Five Gadgets You Don't Want to Leave the Dock Without
We’ve got the line on five gadgets boaters can bring with them to enhance the boating experience and the fun. Christmas is closer than you think, and these are great gift options for the boater on your list.
This is the perfect gadget for the avid fisherman. Why spend hours looking for that elusive school of bass? The technology exists for you to hone in on where the fish are congregating. A fish finder is an instrument used to locate fish underwater by detecting reflected pulses of sound energy, as in sonar. This is cool tech for any angler worth his salt.
Waterproof Camera and Tripod
Capture memories on the water with a waterproof camera. A tripod will allow you to set up and snap the perfect shot. There is so much magic that happens when you are enjoying life on your pontoon. Keep the memories forever and share the moments with your friends.
Spill-Proof Dog Dish
What does your ol’ pup love more than speeding across the water with you on your Bennington pontoon? You love spending time with your furry best friend, swimming and fishing on the lake, but don’t leave the dock without a spill-proof dog dish for your canine companion. Dogs need to drink a lot of water to keep cool since they don’t perspire as humans do. You don’t want them to be thirsty or feel overheated, and you don’t want to have to turn around on a perfectly gorgeous day of boating. A spill-proof bowl keeps your dog hydrated and happy.
Part of what is exciting about boating is that anything can happen. Some surprising moments are positive, such as spotting a rainbow or meteor shower, while others can throw you for a loop. Don’t let an unexpected incident upset your entire day on the water. A well-packed emergency kit includes some first-aid essentials, such as bandages and antibiotic ointment, a whistle to be heard across great distances, a flare in case you get stranded in the dark, a warm sweater in case someone ends up overboard and the night air is setting in, and a knife, which could, quite literally, save your life.
Waterproof Phone Case
Whether you are trying to photograph that perfect summer sunset from the back of your pontoon or are using your phone’s flashlight to investigate something in the water, if your hand is wet, your phone can easily slip and fall into the water. Even a big splash from your cannonballing child or the shower that inevitably accompanies a wet dog can soak a phone innocently resting on a previously dry seat. We all need to have our phones when we’re out boating. How did we ever get along without it for safety, convenience, and comfort? It is the ultimate boater’s accessory. However, it’s no good to us when it gets wet. Keep it safe and dry with a sturdy waterproof phone case.
Which of these gadgets do you think you’ll use most on your boat?
Gone Fishin’: Pontoon Fishing Accessories for Reel Fun
By: Better Boat
You’re drifting slowly in your pontoon at dawn on crystal clear water, so calm it looks like glass. You have a fishing rod in one hand, a coffee in the other, and you’re taking it all in as the sun begins to rise over the horizon. Sounds like heaven.
We’re talking a relaxing and pleasant fishing experience on your pontoon boat.
Pontoon Fishing for Reel Fun
For those of you who are new to fishing, a trolling motor is a removable motor that allows you to troll the pontoon slower than your regular motor while having your hands free to fish. It’s controlled by a remote control or foot peddle.
When I say removable, I mean you can take it off and put it back on with ease every time you use it. I love this feature because it allows you to have the extra space when you aren’t fishing and are just cruising with the family. A trolling motor is also battery powered and can be recharged by plugging it into an electrical outlet.
Most fishing enthusiasts will tell you there are other benefits to trolling. Trolling motors allow you to get into areas where your bigger motor can’t go. You can raise your bigger motor out of the water when using the trolling motor in shallower water.
Depending on the type of fish you’re looking to catch, trolling your lure in the water can be a great way to simulate the natural movement of live bait, increasing your potential for reeling in a big one.
I personally have experience using a Minn Kota and I can say it scores big points for durability and longevity in my books. We’ve had ours for years and it remains a great addition to our pontoon fishing experience.
I always suggest that you do your research and decide what’s the best option for your individual fishing needs and price point.
Built-in livewells are excellent features because they can be filled directly from the lake or ocean (and some livewells can also be installed with this feature).
The purpose of a livewell/baitwell is to keep the oxygen flowing in the water, so the fish or bait stay alive while you fish. This is particularly useful for catch-and-release fishing tournaments where your score depends on the total weight or size of fish count that are eventually thrown back into the water.
I love livewells because they promote responsible fishing in areas that have conservation laws and rules about how many fish you can keep. You can keep fish as you catch them and then release the ones you don’t want, as you upgrade on your catch.
