Posted on Leave a comment

20 Must-Have Boat Accessories

Summer is right around the corner and now is the perfect time to stock up on accessories for your boat. When you’re ready to take your boat out on the water, make sure you’re stocked up on these must-have accessories. These also make great gifts for family, friends, and loved ones. 

Fun and practical boat accessories that cost less than you might think. Check out these 20-must have boat accessories, perfect for gifts or your next trip out on the water 

Dry Bag or Box 

Keep all your valuables, non-waterproof electronics, and anything else important from getting waterlogged. Thereof a ton of options for dry boxes and bags, but for a basic dry box that gets the job done, try this Attwood Boater’s Dry Box or this DryCASE Waterproof dry bag.  

For those unexpected rainy days or when the spray gets everywhere, you’ll be glad you have a dry box and your items aren’t soaked. Check out our full selection of waterproof bags and cases


When people find out you have a boat, their minds tend to go to fun on the water. Treat friends and family to some fun with a variety of towables. With air pump and tow rope–for a fun day out on the lake, variety of different floats and tubes, just stay safe and make sure everything is tied and hitched correctly. Whether you’re carting everyone around or just allowing single riders, you’re sure to have a great time. 

Life Vests 

A no-brainer for getting out on the water. These days life vests come in so many different, sizes, shapes, and styles. Get a cheap pack of them to keep on your boat, or find the perfect life vest fit for you and your family while you’re all out on the water having fun. From infants to experienced boaters, there should be a fitting life vest onboard for everyone to use. 

Boat Fenders 

This item is probably one of the most important on the list, and if you don’t already have boat fenders, you should get them. Fenders prevent scratches and scrapes on your boat hull when docking and can save you thousands if your boats even gets a little too close to a dock post. Most boat fenders do the same thing, so as long as it fits well, your boat will be protected. Check out some of our basic boat fenders and keep your boat safe. Don’t forget those fender lines, either! 

Boat Towing Membership 

It may not be a physical accessory, but whether you’re on a local lake or along the cost you can get a boat towing membership to ensure you have a backup if things don’t go to plan. It’s better to be a member with a local towing business than to pay an arm and a leg on the off chance that you need a tow and haven’t invested in a membership. 

Sea-Tow and TowBoatUS are the most popular services, and they typically reimburse for towing when their services aren’t available near your boat. An annual membership usually costs anywhere from $149-$179, while the one-time cost of on-water towing can be anywhere from $250-$500/hour. In fact, according to BoatUS, the cost of an on-water tow back to port by a commercial provider average about $700 per incident. 

Fishing Rod Holder 

Boating and fishing are almost synonymous in some places, and if you love to fish you know the importance of a good rod holder–unless you plan to hold your fishing rod all day or give up on catching anything. There are plenty of fishing rod holders on the market, but invest in a quality one to ensure you don’t lose your pole. Make life easier for yourself on the water with a mounted rod holder

First Aid/Safety Kit 

Keep standard first aid items onboard like sunscreen, bug spray, bandages, antibiotics, antiseptics, and sterile tools in case of a medical emergency…or a bug bite or scratch. With all the different ways to accidentally cut a finger or sustain more serious injuries, it’s smart to have a well-stocked safety kit on your boat at all times. You never know when you’ll need it and you’ll be grateful to have it when you do use it. 

Tool/Resource Kit 

While you can purchase these sort of tool kits, it helps to add your own items to them to stay functional. Keep more useful things like a basic tool kit, towels, spare shirt and shorts, additional boat flares or a flare gun, an air horn and whistle, tape, knife, zip ties, a flashlight, and more all in an easy to locate kit or toolbox. Most of these items are extremely useful and you’ll be glad they’re in one location for easy access. 

Emergency Paddles 

Having extra paddles is a good idea, especially for smaller boats. These telescoping paddles are a great choice and even come with a nylon carrying case. For paddles that are a bit longer, try these 25”-75” telescoping paddles with a boat hook handle. 

Boat Fire Extinguisher  

if you don’t already have one or your boat didn’t come with one, you need a boat fire extinguisher. From putting out the grill when someone is too enthusiastic to stopping dangerous boat fires, extinguishers should be on board your boat at all times. 

Jump Starter Pack For Boats 

You never know when your battery might die on you, and it’s better to be prepared in case of an emergency. These little jump starter kits are powerful enough to give your battery a boost so you can get back to land and purchase a new one. They are specially calibrated for boats, so you don’t have to string along any car jump starters. 

Solar Panel  

Choose a larger solar panel for keeping your boat battery charged or smaller ones for your phone and other small electronics. Solar panels are much more efficient and affordable than they used to be. Leaving a solar charger out on the deck is an easy way to power all your devices. Solar chargers come in lots of different sizes, from charging a phone to charging a boat battery, so shop around to see which panels are the best fit for your needs. 

12v Charger 

Charge phones, keep 12v air pumps going, and power anything else you might have onboard. There are plenty of 12v charger options, from large lithium battery backs that take solar panel energy to specially created boat battery chargers. Make sure you have enough power at all times for all your electronics and get the right 12v charger. 

