Must Have Boat Accessories (2021) | Boats, Watercrafts

Written by Carolyn Jackson

It’s 80 degrees with a slow, steady breeze. You can hear the lapping of the waves crash against the side of your boat. Ahhhh, “heaven,” you think. “But wouldn’t it be nice if….”


If you’ve ever had this thought pop in your head while enjoying your boat, then this article is made for you. We will discuss the Must Have Boat Accessories (2021) — this list has ten boat accessories that you don’t need but could have. Our list ranges from safety-oriented items to convenience-oriented items, as well as items designed just for plain fun. 


After-market upgrades are an exciting way to get the most out of your boat. They make accessories for kids, fishers, wakeboarders, partiers, cooks, and everything in-between. This article covers some of the most popular accessories for boat owners to enhance their summer fun. Are they looking for a guide on necessary accessories like boat trailers? Check out our ultimate guide.


Key Takeaways:

  • Our top ten best boat accessories list focuses on those after-market upgrades that enhance your boating experience, not the required equipment. 
  • What accessories you purchase depends on how you use your boat, where you use your boat, and what type of boat you have.
  • There are hundreds of boat accessories to choose from; see our section on where to buy accessories to keep browsing.


Overview of Boat Accessories

Boat accessories are after-market upgrades and add-ons designed to make your boating experience safer, more convenient, and sometimes more fun. Of course, there are some accessories every boat owner needs to have, such as a flare gun, a first aid kit, life jackets, anchors, etc. This list, however, is geared more towards the things that are nice to have. Although none of the items on this Top Ten list are necessary, some of them add to your safety and security while onboard a boat. Others are simply fun.


For more information on equipment that is required for boat owners, take a look at this blurb on required accessories by boat size. 


The Ultimate List: Top Ten Boat Accessories

Our top ten boat accessories range from practical to just plain fun. Some are designed with safety in mind, while others are designed to make your experience out on the water more convenient and enjoyable. Pick and choose the accessories that best work for your boat and how you use them to make your boating experiences even more memorable. 


Telescopic Boat Hook

A boat hook can help you dock and undock. They are designed to make it easy to get your boat closer to a dock or the dock lines so you can safely board or de-board the boat. We all know docking a boat can be tricky, but a Boat Hook can make it a piece of cake, so you can worry about other things… like remembering to re-apply that SPF! 


Telescopic Boat Hook - Must Have Boat Accessories

How Much Does it Cost? $10-$50

Floating VHF Handheld Radio

Depending on where you are on the water, cell phone service can get spotty or even non-existent. Especially if you will be out for hours (or days) at a time, a VHF Handheld Radio is a worthy investment. VHF (very high frequency) radios allow instant communication between your boat and other boats, marinas, bridges, and the United States Coast Guard (USCG). In an emergency, a VHF radio is the best way to signal and communicate for help quickly on the water. 


Floating VHF Handheld Radio-must have boat accessories

How Much Does it Cost: $50-$200

Pontoon Grill Basket Set

This Pontoon Grill Bracket Set is a super convenient and safe way to continue the fun on the water with easy access to grilling out. Pontoons are a party boat, and a full day out on the water with the family will leave you hungry for some good food. Standing grills can be dangerous if they leak or drop hot coals, so this alternative designed specifically for Pontoons is a great option to keep the party going. 


Pontoon Grill Basket Set - must have boat accessories

How Much Does it Cost? $50


Inflatable Boat Slide

Just add water. An adage of parents desperate for their kids to occupy themselves with activity have benefited from for years. Well, if a boat and the open water weren’t enough, you can also just add a slide. Fun for kids and adults alike, this inflatable boat slide will make your boat the talk of the lake. Easy to inflate and deflate for storage and traveling, this slide will guarantee a good time. 


