18+ Must Have Boating Accessories – Things Every Boater Needs

Need some new gear for your boat? Read on to find out all about the essential accessories for this season’s fun!

boating accessories guide

With summer just around the corner, now is a perfect time for boaters to pick up a couple must have boating accessories. Investing in some new gear is a great way to make days on the water safer, easier, and even more fun than they already are.

Below is a list of must have boating accessories for every watercraft out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re searching for sailboat, pontoon boat, or bass boat accessories, this list has something for everyone.

If you enjoy any of the items on this list, be sure to share it with some friends!

Must Have Boat Accessories

The best, must have boat accessories are tow tubes, bungee dock line, dry bags, boat grill, boat fenders, diving board, fishing rod holder, first aid kit, marine gps, and life jackets. 

1. Tow Tubes

First things first, is it even a lake day if you don’t bring any tow tubes? We have an entire list of the best towable tubes, but these are a few of our favorites.

O’Brien Super Screamer 

O'Brien Super Screamer Blue Towable Tubes

The O’Brien Super Screamer is the perfect two-person towable tube. It has 6 support handles, all of which have knuckle guards so no one’s hands get hurt while riding. Even though the Super Screamer isn’t anything fancy, it gets the job done and it lasts forever.

Airhead Hotdog Towable 

Airhead Hot Dog towable tubes

It kind of goes without saying, but the Hotdog Towable is mostly just for the “wow” factor. That being said, it actually works pretty well and is surprisingly durable. This tow tube will for sure turn some heads as you pass by on the water.

Super Mable Towable 

super mable towable tubeThe Super Mable is the perfect choice for anyone with lots of extended family that likes to tag along on lake days. It’s great for all ages, but kids especially like it because they can sit down while riding. The Super Mable has 3 sizes, the largest of which seats 4 people.

Regardless of which tow tube you go with, be sure you have the proper tow rope to go with it. Always be cautious while towing passengers, and be aware of the rules and regulations of the waterway you’re on.

2. Bungee Dock Line

A bungee dock line is a pretty basic item used for boating, but it’s still important nonetheless. Although there are a lot of cheap options out there, it’s worth it to pay a little more for a good quality dock line. After all, no one wants their boat running away because of some cheap dock line.

It also may be a good idea to invest in some extra boat cleats. They don’t cost that much and it’s always nice to have a few extras.

Airhead Bungee Dock Line

bungee dock line


This bungee dock line is probably the best in the business. It absorbs shocks to boats and docks and prevents the boat from rubbing and chafing.

It’s recommended for PWCs and boats of no more than 4,000 pounds and has a tensile strength of 2,150 pounds.

As far as these things go, it doesn’t get much better than this offering from Airhead.

3. Dry Box & Dry Bagmust have boating accessories dry bag

It’s safe to say that keeping electronics and other valuables dry is pretty important, but that can be hard to do when you’re surrounded by water. Luckily there are some great dry boxes and dry bags out there.

Dry boxes are great if you only intend on using it on your boat, but if you plan on carrying your stuff around, you’re better off going with a dry bag instead.

This dry bag from Earth Pak will last for years and keep the most precious devices free from water damage.

It even comes with a fully waterproof phone case with a transparent housing so you never miss those important messages or picture opportunities.

4. Boat Grillmust have boating accessories grill

If you spend full days on the water, then a boat grill is definitely one of those must-have boating accessories. Some of the options out there are advertised as pontoon boat grills, but usually, they can be mounted to other types of boats as well.

Once you get a grill, a boat grill mount can be used to attach it to the railing on a boat. After that, it’s smooth sailing…or would it be smooth grilling?

5. Boat Fenders

boat fenders

There aren’t many must have boating accessories that are actually must-haves, but a set of boat fenders really are essential. They’re fairly cheap and can save you thousands of dollars if your precious vessel ever gets a little too close to a dock post.

Most boat fenders are pretty universal so don’t worry about shopping around for any specific brand. As long as the measurements match up, you’re good.

6. Diving Board

must have boating accessories

One of the best past times of lake days is diving into the cold water to cool off. Well, with a diving board, you can take things to a whole new level. They can be a little on the pricey side, but they’re definitely a really cool upgrade that few other people will have.

Keep in mind that there’s usually a little bit of an installation process, but it’s normally pretty simple to do. Once installed, a diving board can provide years of fun times.

7. Fishing Rod Holder

pontoon boat fishing rod holder

Boating and fishing go hand in hand, but unless you want a fishing rod in your hand the entire day, you might want to look into a fishing rod holder. Good rod holders are must have fishing boat accessories, and they really make life easier on the water.

There are plenty of different rod holders out there, just be sure to invest in a quality one or you risk losing your rod. Also, check to see if the rod holder comes with a mounting system, otherwise you’ll need to purchase one separately.

