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Fishing Boat Safety Accessories.

Fishing Boat Safety Accessories. Man fishing.
One of the best ways to enjoy some beautiful weather is to spend a nice afternoon out fishing on a boat. However, owning a boat comes with a lot of responsibility.

Engine maintenance and driving expertise are essential aspects of ensuring that everyone can safely have a good time. But everything is not about you and your guests enjoying a day on the water or the fishing. The safety of everyone on board must be a constant priority.

There are many things you will need to keep you and your guest safe. This list will introduce you to the top 15 fishing boat safety accessories.

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Life jackets.

Life jackets or PFDs (Personal Floatation Devices.) are essential, you never know who on your boat may be able to swim or not swim.

Even if you are a competent swimmer, falling out of the boat into icy, rough or muddy waters with clothes on is a scary experience, compared to swimming in clear warm water in the swimming pool.

Also, there may be situations where an injury may have prevented someone from keeping their head above water. Lifejackets can help keep everyone remain afloat in the event of an emergency.

Some states and countries require you to wear one in certain size boats or while steering the boat.

While some PFD can be uncomfortable to wear, you can get some low profile ones that are less bulky. Also the fishing life jackets are handy. You can attach line clippers to it for convenience when cutting fishing line.


Boat fire extinguisher.

There are many reasons why you may encounter an accidental fire on a boat. Even small aluminum fishing boats can get into trouble.

Keeping a boat fire extinguisher onboard can be the difference between a small fire that is a temporary inconvenience and a large fire that can lead to significant injuries and disaster.

Please be aware that fire extinguishers have expiration dates. Always check to make sure yours is still valid before starting any boating or fishing trip.


First aid kit.

Emergencies can happen anywhere. Having a fully loaded first aid kit can often be the difference in making sure that aid can be rendered to someone injured on your boat. It also can give you more time until you can get them to a medical professional or until emergency medical personnel can reach you.

Do a first aid kit course to learn how to use the kit, or a refresher course to keep the knowledge up to date.

A dry bag can keep the kit all in one, will float and keep the items dry. (Sea to Summit has some clearly labelled dry bags with the international cross symbol for first aid. The bag is easy to spot in an emergency.)


Handheld radio for emergencies and EPIRBs for fishing.

If your onboard radio equipment fails or is damaged, your handheld radio can help you contact the emergency assistance you may need.

While having a radio on a boat is relatively standard on bigger boats, what about smaller fishing boats?

You can use your cell phone for an emergency, however you may not always have reception.  Also the battery can go flat, so having a handheld radio is an important backup communication device for safety reasons.

Also EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) and ELTs (Emergency Locator Transmitters) or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) are worth checking out. Whatever acronym or safety device you want to look into, they are getting cheaper every year. Some states and boating rules may require you to have one if you venture off shore fishing.


Boat flares.

In any catastrophe, time is of the essence. When emergency personnel is trying to find your boat, using boat flares can help them find you much faster, potentially saving a life.

Make sure you keep your flares stored in a secure and dry location. Accidental discharge can severely damage your boat and cause you to need some of the additional emergency and safety accessories on this list.

A mixture of smoke flares, star flares and parachute flares in different colors is a good idea, especially if you go offshore fishing way out.

Flares also have a used by date, so check their current.


Handheld compass.

Directional awareness is vital in situations where all other means of navigation have failed. A handheld compass can help you make it home safely as opposed to being stranded for hours.

Again you can use your cell phone apps, or even a dedicated GPS, but they can fail, so a compass can give you piece of mind.

In bigger waterways or for saltwater fishing, ideally have mariner’s maps on board.

I have been trout fishing in a big waterway, when the fog has come in thick. It lasted for around three hours and was scary being disorientated in the boat until the fog lifted.

For information on using a compass easily, click on – How to use a compass. While the article is designed for campers and backpackers, the principles are the same for waterways.


Tool kit.

A tool kit is a must-have accessory in any vehicle, it may even be more vital on the boat. You never know what tools you may need in a critical situation until you do not have them. A full tool kit should be mandatory on every boat.

Do not hesitate to talk to your boat manufacturer to discuss any specific tools they suggest you always have on your boat.


