There are all kinds of things that you could buy for your boat or upcoming boating trip, but only some are must-have boat accessories— especially when it comes to fun. A day out on the water simply is not complete without having some funtivities. These 10 fun boating accessories should be on everyone’s list for 2023:
- Fishing rod & reel
- Portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker
- Water-wear shoes
- Underwater camera
- Quick-dry clothing
- Reader sunglasses
- Recycled sail bag
- Floating island
- Waterproof backpack
- Inflatable kayaks
Let’s take a closer look at each of these must-have boating accessories.
1. Fishing rod & reel
Anglers have come close to fisticuffs when arguing about the best rod and reel combo. The name of this particular game is to each his own—but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good, all-purpose rod and reel on the boat for general family fun.
Penn, Shimano, and Okuma make rod-and-reel combo sets that you can find at reasonable prices at stores like West Marine and Walmart. The brands make equipment that tends to hold up well, so it’s suitable for beginners who might subject it to a beating out on the boat.
2. Portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker
These carry-on speakers keep getting better and better each year. Some of the smallest speakers now offer booming bass and other qualities that used to be available only in the larger, more expensive models.
These speakers are great for the boat and the beach, and you can bring them home and use them there after the day’s cruising. JBL and Sony are among the big-name brands that offer various models. Some have handles or straps, while others have clips so you can take them 3. Water-wear shoes
There’s nothing worse than hopping out of the boat at the edge of the beach and having the tender arch of your foot land atop a sharp rock or seashell underwater. Water-wear shoes are designed to protect your tootsies from these types of mishaps and more—and they can be fashionable enough to wear to the tiki bar later in the day, too.
Keen is a top brand in this category, with strap sandals that are built to trudge through sand and mud, get soaked, and remain comfortable the whole time. Another big-name brand is Sperry, whose Sport line includes several types of shoes made for sailing, powerboating, and other water-sports fun.
4. Underwater camera
There are all kinds of underwater cameras for all kinds of uses. You can find a less-expensive version for messing around or a high-end model for capturing breathtaking images beneath the surface.
Well-respected brands Kodak and Minolta both make models in the $100 to $200 range. The Kodak Pixpro captures still photos as well as video, has digital image stabilization, and is waterproof to about 50 feet. The Minolta Dual-Screen Waterproof Camera also shoots still photos plus video, has modes with various settings, and is waterproof to about 10 feet.
5. Quick-dry clothing
There’s nothing better than enjoying a day out on the water, but nothing worse than being stuck in clothes that refuse to dry properly on the boat. Luckily, some of the most fashionable brands for athletic-use clothing are on top of this problem.
Helly Hansen makes all kinds of quick-dry pieces, including cargo shorts, board shorts, t-shirts, and polo shirts. Under Armour also has a bunch of offerings, such as t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, and shorts.
6. Reader sunglasses
Just about everybody age 40 or older knows it can be hard to see the small print or the fine details. This is true no matter whether you’re trying to tie a fly for an afternoon of fishing or trying to read directions on a phone app as you cruise toward your favorite waterfront restaurant.
Costa and Bajio both make fashionable sunglasses that are fitted with bifocal lenses. They work like a pair of readers you’d find at the drugstore, but they look much cooler. Numerous colors and styles are available in varying powers of magnification.
7. Recycled sail bag
Everyone needs a good tote or duffel bag to carry stuff on and off the boat, and there’s no snazzier style of the bag than one made from recycled sails. Sea Bags in Maine and Re-Sails in Newport, Rhode Island, offer all kinds of shapes, styles, and colors of bags made from recycled sails.
You can even custom order a one-of-a-kind bag that features stenciling, embroidery, or other personal touches. And, you’ll know that every time you use your bag on board, you’re helping to reduce the amount of waste in landfills.
8. Floating island
These inflatables come in many shapes and sizes that can be tied to the boat or a dock, allowing you and your friends to chill out in the water.
WOW makes small and large versions, with some of its floating-island inflatables able to hold a dozen people at a time in lounge-style comfort. Overton’s also sells different types of inflatable floating islands, including some that are sturdy enough for kids to run, play and splash on them.
9. Waterproof backpack
A waterproof backpack is an absolute necessity when you’re heading out to the boat for the day, onto the beach for a few hours, or ashore to do some hiking along rugged trails. Yeti, which is best known for its coolers, makes a range of waterproof backpacks in various sizes, shapes, and styles.
The Panga model is built for the water with a puncture-resistant ThickSkin shell. Bote’s Highwater backpack is 100% waterproof, with pockets big enough for a laptop, a tablet, and a couple of waterproof cameras.
10. Inflatable kayaks
Inflatable kayaks are great for the boat because they can shrink down to stow in small spaces while offering full fun days. Intex makes several types of inflatable kayaks, including ones that are kitted out for fishing.
Aquaglide is another well-known brand that makes a range of models. Look for inflatable kayaks that come with a quick-inflate pump to make your life easier out on the boat. Storage bags and repair kits should also be part of the package.
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Kim Kavin has been on boats in more than 50 countries and islands, including in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. She grew up learning to steer a ski boat and Hobie Holder at her grandfather’s lake house in New Jersey, and went on to spend time aboard everything from America’s Cup racing sailboats to submarines.
Kim is a PADI-certified scuba diver and animal lover who always enjoys a good, long look around a coral reef. Her award-winning writing and editing regularly appears in national marine magazines and on leading websites. In her early years, she was a Dow Jones editing intern and a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. When she’s not writing, Kim can usually be found hiking northwest New Jersey’s beautiful park trails with her adopted shelter mutt, Ginger.