Fishing rod holders are great for pontooners who love to fish with more than one rod in the water. This, of course, would increase your chances for catching your dinner but I would definitely check the rules in the area where you’re fishing as many lakes, rivers and bays have stipulations on how many rods you’re allowed to have in the water at once, depending on what you’re fishing for and what’s in season.
There are many different kinds of rod holders and brands. Depending on the type of fishing you want to do, I recommend making sure your holder matches the strength of your rod and will stay firmly in place when ‘the big one’ takes the bait.
Causes, Prevention and What to do When one Falls Overboard
Pic By: Manitou
Typically, falling overboard is not an issue when it comes to pontoon boats. Pontoons boats are not made for oceans and large waves, so the chances are that you will not find yourself in a serious situation.
Nevertheless, I think it’s worth discussing what to do in case you encounter an emergency like this while on another type of boat.
Why People Fall Overboard
Here are some of the reasons why people fall overboard:
Excess Alcohol/Drug Consumption and Intoxication
According to foxnews.com, Jim Walker, a maritime attorney general, holds that 40 percent of the overboard fallings are caused by alcohol consumption, while the others could fit into the 60 percent.
In addition to this, the cruise lines claim to carry out precautionary measures to handle the situation of overboard fallings. Structural barriers, uniform minimum railings which are like four feet high, with other measures to prevent a fall. But when the alcohol is brought into contemplation, we know that the impossible becomes possible.
Suicide is another threatening cause for overboard falling. People fall overboard to end their pain and suffering.
According to several witnesses in cases of an overboard falling, it is believed that some deliberately go overboard or, in simpler terms, plunge into the water.
However, in most cases, suicide isn’t conclusive because there are no witnesses.
Reckless Behavior and Accidental Falling
People tend to carry out activities that could put them at risk, sometimes to put up a show, or to feed their social media viewers. I
Most actions that can be termed as reckless are; climbing the railings of a moving ship, exploring one's acting skills in risky places, taking pictures in a precarious position close to the ship’s railing. An involvement in horseplay tends to explain a reckless act on a moving boat directly.
How to Avoid Falling Overboard
Here are the necessary steps to take to avoid falling overboard:
Drink Responsibly and Avoid Drugs
Avoid consuming excess alcohol and, by all means, avoid the intake of any illegal drug. The consumption of these substances will only leave you staggering on the ship, acting recklessly, and finally falling off a boat.
Don’t Walk Around the Ship in Bad Weather
In bad weather, one could be at risk with constant blowing, shaking, falling, and tumbling. Stay safely inside your deck when you start noticing a change in weather.
Wear the Proper Footwear
The ship floors could be slippery sometimes. Ensure that your footwear is adaptable to a dry and wet floor. If you need help picking the right shoes, click here and see our suggestions.
Avoid Horseplay in Risky Area
Playing roughly on the railings, the pier, or other parts of the ship could be dangerous. Ensure that you are cautious and responsible even while trying to have the maximum fun on the ship.
What to Do If a Passenger Falls Overboard
If you see someone falling overboard, you should do the following:
Reduce Speed and use PFD
The most critical part of saving someone from the water is to toss them a life jacket or life ring. Especially if the waves are high.
This is important because it does two things:
- The victim can rely on life ling rather than their swimming skills
- Life ring is bright yellow and easy to spot in the water; it helps you to keep the victim in sight.
Turn Around the Boat
The next thing is to turn around and get the victim.
But you have to be careful when doing that because going back too quickly might prevent you from stopping in time and running over that person, creating an even worse situation.
When going back, reduce your speed and pull alongside the victim by approaching from downwind or into the current. Ideally, you want to pick whichever is stronger between those two.
Stop the Engine
Turn your engine off when you are close to the victim. You have to do that for the following reasons:
- You could overshoot the victim and will have to repeat the same steps all over again.
- You cut come too close to the victim and cut him/her with the propeller. That would be very, very bad. Avoid at all costs!!
Use Reaching Pole or Assist
It’s best if you could not come to the victim. Instead, come relatively close and use a reaching pole or a rope. Let the victim grab onto in and slowly pull them over to the boat.
Again, you are trying to bring the victim onboard safely without hitting them with your boat.
Pull The on Board
The last step should is to pull the victim out of the water. But that can be tricky, depending on the size of your boat.
If you have a large boat bringing someone on board should not be an issue, lead them to the ladders or pull them over the stern.
If, however, you are in a small boat, like dingy, this can get tricky. You have to keep the balance of the ship to prevent it from flipping over. You should move to the opposite side of the boat and let the victim clime in by itself.
