A good boat is never enough. If you want to get the most out of it, I suggest that you get a ton of accessories to increase its tracking and improve its buoyancy. Some accessories will help you navigate better and maintain your safety while you’re on a boating trip. If you’re thinking of what boat accessories to buy for your inflatable, you’re on the exact post.
Don’t get me wrong. A boat can still float and track on water even if you don’t have these things. But there’s a good reason why small stuff like pumps and vests are made. It increases your safety because as much as inflatables are unsinkable, you just can’t take chances. One violent bump and you might have one air chamber hissing out of air.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to pick which you would buy. It’s for sure that not all of us have the budget to splurge on boat essentials on a single purchase. Prioritize what you need and buy first the accessories that you will use right away.
To help you out, here are some of the basic accessories that you should get for your ride.
1. Life vest
Safety is always the number one priority when you go boating. Even a good swimmer can drown in the sea so make sure that you and your passengers wear life vests on every trip. This flotation device is actually required by law in many states like Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, and more. For those states that don’t impose any strict rule about wearing a life jacket, the U.S. Coast Guard sets a default law. Children under 13 years old should wear a fitting life vest when riding a boat.
For adults, I would suggest the O’Neill Wetsuit Life Vest since this is USCG-approved and it’s even used in extreme water sports like wakeboarding and surfing. The good thing about this vest is it has multiple foam segments but with little bulk, so you can still freely around your boat. If you’re wondering what boat accessories to buy, get this one first.
As for the kids, I can count on the O’Neill Superlite USCG-approved life vest. It can fit infants to toddlers of about 30 to 50 pounds of weight. Just be careful in getting the right size for your kiddo.
2. Outboard motor
If you’re hungry for speed, an outboard motor is what you should invest for on your accessories. This type of motor allows you to have a powerful (sometimes up to 50 hp) engine that you can mount out of the transom. This saves space in the cockpit and it’s easier to unmount for repairs.
But what’s the difference between having a trolling motor and an outboard one? Trolling motors are best for short-distance trips like a dock to lake journey and it’s usually the choice of boaters who have minimal weight capacity.
If you’re looking for an outboard motor to start with, I suggest that you check out the LEADALLWAY T4.0HP Four-Stroke Outboard Motor. This is a slower engine but not bad for starters who are just learning to handle the tiller. It’s compact and lightweight but you have to invest another 500 bucks for this accessory. But I swear if you’re thinking of boat accessories to buy, this is worthy.
3. Electric pump
Pumps that come in the boat package aren’t always as trusty as what you think it will be. This is why I suggest that you purchase another pump, and in this case, electric. Sure thing, hand pumps are handy, lightweight, and cheap, but they are only good when you have the time to spare.
Electric pumps are easier to operate and quicker if you’re always on the go. The only risk here is that too much pressure can over-inflate the boat and cause it to pop. Always follow the inflation instructions on your inflatable to avoid this from happening.
As a piece of unsolicited advice (yes, I like giving ‘em), I recommend the AirHead Hi-Pressure Pump. Remember that this is high-pressure so make use of the valves to adjust the pressure. This has a 10-feet cord so you can plug it into the closest possible electricity source.
There’s no problem when you have a small inflatable that you can easily lift with one hand. But when it comes to RIBs and those with motors, launching and storing it back would be a challenge. This is where getting a trailer becomes necessary as one of the boat accessories to buy. A trailer for inflatables has wheels and carriage so you no longer have to ask other people to help you out on your boat.
Trailers are important for non-foldable inflatables to make storage easy. For my boat with a payload of a maximum of 250 pounds, the SEAMAX Portable Hand Dolly Trailer is the best. It’s 10 feet with wheels that can run for a maximum of 10 km per hour in case you’re planning to tow it. The trailer itself is just 45 pounds.
Make sure to get the 2018 version as it has the stepless, adjustable hull support. It’s intimidating at approximately $250 but worth it.
One common problem with inflatable boats is it tends to drift during strong winds. And if you’re fishing or planning to have a stop-over in the middle of the sea, you’ll need an anchor set to keep you still. There are many anchor options that you can find but make sure that you get one that’s made for inflatables. You’re lucky if your boat came with it in the package, but like the pump, always questions its quality.
Anchors for bigger inflatables would need a heavier weight or it would drift together with the vessel. I would suggest the Zeele Outdoor Anchor Kit that bears a 3.5 pound galvanized anchor iron for the highest possible stability. As one of the boat accessories to buy, this comes with a 40-feet rope and a carabiner lock to secure the end of the cord on the boat. In case you dropped the rope on the water, the buoy ball would save you from diving and retrieving the anchor.
Having an inflatable vessel doesn’t mean that you can no longer mount a sail on board. You can equip your boat with a sail to let the wind work wonders on your tracking. However, it’s important to remember that not all boats can have the ability to accommodate sails. Catamarans are the best boats to use a sail because of the open cockpit and the D-rings dotting the floors and tubes.
It’s actually exciting to have this addition as you can see how the wind can affect your tracking. You will have the actual feeling of being a ‘sailor’ by hoisting the sails and navigating the waters with it.
Finding a sail that fits your boat could be a bit hard so I suggest that you have one tailored for your vessel. But if you have an inflatable kayak, you might want to consider getting the Autohelena Wind Sail Kit. You can attach it to the front or rear and see how your tracking goes.
7. Boat accessories to buy: Repair kits
Repair kits are your saving grace in times of punctures and holes. It’s a fact that you just can’t fix the boat in the middle of the water, but having a kit on board would help as a prevention method while you head back to the shore. A repair kit consists of patches, special glue, rollers, and other things that a sailor needs to fix a hole in the material.
You can’t predict when you’ll face an emergency like urgent patching, preventing a floor hole from letting water in, and other damages that can jeopardize your buoyancy.
If you have a pontoon boat, I would recommend that you invest in the Classic Accessories Pontoon Repair Kit. This consists of a spring clevis to secure the frame of your boat, inflation adapter so you can borrow and use almost any pump available in case you deflated, and more.
The kit also comes with non-corrosive oarlocks in case the ones in your boat popped into the water.
A light source like flashlights and waterproof signals will help you navigate in the dark or alert other people in times of emergencies. Navigation lights like these serve its purpose and if you’re serious about boating, I suggest that you get one too. It’s one of the most important boat accessories to buy on this list.
You’ll never know when a day trip can get longer or the rescue to be far behind your distance. You just can’t sit cold in the dark as it will make it hard for the rescuers to find you. If ever you don’t need rescue, the void of the sea gets blinding at night. Bigger vessels might also crash on you. It’s like road traffic, you see.
For an all-around choice, I’ll go for the Shoreline Marine 12” Fold Down Light. You can mount this at the stern using the pre-wired pigtail harness and the adapter if you’re placing it on an angled surface. In terms of luminosity, this small torch can light up like a lighthouse. And it’s less than $20.
Now that you know the boat accessories to buy, it’s time to look for what you need at the moment. Do you always bring your kid aboard or do you always tend to stay on the waters by nightfall? All these things will make a difference when it’s time for you to go on your next trip. Do you have something to add? Ping us below!