Boating Anchor System 

There are tons of boat anchoring system options out there, and the one you select will depend on your boat size. From a small weekend boat that provides an hour or two of fun to a sailing vessel that can stay out on the water indefinitely, an anchor is a must-have. Check out our boat anchor systems to see which is a best-fit for your boat. 

Marine GPS 

Be sure to have a GPS handy for when your phone dies or can’t get a signal. Most people on small lakes are just fine with using their phones, but for larger lakes and the ocean, a GPS is a must-have. Many marine GPS devices also come with multiple functionalities such as fish finders, AIS, chartplotters, and other neat abilities. For a great GPS gift, check out these Garmin Quatix marine smart watches with GPS in blue and stainless steel.  

Boat Grill 

If you spend whole days out on the water, then a boat grill is a must-have accessory, and most can be had for the same amount or less than a regular grill. Most boat grills are mounted to the side or railing of your boat and provide an easy way to grill up food for everyone. Once you have purchased a grill, you can get a boat grill mount to attach it to the railing of your boat.  

Keep everyone fed and happy with a great boat grill for those weekends out on the water. From skewers to hotdogs and burgers, you can guarantee everyone onboard will be glad you chose this addition. 


A cooler for your boat is a no-brainer. Keep your drinks, snack, and everything else cold on those hot days out on the water or store freshly caught fish for later. Since the sun can really dehydrate you after hours outside, make sure to bring plenty of bottled water, drinks, ice, and your favorite foods to hydrate and keep your energy up. 

Magnetic Compass 

A compass is great backup tool for navigation, or an excellent and thoughtful gift for the boater in your life. There are tons of different compass options, but for under $100 we like this Richie Angler Compass with a 5-year warranty. Check out of full selection of magnetic and electronic compasses and see which one strikes your eye the most. If you’re looking for an easy to remember, on the go compass, try this simple Timex watch with integrated mini compass. 

A compass is great backup tool for navigation, or an excellent and thoughtful gift for the boater in your life. There are tons of different compass options, but for under $100 we like this Richie Angler Compass with a 5-year warranty. Check out of full selection of magnetic and electronic compasses and see which one strikes your eye the most. If you’re looking for an easy to remember, on the go compass, try this simple Timex watch with integrated mini compass. 

Cooling Towel 

Stay cool and safe on those beautiful, hot, and sunny days. Cooling towels usually use cooling gel or special fabric material to keep water cool against your skin. If you need a recommendation, try this Klein Tools Cooling Towel in gray and blue. You’ll be glad you brought it when the sun is glaring down on you. 

VHF Radio 

Ensure you have a way to call for help if nobody is around and incorporate many functions in one great device. We like this Standard Horizon Matrix Fixed Mount VHF Radio with AIS & GPS, and since there are so many different radios out there to choose from, you’re bound to find one you love. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Boat Electronics For Beginners

Boat Electronics For Beginners 

If your boat has aging or outdated electronics or you need to update a “new to you” boat that you’ve just purchased, the options out there can be overwhelming. 

Whether you are a beginner boat owner that is just now getting involved with your own boat electronics purchases or looking to upgrade your current setup to prepare for your next trip on the water, we have put together a comprehensive guide to some of the most common boat electronics. 

In the last decade or so, advances in technology have allowed boat manufacturers and electronics inventors to make smaller and more efficient boating electronics and devices. While not every boat needs to have all the bells and whistles that are available, many of these new devices make boating safer, more approachable, and more efficient. 

Electronics For Your Boat 

The use of each electronic device will depend on the size, location, and use of your boat; however, many of them can be used on almost any vessel–such as AM/FM radios, Emergency signaling, and chart plotters. 

Many of these items and electronics are interchangeable at different boating “levels” of knowledge and experience, depending on the type of boat you have and how you plan to use it. For example, an experienced boater may use several multifunction displays (MFD), while a beginner boater would only need a very basic chart plotter or MFD to get them started. For water sports enthusiasts and cruisers, a tricked-out stereo and entertainment system is a must, whereas an offshore angler may not place as much importance on keeping the tunes flowing. 

Whether you’re an offshore angler, freshwater angler, have a family day boat, are a water sports enthusiast, or have a cruiser, we have an easy to understand list of the types of boat and marine electronics you’ll likely need for going out on the water. 

The Basics: For Boat Beginners 

These items should be on the basic electronics list for the average boater and can help everyone onboard have a safe, fun time. 