Another option is to have the victim climb in from the stern. This way, you could assist the victim as well; the boat will not flip over this way.
The key to saving someone’s life after they have fallen overboard is to understand the causes, how to avoid it from happening, and what to do if it happens.
Prevention is always the best option, but if you can not avoid it, it’s best to prepare yourself as best as possible.
Know what you need to do. Practice with a friend or family member if you have to. Do everything you can to be 100% confident and ready for the moment when the disaster strikes; it can literally be the difference between life and death.
Boating Equipment and Accessories: A Brief Guide For 2020
By: Boat Trader
Once you’ve chosen your perfect boat, the next thing on your list will be to outfit your new vessel with all of the right boat equipment, gadgets, and accessories for a truly good time on the water. Depending on the type of boat that you’ve chosen and your intended use, there are a number of different accessories and equipment that you may need for the type of boating you intend on doing. Of course, there are also some really cool gadgets that you’ll just want to have on board for fun too! Either way, this guide should help you get started.
In this guide, we’ll cover onboard equipment for trailerable boats that measure less than 35 feet. Some items are legally required for proper boating, but most boat accessories are just fun to have on board or they could make your boating more enjoyable. There are plenty of categories that include everything from essential safety items to premium upgrades, making it easy to get the perfect boat when you add the accessories and equipment that you want.
Basic Safety Gear
Of course every good boater should have boat safety in mind above all else. So if you don’t already have them, your boat should include basic safety essentials like a fire extinguisher, life jackets, a first aid kit, and a horn. If you don’t have a built-in horn, or just want to guarantee you’re heard in an emergency, an air horn is a great choice. We won’t spend a lot of time here because this is all pretty basic stuff. Plus, there’s not a lot of information to consider in your purchases, so long as you choose quality safety items to stock your boat.
Remember that it is your responsibility to have proper life vests and safety gear on board in the event of an emergency. You can choose from standard life vests, upgraded water sports vests, and other models, making it easy to find something for just about everyone. There are also throwable life preservers, of which everyone should have at least one or two on board for safety. Stock up on safety equipment and accessories so that everyone is able to have a good time on the water without worrying about the basics.
If you think getting around on roads is difficult, try your hand at navigating the water without a little experience or the assistance of a GPS. GPS units are almost a necessary investment for any boater these days. Not only does it guarantee that you won’t get lost, but it will help identify potential hazards and water channels along your route. Many GPS units will even let you create a “breadcrumb” trail that shows your path out into the water so that you can turn around and follow it right back in.
Models are available from leading navigation brands like Garmin and others, and there are a number of features and models to choose from. Some boats come with built-in navigation systems or the option to have it added at the time of purchase. If you have this choice, it could be the better way to go. That way, it’s done and it’s hard-installed so you never have to worry about whether it’s on board or if it needs charged when you’re ready to hit the water.
Many premium sound systems have built-in navigation as part of the device, as is the case with modern car radios. If you are considering upgrading your sound system or radio, check that out while you’re looking at navigation equipment because it may be easier for you to justify investing in a more expensive unit so that you can get the perks that come with having an integrated GPS.
The other option is to buy a unit that is solely for navigation. These systems are designed in portable styles and units that can be installed on the boat, so that everyone can get what they want. Some of the units are more feature-rich than others, but as long as the GPS function does its job, the rest of the bells and whistles are a matter of personal preference.
When you’re outfitting your boat with fishing gear, there are a lot of different accessories that you can consider. From standard fishing buoys and kill bags to rod holders, built-in coolers, and even fish finders, there are plenty of accessories that you can add to your boat if you’re looking to hit the water to do some angling.
Popular fishing accessories and equipment include:
- Tackle boxes and tool organizers
- Rod holders and racks
- Cutting boards and other prep tools
- Coolers and livewells
Unlike other accessories and equipment for boating, fishing gear is uniquely designed for a variety of types of fishing. A lot of accessories are universal and can be used for multiple applications.
But when purchasing fishing equipment for your boat, you have to make sure that you choose the right accessories for the type of fishing boat and the type of fishing that you want to do. For example, if you want a fish finder, you’ll want to purchase one that seeks out the type of fish that you want to catch.
There are a number of different communication devices available for boats today. Different types of devices work differently depending on where you are, so it is important for boaters to have multiple communication devices available. These devices should also be able to provide safe operation when wet and be designed specifically for boating use. You should always keep your cell phone on you, but remember that this will only work if it’s kept dry and you’re boating in range of cell towers. This isn’t always the case.
