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Must-Have Boat Accessories in 2024

Unless you’re a winter boating fan, you’re probably itching for warmer temperatures and the chance to get your boat back out on the water. As long as you’re waiting, now’s the time to check out the boat accessories you need for 2024! 

Let’s examine the items you might need for the new year by asking some relevant questions:

What Supplies Are Required to Pass Safety Checks?

Unless you want a ticket, you must ensure your boat can pass a safety check. The U.S. Coast Guard’s Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats are the guidelines you need to follow, and complying requires the following supplies:

Personal Flotation Devices

Your flotation devices — life jackets, in other words — must be readily accessible at all times, which means you can’t have them stuffed away in a closet or other compartment behind a bunch of other equipment. 

You’ll need a Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device for every occupant on board and anyone on water skis, tubes, or anything else towed behind the boat. You also need to have at least one Type IV throwable life preserver.

If your boat is less than 16 feet long, you might be accustomed to the idea that you don’t need wearable life jackets, but these days, you can’t get away with just Type IV preservers anymore. You’ll have to have wearable jackets for yourself and your fellow boaters, even in a 15-footer.

Fire Extinguishers

You need to have a B-1 type fire extinguisher if you’re on a motorboat that measures 26 feet or longer. That said, if you don’t have paid passengers, fuel tanks, or a way for explosive gasses to build up aboard your vessel, you don’t have to have an extinguisher by law.

Distress Signals

You need visual signals, such as flares and lights, to be reached quickly in an emergency. If your boat is less than 39.4 feet long, you’ll need a whistle, horn, or other sound-producing device for similar reasons.

Ducts

You also need two ventilation ducts for the engine and fuel tank compartments and a backfire flame arrestor.

What Other Boat Items Should You Have?

The following items might not carry legal requirements, but it is still in your best interests to have them on board:

Navigation System

Modern GPS systems and fish finders have made navigation far easier than it was even less than twenty years ago. Get a navigation system with these features and weather alerts to keep you on the right track.

Solar Panels

Solar panels are excellent for keeping your boat’s battery charged, so you never have to worry about the engine cranking over. On top of that, you can charge your cell phone and run other accessories without wasting fuel or battery power.

Coolers

While chilled drinks are nice for a hot day on the water, cold food can be a matter of health safety! If you go out on the water for long stretches, you don’t want your food to spoil, so get a high-performance cooler. Such a cooler is also perfect for anglers to keep fish fresh until returning to shore. 

A Safety Kit

Beyond the legally required safety items, there are some other items you’ll want to keep you safe on the water. A general boat safety kit should include the following items:

  • VHF radio
  • Boating knife
  • Duct tape
  • Spare clothes
  • Towels
  • Sunscreen
  • Zip ties
  • Bug repellent
  • First aid kit
  • A paddle

You’ll also need a dry, safe place to store these items, so keep a watertight bin on board for your safety kit.

How to Determine Necessary vs. Fun Accessories

If an accessory doesn’t make your time on the water safer, it’s just for fun. Take the following items as examples:

Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers

Having some sailing tunes playing in the background is awesome, and having speakers that can get soaking wet and still work just fine is even more awesome. They may not be necessary for your safety or regulatory compliance, but they make time on the water more interesting!

A Grill

Unless you spend days or weeks at sea, you can wait until you get back to shore to cook up your latest catches, but if it’s within your budget, it’s certainly convenient and a lot of fun to cook fish right away on a boat. 

Graphics

Personalizing your boat with some custom graphics makes it more personal and will likely up its “cool” factor, but the thing is, depending on what kind of graphics you get, you might be devaluing your boat should you ever want to sell it. Also, if the customization is poorly done, it can do more harm to your boat than good.

Get Your Boat Cleaning Necessities at Captains Preferred Products

Even with all of the above accessories checked off the list, you need to keep your boat in excellent shape, and that’s where cleaning accessories come in! Captains Preferred Products carries top-quality brushes, mitts, and soaps that boaters worldwide trust to preserve their floating investments. Check out our selection today!

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