  • VHF RadioMarine VHF radio is a system of two-way radio transceivers that is used worldwide for ship to ship and ship to shore communication. It reaches 30-50 miles and is the primary way that boats communicate while on the water and is important for boat safety. Consider a handheld backup VHF radio for boating longer distances. 
  • Entertainment (AM/FM Radio, Music Player)–Even if you don’t feel the need for a TV onboard, most people will want some music or a way to play songs from their phone, iPod, or mp3 player. 
  • Chart Plotters–A chart plotter takes GPS information and plots it on a digital map. This device is a great way to navigate, especially on longer trips with no definite points of reference (such as offshore trips and blue water sailing). Consider using a handheld device for longer distances. 
  • Depth Sounders/Fish Finders–Depth sounders, as their name suggests, are used to tell you the depth of the water, which is useful in areas with rocks, hazards, and sharp drop-offs. Fish finders use sonar to locate fish and other solid objects underwater. There are also combination devices available to provide dual functions of each. 
  • Emergency Signaling Device–The two most common devices are Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (also known as EPIRBs). PLB’s are registered to a person and EPIRBs are registered to a vessel. Both devices send a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency. 
  • GPS Speedometer–This device measures the speed of your boat and is helpful for keeping speed steady so that wakeboarders and water-skiers can hit the water at a safe and constant speed. These controls allow you to set the exact desired speed and change them in 1-mph increments. 

The Prepared: For Weekend & Regular Boaters 

For the more experienced boater, a few electronic additions can make the entire experience go smoother. From taking better stock of your surroundings to measuring efficiency, these devices will help you gain better understanding of your boat and navigate with ease. 

  • Autopilot–For extended periods of boating and areas where the navigation is simple, don’t leave home without your autopilot device. It can also be connected to other devices such as GPS and MFDs. 
  • Radar–Radar works similar to fish finders, but instead of alerting you to solid objects below, it tells you about what objects are around you. Radar is extremely helpful for boating in fog or the dark. Use radar in low visibility situations and to stay alert of other boats. 
  • Alarms–These days, there is an alarm for almost everything. Alarms can help notify you when certain parts of your boat require your attention. Get notifications if a pump stops working, your boat drifts too far off course, or if there is smoke or carbon monoxide detected. 
  • Automatic Identification System (AIS)AIS is an automatic tracking system that uses ship transponders to broadcast the vessel’s name, direction, and speed. This is especially useful for avoiding collisions with large, fast moving ships and hailing boats which are too far away to read. 
  • Instrument System–Install a comprehensive instrument system to tell you the current water depth and temperature, boat speed, wind speed and direction, impending weather, and more. The system can be networked to your GPS and autopilot to make navigation easier. 
  • Networked Multifunctional Display (MFD)–With the same chart plotting and fish finding functions as a standard chart plotter, an MFD offers additional functionalities such as displaying all navigation info from different units, programming routes, sonar, alarms, fuel/temp/AIS monitoring, and more. 
  • Onboard Battery Charger–For those with electric motors, a battery charger is a must. With an onboard charger, you don’t have to worry about dragging a charger to the boat or cutting your time on the water short.  
  • Fuel-Flow Meters–Fuel flow meters determine the rate of flow from the boat’s fuel tank to the engine. While they can’t tell you how full the tank is, they are useful for engine efficiency and alerting you to any issues before they might require costly fixes. 

The Electronics Enthusiast: For Those That Have It All 

In addition to the boat basics and more advanced options that many regular boaters have, these items are for the boater that likes to have it all or frequently uses their boat for specific purposes. Many of these electronics are for boaters that find themselves away from the inland coast a good portion of the time as well. 

  • Satellite Phone–Don’t worry about signal reliability with a sat phone. Call, text, send and receive emails, check the weather, surf the internet, and more. A sat phone is a good investment for those that spend a lot of time on the water but want to stay connected. 
  • SSB Radio–This type of radio is similar to the VHF, but it has an ocean-sized range. A medium frequency SSB radio has a range of around 400 nautical miles, while a high frequency will reach out for several thousand miles. 
  • Infrared Camera & Night Vision– Infrared cameras provide thermal imaging that can be integrated into MFD screens. Night vision vison allows you to see obstacles in low light conditions for those late nights or early morning out on the water. 
  • Satellite Weather– Don’t leave it up to the weather channel. Get real-time Doppler radar weather, right on your chart plotter screen. Stay aware of incoming storms or changing weather conditions. 
  • Entertainment Center–For the large cruiser or water sports enthusiast, media and entertainment are a must. From an integrated radio for music and great speakers to satellite TV, a DVD player and more, there are endless options to keep everyone onboard entertained. 
  • Cartography–Whether inland for popular lakes or for general coastline, there are plenty of cartography chip options to make your navigation flawless. Choose from popular maps and imaging and stay aware of changing water features. 
  • Cell Amplifier–For those that aren’t ready to take the plunge and invest in a satellite phone, a cell amplifier can extend the working range of your phone out 30-50 miles from the nearest tower. It makes a great addition for shorter trips close to the coast. 
  • Gyroscopic Binoculars–Minimize image shaking and view far off vessel names, overhead birds, incoming lights, numbers on buoys, and more. 7x50s or seven times the magnification with a 50-mm objective lens is the standard for boating binoculars. 

Get Boat Electronics 

Shop the best quality marine electronics & boat accessories at the lowest prices online at Atlantic Marine Depot. Ensure that your boat has everything it needs, before it hits the water. We offer fast, free shipping on all orders over $99. Get marine electronics & boat accessories at the lowest prices. Shop our online inventory for the best marine electronics & boat accessories for commercial boats, pleasure vessels, and fishing boats.