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Boating Equipment and Accessories: A Brief Guide For 2020

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.

Navigation Equipment

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.

Fishing Gear

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
  • Outriggers
  • 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.

Communication Devices

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.

General Equipment

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:

  • Bumpers
  • Ropes and docklines
  • Chains
  • Paddles

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.

Premium Upgrades

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, 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.

In Summary

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.

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What Are The Differences Between A Catamaran And Pontoon Boat?

What Are The Differences Between A Catamaran And Pontoon Boat?

By: Pontoon Boat Review

Pic By: Dream Yacht Charter

Some of these differences are observable while others are not. Catamaran and Pontoon are both made up of two hulls or pontoons (usually of the same size else you would be having an outrigger or a proa) connected with a wing-like structure.

Some folks consider both as basically the same and suggest catamaran is just a type of pontoon and some think their differences are basically on their usage and a pontoon would technically be called a catamaran.

The name “Catamaran” was derived from the word “Kattumaram” which in Talim means “tied wood”. The ancient vessel from which we got so many derivatives was just two logs of wood connected by smaller logs of wood and accommodations were made on the smaller logs above the hulls.

The modern catamaran and pontoons come with different designs. The sophistication of modern engineering is so evident in the production of these boats. While the pontoon might be as simple as a deck placed on two pontoons to a bit more complex designs, the catamaran has pontoons which are usually a part of the structure of the boat with different spaces.

 These spaces can be used as residence or for storage. Most of the catamarans also have a mast with a canvas in between the pontoons. Catamarans come with different complex designs that will best suit the desired use.

Simple pontoons are usually used for pleasure cruise or fishing in smaller water bodies like rivers and lake. The water surface shouldn’t have high water current and is not dramatically affected by a change in weather conditions. The use of pontoons in open seas and ocean is highly prohibited because it is not structurally designed for such an environment. 

The pontoon shape does not cut through waves. Its wave handling capacity is poor. They cannot maneuver effectively in rough water bodies. Meanwhile, catamarans can sail the seas or oceans because they are designed to handle such an environment and they can cut through waves.

The pontoons are usually not large. Most pontoons are between 15-40 feet and 8-12 feet wide with the outboard motor placed behind. While the Catamarans are usually very large and their motors are usually in the pontoon tube.

There is also an observable difference in the speed of both the pontoon boat and the catamaran. The feature is also related to their intended use with the different types of water bodies. A pontoon boat can attain a speed of about 26 miles per hour while a catamaran was designed to move faster, up to about 50 miles per hour.

A buyer who is interested in getting a pontoon can purchase one between $12,000 to about $75,000 while a catamaran can go for a price ranging from $60,000 to above $2 million.

For All Your Accessories and/or Vinyl Flooring Visit Pontoon-Depot's Shop Site.  