Flashlights / Spotlight for fishing.

A spotlight can help you find abnormalities in the water or help you locate other boaters. A flashlight is just as important as it may help you find essential accessories on your boat in a dark or low light environment.

Check your state game regulations or coastguard about what boat lights you need. Such as bow and stern light and port and starboard lights if you’re fishing boat is over a certain size.

If you fish at dawn or dusk or even do some night fishing, a headlight is useful for baiting up the hook, to tying knots and for a spare torch.

(See my review on the Olight i3E EOS flashlight review. This is a top little keychain flashlight that makes a good third back up emergency light.)


Solar Panels.

For bigger fishing boats, solar panels are a great boating accessory. They can help provide emergency power if the need should arise that a charge is needed for an engine, communication device, or more.



While not a boating safety item by itself, coolers are a great fishing boat accessory for several reasons. Most boaters use them to either store fish or keep their drinks cold. It is always great to have a cooler or two onboard if extra space is needed.

Also for safety in hot weather it is important to keep hydrated, so if the chiller box keeps the drinks cold and encourages you to drink more, than job done.

Personal medications that require them to be kept cold can also be stored in the cooler box.

Boating Tip – Freeze the water bottles and use them for ice blocks. This saves on buying ice and can also double up for drinking water if you run out of water.


Extra rope.

Having extra rope on your boat can come in handy in many instances. It is a multiple-use item that is often used to help tow other boats and even help another boat tow you.

For rough waters or deep water, extra rope can be handy to extend the anchor rope.



Engine failure can happen at any time. You may have an engine damaged while on the water or suffer some type of mechanical failure.

Oars or paddles may not be a glamorous boating accessory. Still, they are very convenient when you have no other options.


Rain jackets and towels.

It is great to go out on the boat and enjoy some time on the water when it is hot, possibly even jumping in for a swim when the fishing is slow. There is nothing worse than forgetting to bring your towels.

Having a spare towel stored can come in handy when fishing, not just only after swimming either. You can put it on hot bare aluminum seats for seating comfort.

Keeping an extra rain jacket on your boat stored is great if the weather turns bad. This is especially important for any friends that head out fishing with you, they may forget to bring a rain jacket, so a spare jacket can be useful for warmth.

Remember to check the weather before you head out.



Any number of crazy situations may cause your boat to start taking on water, or a large amount of water may somehow end up splashed in your boat. Having the convenience of buckets of many different sizes can help you quickly remove water from your boat and prolong your time afloat or prevent your boat from sinking altogether.

You can buy dedicated bailing buckets or a standard pail will do the trick. Buckets are also useful for a wee bucket on the water.

Also the bucket is handy combined with a sponge or cloth for cleaning up the boat for any fish blood and scales.


Skin protection.

In the excitement of preparing for a day on the water, it’s easy to forget about proper skin protection. So for hot days, a wide brimmed hat, Polarized sunglasses, loose long sleeve clothing and sunscreen should be worn. Avoiding getting sunburnt can keep you concentrating better on catching fish and not being uncomfortable all day.

For bass fishing in swampy areas, remember to bring the bug spray on your boat.


Conclusion – Fishing Boat Safety Accessories

When it comes to boating safety, there are also obvious behaviors to avoid. You should always avoid alcohol while driving a boat. Failure to follow safe boating laws and regulations can lead to the need to use one or more items on this list.

Be careful boating in shallow waters around rocky areas or places with submerged trees. Refrain from driving your boat at excess speeds or performing reckless maneuvers like turning to sharp.

This is not a complete list of fishing boat safety accessories by any means. You might need extra items and supplies depending on several factors, including the type of boat you will be on, the type of activities you will be participating in, the type of water you will be in, etc.

Use this list as a guide to get you started enjoying safe boating and fishing adventures. As you talk to other boaters and fisherman and gain more experience on the water, you will be introduced to additional boat accessories that will more specifically suit your needs.

Keep safe and hope you catch the big one!


Additional resources.

Keep your boat engine serviced regularly, for information about maintaining your boat, visit Fishing boat maintenance.

If you do some kayak fishing, you might find this article helpful – Kayak Fishing Safety Gear.