If you just purchased a boat or have one that may need a little touch up, some simple modifications can be a fantastic way to make your experience that much better! We all know the “Bust Out Another Thousand” saying that accompanies these costly watercraft, so for this list we will target some pieces that can be easily and (relatively) cheaply applied to your vessel. We will also throw a couple in that you might want to pass on.
(pic: JC Pontoon)
No matter the type of boat, from center console to pontoon, storage for your electronics at the helm is usually lacking. This typically leads to your phone being out of reach in case of emergencies or taking up space where it can become a distraction and cause issues. There are countless options for phone mounts or storage compartments online. Find one that fits your needs and vessel and give it a shot!
This is probably the most overlooked when buying a boat. You can never have enough cup holders. They are incredibly versatile and easy to mount. Be sure to install a proper type for your available real estate. For instance, if you are installing a flush mount cup holder on your center console, it might be best not to have drain holes in the bottom where water can leak down and accumulate within!
Temporary Tackle Storage
When on the water, no one ever puts their tackle and gear away 100% of the time, no matter how much you like to think you do. You don’t want to have hooks, lures, or tools flopping around deck where they can lead to injuries. These forms of quick and speedy tackle storage are great for putting baits while changing frequently and much more. No more lost hooks and tools. They are extremely easy to install and a must have on a fishing boat.
As intimidating as it may seem, adding USB ports to your boat is quite easy, cheap, and YouTube has thousands of helpful tutorials. If it is something you are timid of doing, do not go on smoking holes in your boat. But if you’re up for it, they serve a great purpose while out on the water!
Following the previous topic, adding deck/directional lighting is very easy and cheap with modern LED technology. You can light a boat, get custom switches, and even add some USB charging all for under $100 assuming you already operate a battery on your boat. Remember, YouTube is free education!
(pic: Boating San Francisco)
So in this category, you can go cheap or go all out with budget. But upgrading your safety equipment such as batteries, life vests, bilge pump and more are fantastic ways to upgrade your vessel. This includes anything from new CO2 charged PFDs to automatic bilge pumps and countless more.
(pic: Birdsail Marine Design)
Proper Storage For Trash
This may be dumb to even put down, but how many times have you been in a boat and wondered where to put trash? Making a designated trash compartment or hanger for trash bags is a perfect way to cheaply benefit your rig. It is guaranteed to make your time on the water that much easier.
What should you NOT do...
Anything that adds way too much weight
If you’re on a smaller boat and don’t have a ton of horsepower behind it, you may think twice before adding that casting deck made of 3/4 inch plywood. Although it may seem like a good move, it will hurt you in the long run and may even make your vessel less enjoyable.
Going overboard on electronics
Listen, we get it. Technology has come a long way. But TYPICALLY you do not need a 55” screen at the helm with a 45” at the bow when this is a beater boat you are starting out in. If that is your thing and it makes you happy, by all means send it. But these may not be what you need/want. They do not guarantee you will catch more fish. They can be intimidating to use. They take up a lot of space and are expensive to replace when they go out. We are definitely not saying they don’t help in some situations. Just take into account your level of expertise and understanding of the fisheries you target and make your choice according with your boat. You may find, all the fanciness just isn’t for you and it’ll save you thousands!
Don’t cheap out on the important things
Money is a factor in many aspects of boating. But do not underestimate the risk that buying cheap materials can come with. This can be said about your motor, maintenance, PFDs, lighting, radios, and all other gear that can leave you in a pickle. When you’re in the water, things can go south quickly. Doesn’t matter fresh or saltwater. When you need to rely on your equipment, you will be so happy you took the time and got the proper items. Check reviews, watch videos, and talk to some local experts on any of these topics!