8. PFD (Personal Flotation Device)

Personal floatation device

A PFD, or personal flotation device, is arguably one of the most important things you can carry on a watercraft. Not only are there laws requiring it, but it’s a very practical item to have.

One problem with PFDs is their bulky, uncomfortable fit. Luckily there have been some great strides towards improving them in recent years. You can now get slim-fitting life jackets that are comfortable, and they’re not a hassle to wear for the day.

This one from Onyx is specially designed with flexibility and freedom of movement in mind. To learn more, check out my article on the best life jackets for jet skis

9. Fun Floatsmust have boating accessory float

Just like tow tubes, a couple of fun floats are must have boating accessories. Picking up a crazy looking inflatable swan or an inflatable banana is a guaranteed way to have some fun while catching a few stares.

Remember that there’s a difference between floats and tow tubes. If you try getting towed on an inflatable swan, it won’t be long until you end up with a deflated pile of rubber.

10. Safety Kit

first aid kit

Every vessel should always have some sort of safety or first aid kit on board. You can either purchase a pre-made safety kit or make one yourself. It doesn’t matter which route you take as long as you have something to keep first aid and emergency supplies in.

Other than the typical first aid supplies, some important items to consider keeping besides a safety kit are:

Safety kits are going to vary from person to person, so there is no set list of items to have. Even if you buy a kit, it never hurts to add a few of your own items. Things like an extra change of clothes or a few pieces of survival gear are great additions.

11. Cooler Mounting Kit

boating cooler

Coolers are a pretty big no brainer when it comes to must have boating accessories, but a lot of people are unaware of cooler mounting kits.

Essentially a cooler mounting kit just gives your cooler a more permanent home on board and keeps it from sliding around.

You can see our list of recommended jet ski cooler racks here.

12. Solar Charger

marine solar charger

Not too long ago solar power was pretty expensive, and not very efficient. Now you can get a solar charger that works great for charging all of your devices, and all you have to do is leave it out in the sun. Leaving a solar charger out on the deck of your boat is an easy way to ensure you always have a little extra power when you need it.

Solar chargers come in tons of shapes and sizes, so it really comes down to what you’re looking for. Some are just strong enough to charge phones, while others can charge a car battery.

13. Boat Shoes

boating accessory shoesIf boat shoes aren’t on your list of must have boating accessories, they should be. Flip flops, sandals, or even going barefoot for a while may work, but some high-quality boat shoes can’t be beaten.

Recently boat shoes have become surprisingly stylish, and aren’t the bulky uncomfortable pieces of rubber that they used to be.

Aside from looking better, boat shoes also function much better as well. For the most part, they’re much more comfortable, breathable, and durable than they used to be.

No one likes getting a cut on their foot, so most people will find that it’s worth it to invest in some good quality boating footwear.

14. Super Soakersuper soaker water toy

It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or an adult, a water gun fight is always a fun time. Super Soaker has always been the leader of the industry, and picking up a few of them is a guaranteed way to have a blast.

15. Marine GPS & Fishfinder

best jet ski gps

A marine GPS is great not only for navigation but for geocaching and fish finding as well. If you already own a marine GPS, consider looking into a new one. The technology behind them has come a long way in recent years, and they’re much more accurate than they used to be.

I suggest buying this Garmin GPS Fish Finder.

We have an entire guide dedicated to the best PWC fish finer units and everything you need to know before buying one. If you’re even considering buying one, be sure to check that out.

16. Floating Drink Holder

must have boat accessories

During the summer it gets hot, and you’re more than likely going to be spending a significant amount of time in the water. The only problem is you don’t want to be stuck holding a drink while you’re trying to cool off.

Well, with a floating drink holder, that problem is eliminated. It’s kind of a novelty item, but they do have a little bit of practical use as well.

17. Pontoon Slide

inflatable pontoon slide

A boat slide is one of those things that most people wish they knew about as a kid but didn’t. The good news is, you can now get one as an adult.

A boat slide is a great addition to any lake day, and it will keep kids occupied for hours. Usually, they’re a little on the pricey side, but once you see how people react to it you’ll more than likely find it worth the money.

This inflatable pontoon slode can be attached in less than 5 minutes and is constructed of heavy-duty polyester reinforced PVC.

18. Boat AnchorBoat anchor

Anchors are must have boating accessories for pretty obvious reasons. Without one, it’d be pretty difficult to stay in one spot for very long. Anchors can be great tools for fishing, geocaching, or simply just hanging out.

There are plenty of good boat anchors for every situation imaginable, but mushroom anchors are perhaps the most well rounded.

Do you have anything to add to our guide? We’d love to hear about your essential boating accessories down in the comments section!

  1. A lake day just isnt the same without tubing!

  2. Nice suggestions
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