Other communication devices may not be technology based. These include dyes, flares and SOS signals, flags, fog or air horns, and other items. Even your own arms waving in the distance are a distress signal tool if you need them in an emergency. Of course, there are much bigger communication devices that you should have on hand.
Two of the most useful items are:
- VHF FM-DSC marine radio. This radio lets you talk to authorities and other boaters. It can be used anywhere and in any type of water, and has Digital Selective Calling to alert people to boaters in distress and help identify their location. These radios are a must for any boat for those who want a safe way to stay in touch and send a distress signal when they are out on the water.
- Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, which transmits the boats location to emergency responders and can summon help quickly regardless of a boater’s location.
In addition to radio beacons, there are also personal locator beacons that boaters can buy to put on their person instead of their boat. That way, if something happens and a boater is left away from the boat, they can be found in the water in the event of an emergency. These aren’t must-have items for your boat, but they certainly are worth looking into if you really want to make sure that you are safe on the water.
It’s important to have all of the right tow lines, towers, buoys, anchors, and other mooring and docking equipment for your boat. After all, unlike many of the optional accessories discussed here, these items are required for regular and safe operation of your boat.
This list could also include:
- Ropes and docklines
As with the safety equipment, requirements vary by state so you will need to check to see what is actually required to be on your boat. Then, you can purchase all of the must-have items and upgrade the others as you see fit. Think about how you want to enjoy your boating. In most cases, you’ll probably choose to add as many accessories and safety equipment upgrades as you can for the peace of mind alone.
If you really want to outfit your boat with the best essentials, you can find plenty of premium aftermarket and point-of-sale upgrades like sound systems, solar panels, and more. Popular premium upgrades include satellite radios and smart devices, such as the Fusion Entertainment line of digital radios that include color touchscreens and digital signal processing.
Another popular boat accessory upgrade is composite decking that can be installed over fiberglass and offer a better finish and a better ride. This material is known as SeaDek, and can help reduce the vibrations and offer a softer surface for kneeling or barefoot walking. This cool feature can reduce fatigue by as much as 25% and keep your boat looking stylish for years to come.
If you’re into night boating, you might want to invest in a night camera to help you identify markers, other boats, and items in the water when you’re out at night. There are a number of night cameras and scouting devices available, and most boats can be outfitted with a model that will give them the visibility that they need.
Solar panel systems are designed to provide a power source for the boat without using as much gas or other power to fuel the various systems. A solar panel integration on a boat is a unique installation, so make sure that you have this done by professionals if you consider adding one to your system.
Quick Tips for Buying Accessories and Equipment
Never buy anything for your boat if it isn’t model specific or say that it offers universal installation. If it’s an accessory that doesn’t need to be specifically for your boat, such as a GPS unit or a livewell for your fish, you can pick and choose what you like based on other features. If, however, you’re upgrading your sound system or built-in communication tools, or you want to install rod rocks for fishing even, you may need to consider at least the model of your boat, if not other technical specifications.
Remember that all of these items are designed to improve your boating experience. They are often optional items that you can add to your boat for personal enjoyment, safety, or another use. Take the time to browse the market and read up on reviews to see how other boaters like various products before you buy. Often, with accessories and gear like this, finding out what other people like is the best way to go.
Stick with reputable, certified boat dealers and websites. Sure, you might be able to find some great deals on major retailers like Amazon.com, but when you want reputable equipment and accessories, you should buy from marine websites and companies for the best results. Plus, then you have someone that you can ask for recommendations and assistance in outfitting your boat with all of the accessories that you need.
No matter what kind of boating you have in mind, there are plenty of accessories and equipment that you can add for the sake of necessity or pleasure. By taking the time to check this guide when outfitting your boat, you can make sure that you’ve covered all of your bases and gotten the equipment and accessories that you need. Everyone will argue about which the best brands and products are, but when you get into specific categories of equipment and accessories, those reviews are plentiful.
If you’re new to boat ownership or just looking to outfit your new boat for the best time on the water, you should make sure that you have all of the extras ahead of time. you can upgrade and buy premium accessories and non-essentials as you go, but if you have everything when you first hit the water, you’ll be on your way to better boating from day one.
Remember to shop for boat-specific accessories when necessary and to take advantage of the reviews from other boaters to find the best products on the market today. As long as you keep these things in mind, it’s easy to make the most of boating equipment and accessories for your new vessel.