You’ve got the captain’s hat. You’re bringing the cooler. But what else do you need—or want—to have fun and stay safe on the water this summer?

There are literally hundreds of great boat accessories on the market, plus lots of safety gear to choose from. We’ve compiled a list of practical and fun items you’ll want to keep on your boat this summer. Scroll down for a list of what to leave at home, too.


First the fun…

A mounted grill – Treat everyone to a BBQ out on the open water. You can find boat grills in gas, charcoal, and electric. Just make sure to wait to grill until the boat has stopped, and don’t leave it unattended.

An inflatable boat slide – Everyone loves a boat slide! Choose one that inflates quickly, stores compactly, and holds adults as well as children. Durability is a plus.

Tow tubes – Give your passengers a ride on the waves using a tow tube. These fun accessories come in different shapes and sizes and accommodate a range of ages. Make sure you check the maximum weight and rider limit and equip all of your riders with life jackets.

Speakers – Crank up the tunes with some great speakers that are waterproof and can stand up to the elements, including wind, sun, and the motion of your boat.

Fish finder – Take the guesswork out of fishing. Today’s fish finders feature digital screens and include systems like GPS, electronic compasses, and radar. Starting at about $100, these instruments can go into the $1,000s.



Then the practical…

10-in-1 Boat Tool – This is the “Swiss Army Knife” of boat tools with every gadget imaginable. Not only does it include a fishing line cutter, a marine gas cap key, and a safety whistle, it includes a beer and wine bottle opener.

Telescopic boat hook – Until you have one, you don’t realize how useful these are! These hooks help you retrieve items that fall in the water. They also help you more easily get hold of the dock lines attached to pilings.

Underwater LED lights – If you take your boat out at night, an underwater light can help your boat be seen in the dark. These lights can come in different colors and add a cool ambiance.

Non-tipping can cooler – The rocking motion of your boat can easily tip your drinks. Secure them, and keep them cold, in a non-tipping can cooler.

Boat fenders – These cushions absorb the impact of bumps against docks and other boats.



And the necessities…

Don’t forget to pack a boat emergency kit full of the boat safety basics:

    • Life jackets and throwable personal flotation devices in case someone goes overboard
    • Fire extinguishers (check the regulations to see how many you need for the size of your boat)
    • First aid kit, including motion sickness remedies
    • VHF Radio for communications
    • Signal flares (both visual and sound)
    • Waterproof flashlight
    • A way to get weather updates
    • Basic tool kit for repairs and basic maintenance


Remember to leave these at home…

    • Spray sunscreen which can leave a slippery film on deck
    • Shoes with dark soles that leave marks
    • Cigarettes/cigars that can accidentally cause a fire
    • Perfume that attracts bees and can cause nausea in close quarters
    • Glass containers that could shatter
    • Plastic grocery bags that could fly off the boat and clog waterways

Finally, check your boat insurance. Make sure you’re fully protected from accidents, uninsured boaters, and liability claims.

Happy boating!


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or



California Casualty

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