Inflatable Boat Slide - must have boat accessories

Non-Tipping Can Cooler

Have you ever been on your boat and watched in slow-motion as a drink spills all over the seat, floor, or table? All it takes is a small wave or a powerful gust of wind, and BAM, you’ve got a clean-up on aisle 9. Spills happen. And spilling your drink on a boat is all the more likely. Fortunately, there is a pretty cool contraption that can help with that spillage. Enter the Non-Tipping Can Cooler. This device suctions to any surface and is essentially un-tippable. So you can continue to drive the boat or reel in a fish without worrying that your drink will tip over. As a bonus, the drink sleeve also keeps your drink cool for longer, and it looks pretty sleek, too. 


Non-Tipping Can Cooler

How Much Does it Cost? $20-$50


A Bimini Top

If you have fair-skinned friends or relatives, you know how important shade is to them. Even if you do not lack melanin, a break from the strong summer sun can be welcomed. Some boats come with a bimini top from the manufacturer, but if yours didn’t, adding one is a surprisingly easy weekend DIY project. Adding a bimini top to your boat can make cruising around all day a little more comfortable for everyone aboard. 


A Bimini Top

How Much Does it Cost? Between $50 and $400


Suction Cup Boat Trash Bag

Some boats have a built-in trash can, but even if yours does, those can fill up quickly while out on the water. Having a second (or first) trash can might be worth it, especially if you have a larger group. This suction cup boat trash bag is an affordable and practical option. It suctions to any hard surface and has a hinged cover to prevent the trash from flying out and bugs from getting in. A trash can is an essential boating accessory to help keep the waters free from the trash as well as your boat. 


Suction Cup Boat Trash Bag

How Much Does it Cost? $15-$20


Underwater LED Light

Boating at night is a unique experience. Many boats nowadays have after-market upgrades to enhance night cruising, such as LED lights. This specific LED Light goes right in your boat’s drain plug and creates a bright-colored glow in the water underneath your boat. Not only does it look super cool, but it is also an added safety feature to make it easier for other boats to see where you are and your average size. 


Underwater LED Light

How Much Does it Cost? $50-$100



If you are an angler, a fish finder and depth finder might be a great accessory to add to your boat. There are some great options on the market by brands like Garmin and Humminbird. You can expect to pay as little as $200 and up to a couple thousand for a fishfinder. It all depends on what you want the device to do. Some of them only find fish, while others also have built-in GPS or depth finders as well. Some are designed for specific fish, types of water, or types of boats as well. Here is an example of a Garmin model fishfinder

Fishfinder - Must Have Boat Accessories

How Much Does it Cost? $200-$2,000


Digital Battery Charger

A digital battery charger is a lifesaver if you cruise for hours or days at a time or if you only use your boat every so often. You’ll want to have a battery charger handy to make sure you are left dead in the water with no juice to power your electronic components within the boat. This Minn Kota digital battery charger is a well-rounded and reliable solution. It will deliver results as well as peace of mind that your boat will always have the proper charger, sustaining your battery’s life, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it prematurely. 


Digital Battery Charger

How Much Does it Cost? $100-$700


Where to Buy Boat Accessories

Your dealership is always a good place to start looking for boat accessories. They will have a smaller selection, and the prices will be slightly higher. Still, if you buy from a boat dealership, most of their products come with the manufacturer warranty, installation, and the expert knowledge of the dealers and mechanics. You can also find the most popular boat accessories online on the manufacturer’s website or a site like Amazon. Outdoor stores like Bass Pro Shop or Cabela’s are also great places to look in person for boat accessories. Finally, your local marina will likely have some selection of the more popular and basic boat accessories as well. 


More Tips and Tricks About Boats

There are hundreds of boat accessories and after-market upgrades that you can add to your boat. They range from practical and useful to fun and over-the-top. What you spend your money on depends on how you use your boat, where you use your boat, what type of boat you have, and who is using the boat. The good news is that there is no shortage of options for cool add-ons. 


In addition to accessories, some other articles we’ve written have useful links to other boat-related products, such as cleaning products, boat covers, and boat trailers. Take a look!



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