Fishing is a great pastime and stocking your boat with the below items make the difference between a great day on the water or an abrupt end to a trip. In more serious cases situations could even become life threatening without the right boat accessories. Here is a list of the essential must-have items to stock in your boat before heading out on any fishing trip.
Inexpensive and easy to store, not to mention it can provide extremely useful in many ways out on the water. For instance, protecting frayed wires to securing transducer cords, a few rolls should always be stocked on your boat each season.
Cable ties are available in a wide variety of sizes and will undoubtedly save the day in many ways. Cable ties can be used to secure roads together when the water gets rough and the sticks start jumping around. Cable ties are also very convenient for batteries that become loose out of trays, for re-securing transducers and many other things in the boat.
Although it may be warm and calm on shore, on the water it can be a very different situation. Weather out at sea can change at the drop of a hat. Make sure you have everything you need to face any kind of weather, always carry extra jackets, jumpers, pants, socks and gloves in a storage compartment. For easy storage keep your clothes neat and organized in a waterproof bag. Extra clothes can also be a lifesaver when it comes to someone falling overboard.
Ensure you have enough PFD’s on board so every passenger has one readily available. If you have children onboard, make sure their life jackets properly fit. It is important to make sure they are USCG approved. It is also a good idea to bring a spare life jacket for those impromptu evening fishing trips with friends and coworkers. Also, in the event of an emergency you may come across someone in another boat without a life jacket. This will save their life. Even for just a short visit on the lake, you need to have life jackets available in case you end up in the water. Even if you are an expert swimmer you still want to make sure you have them available.
First Aid Kit
It is always good to have a first aid kit handy in case of an emergency. If you are going to be spending a lot of time out on your boat, you should have a first aid kit with you to prevent you from any issue you may face such a dehydration, heatstroke, or dry and itchy skin, etc. Keep a first aid kit onboard that has some of the basics such as bandages, gauze, aspirin, antibiotic cream, antiseptic lotion, instant cold compress etc. Along with this, always keep a sufficient supply of drinking water.
Signal Horn, Flares & Radio
A signal horn is always good to have onboard in case of emergency, fog or a warning signal. They store away easily, even a flare gun kit in case you are stranded on a large lake. Flares are good to have on hand, it is one of the most effective ways to let others know that you are having a problem, having a flare is the best way to ensure that you get the help straight away when anything goes wrong. A radio is good for those times when you are far away from shore, no one is around and you need to call for help. In case of emergency, you can use your radio to call another boat or the coast guard. A radio is an essential part of boating communication that you must have.
GPS-enabled electronics are extremely useful for ensuring you get back to the dock. A hand-held compass should be on board every craft, especially for those that fish in big open waters or after dark.
A small tool kit should be kept on board your boat. Supplied with a selection of screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers and a knife should all cover the bases. Rather than taking a whole tool box, another option is a multi tool, this is a great, compact tool that can make repairs to wires and tighten loose screws and bolts. This tool can do almost anything and takes up a lot less space than a tool box.
No matter what type of boat you have ensure you have paddles. Mechanical problems are inevitable and can always leave you stranded in the middle of a lake and you need some way to get back to shore. Paddles are a great way to ensure you have the ability to get back to shore.
Never set out on the water without one. Even if you are not in danger they are very handy to have, but always ensure the batteries work and that you have a spare set with you at all times.
Sunscreen and Bug Repellent
When you plan to go fishing, chances are you are going to be out in the sun all day. As water reflects light, sunburn can happen even faster on the water and more than often without you noticing especially with a cooling breeze out on the water. In order to stop yourself from getting sunburnt make sure you apply sunscreen before you leave and also reapply every hour. A hat or a boat canopy is also an effective way to protect yourself from excessive sun exposure and lessens the risk of heat stroke.
Every fisherman should carry at least two long lengths of rope on their boat, at a minimum of 50 feet each. The ropes will come in handy in case you or someone else is stranded in the water. Also, someone will be able to tow you to shore in the event that you or another boat breaks down and needs help, or even as a dock tie.
If you are planning on docking, going to the beach, or in an emergency situation, it is a must to have the correct size anchor. Always keep an anchor on board for the rear of the boat and also for the front of the boat. An anchor can also make life easier on a windy day or when you locate a great school of fish so you can see what you are doing and gently hold the boat with the anchor. This means less trolling motor noise and more bites. It can also be used as a safety tool if you boat loses motor power, you can sometimes anchor up instead of letting your boat blow into the rocks or get pulled downstream.
Most of this equipment is optional but highly recommended. However make sure your boat’s equipped with essentials that are required by law such as your current boat registration otherwise you may be subject to a hefty fine. Have a great and safe time on your boat.
As the former President of the Boating Industry Association, Rod’s passion for boating and fishing is utilized in his current role as Managing Director of CH Smith. Offering his masterful expertise, Rod ensures that customers leave with a love for the sea that parallels his own.