience, I’ve found that the following accessories were crucial for my safety as well as enjoyment while boating. However, depending on your needs, you can expand this list with a variety of accessories for boats from a well-stocked store.
You can’t leave anywhere without an anchor. If you are into extended cruising, keep in mind that your boat will not always be secured at a marina. Docks are expensive and busy so if you want to save on cash and get away from the heavy traffic you’ll probably anchor for free in a suitable bay.
Choosing a suitable anchor for your boat and the area you plan to visit is crucial. Unless you do so, there’s going to be a risk of “dragging anchor”, which can result in a variety of unfortunate accidents – from damaging your boat to losing it and even getting lost at sea.
When it comes to choosing an appropriate anchor, there are different anchoring scenarios to think about. To secure a sailboat longer than 15 meters, you’ll need a heavy-duty plough-style anchor. However, there is more than one type of sea bed. And all sorts of vessels out there, too. Sand anchors have a totally different design, such that allows the claws to seer deep into the mud. Day trips require easily retrievable anchors because they are usually used more than one time during a single day.
You can even anchor in the Great Barrier Reef as long as you’re very careful to use a reef anchor with prongs to do so. You need to also consider that your anchor can get entangled or outright fouled. In such instances, having an anchor designed with recovery in mind is easier to retrieve.
Anchors are some of the accessories for boats that suffer the most wear. Seawater is never kind to metal, so make sure to go for galvanised and high-grade 316 stainless steel anchors to use them as many seasons as possible.
It might seem like one of those non-essential boat accessories, but if you want to be able to enjoy the unique experience of saltwater fishing, a good fishing gear setup is important. And who can say no to the thrill of catching fish out in the open sea?
This is the reason why every boat equipment store sells rod holders. They are designed to handle tough game (fish out in the open sea are big) and can be mounted on any part of your boat: rocket launcher, hardtop or the side of a cabin. Those on the high end are adjustable and allow you to lift a spring-loaded steel pin, set them and forget about the rod until fish actually bites. You can go inside the cabin and not have to worry about sun protection.
The secret to choosing durable accessories for boats is to make sure they are made of a material that can resist saltwater conditions. When it comes to your outrigger bundle – if the bearings, the push pull pin, the plate, the base are all made from marine grade stainless steel, then you are good to go.
And if you are serious about offshore fishing you will take suitable fishing tackles as well. How can you expect to catch game fish such as tuna, marlin, swordfish, wahoo and mahi-mahi without the right saltwater tackle on board? You will need rigs fit for seawater fish and every lure you can get your hands on.
While the most important safety accessory is a personal flotation device (or a life jacket), people usually forget about bringing a navigation device along. Marine accidents can happen fast when there’s bad weather, so boating enthusiasts must also consider investing in handheld GPS units.
You can keep these units in your pocket, at the navigation desk or other easily accessible point. It is only important that everyone on the boat is aware of their location at all times. They should be waterproof so they can handle the humidity and to have a good power save mode for long battery life. Those on the high end offer very detailed maps that need to be updated from time to time.
These handheld GPS units allow emergency communication via low orbit satellites. It can be in the form of an SMS, an e-mail or as a satellite phone. Relaying distress signals with an accurate position can significantly cut the time needed for a successful search and rescue operation.
But these devices aren’t only useful in life-or-death situations. Getting a good internet connection out on the water can be hard, regardless of how close you are to shore. Checking an important business e-mail on a boat is a luxury and one that such handheld devices can provide you with.
Also, these devices don’t have to be fixed on your boat. Whenever you want, you can take a handheld GPS unit with you on land. This can certainly come in handy if you want to visit an island for the first time with your boat and go a hike there to explore it.