The Boat Show Schedule Posted by Harris Boats for 2020

The Boat Show Schedule Posted by Harris Boats for 2020

By: Harris Boats

For All Your Accessories and/or Vinyl Flooring Visit Pontoon-Depot's Shop Site.   
Show Dates Show Name - Click to Visit Show Site City
1/3 - 1/5 Des Moines Boat and Sport Show Des Moines, IA
1/3 - 1/5 Austin Boat Show Austin, TX
1/3 - 1/12 Houston International Boat and Travel Show Houston, TX
1/9 - 1/12 Kansas City Boat & Sportshow-NMMA Kansas City, MO
1/8 - 1/12 Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show - NMMA Chicago, IL
1/9 - 1/12 Los Angeles Boat Show - NMMA Los Angeles, CA
1/9 - 1/12 Nashville Boat & Sportshow Nashville,TN
1/9 - 1/12 Ultimate Fishing Show Novi, MI
1/10 - 1/19 Ohio RV and Boat Show Columbus, OH
1/16 - 1/19 Atlanta Boat Show Atlanta, GA
1/16 - 1/20 MidAmerica Boat & Fishing Show Cleveland, OH
1/17 - 1/19 The Boat Show-Huntsville Huntsville AL
1/17 - 1/19 Fredericksburg Boat Show Fredericksburg VA
1/17 - 1/19 Iowa Boat, RV, and Vacation Show Cedar Falls, IA
1/17 - 1/19 Arkansas Marine Expo Little Rock, AR
1/17 - 1/26 Toronto Intl Boat Show Toronto, Ontario CAN
1/17 - 1/26 Milwaukee Boat Show Milwaukee, WI
1/17 - 1/26 Cincinatti Travel, Sport & Boat Show Cincinnati, OH
1/18 - 1/26 Detroit Boat Show - Cobo Detroit, MI
1/22 - 1/26 Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow Louisville, KY
1/23 - 1/26 Minneapolis Boat Show - NMMA Minneapolis
1/23 - 1/26 Birmingham Sport & Boat Show Birmingham AL
1/23 - 1/26 Chicagoland Fishing Travel & Outdoor Expo Schaumburg, IL
1/23 - 1/26 Upstate South Carolina Boat Show Greenville SC
1/23 - 1/26 Overland Park Boat Show Overland Park, KS
1/24 - 1/26 OKC Winter Boat Show Oklahoma City, OK
1/25 - 1/27 Fargo Boat & Marine Products Show Fargo, ND
1/27-2/2 Tulsa Boat, Sport & Travel Show Tulsa, OK
1/30 - 2/2 St Louis Boat & Sportshow - NMMA St. Louis, MO
1/31 - 2/3 Greater Rochester Boat Show Rochester, NY
1/31 - 2/9 Dallas Winter Boat Show Dallas, TX
2/1 - 2/4 Kansas Sports Boat and Travel Show Wichita, KS
2/5 - 2/9 Spokane Boat Show Spokane, WA
2/5 - 2/9 Spokane Boat Show Spokane, WA
2/6 - 2/9 Chattanooga Boat & Sport Show Chattanooga, TN
2/7 - 2/9 Mid-Atlantic Boat Show Charlotte, NC
2/7 - 2/9 Virginia Beach Boat Show Virginia Beach, VA
2/8 - 2/16 New England Boat Show - NMMA Boston, MA
2/14 - 2/16 New Orleans Boat Show New Orleans, LA
2/14 - 2/17 Fort Wayne Boat Show & Sale Fort Wayne, IN
2/14 - 2/16 Annual Richmond Boat Show Richmond, VA
2/14 - 2/16 Lake Life Expo Springfield, MO
2/14 - 2/16 Memphis Boat Show Memphis, TN
2/14 - 2/16 Bismarck Tribune Sport Show  Bismarck, ND 
2/14 - 2/23 Indianapolis Boat, Sport, & Travel Show Indianapolis, IN
2/19 - 2/23 Grand Rapids Boat Show Grand Rapids, MI
2/20-2/23 Central New York (CNY) Boat Show Syracuse, NY
2/21 - 2/23 St Louis RV Vacation & Travel Show St. Louis, MO
2/21 - 2/23 Dubuque Boat Show Dubuque, IA
2/26 - 3/1 Buffalo Boat Show Buffalo, NY
2/27 - 3/1 Outdoorama Novi, MI
2/28 - 3/1 Indian Lakes Indian Lakes, OH
2/28 - 3/1 Central Carolina Boat & Fishing Expo Greensboro, NC
2/28 - 3/1 Hot Springs Boat Show Hot Spings, AR
2/28 - 3/1 Oshkosh Boat Show Oshkosh, WI
2/28 - 3/1 Panama City Boat Show Panama City, FL
3/5 - 3/8 St. Charles Boat Show St Charles, MO
3/5 - 3/8 Downtown Knoxville Boat Show Knoxville, TN
3/6 - 3/8 Mobile Boat Show Mobile, AL
3/12 - 3/15 Novi Boat Show Novi, Mi
3/13 - 3/15 Boat & Water Sports Show Traverse City, MI
3/13 - 3/15 Raleigh Convention Boat Show Raleigh, NC
3/13 - 3/15 Minot - KX Sport Show  Minot, ND 
3/20 - 3/22 Great Northeast Boat Show Milford, NH
3/27 - 3/29 Orlando Boat Show Orlando
3/27 - 3/29 San Antonio Boat Show San Antonio, TX
4/3 - 4/5 Lake Havasu City Boat Show Lake Havasu, AZ
DIY Fisherman's Net Coastal Christmas Tree For The Holidays

DIY Fisherman's Net Coastal Christmas Tree For The Holidays

By: Party Swizzle

Combine the spirits of the season and seas for a fisherman’s net coastal Christmas tree for the holidays. All you need are a few push pins, a tape measure and a fishing net to have a ready-to-decorate, super-easy, no-mess symbol of Jesus and his great catch miracle.

What you need:
  • 5’ x 10’ heavy gauge fishnet 
  • Tape measure 
  • Indoor: Push pins or thumbtacks 
  • Outdoor: Small nails with large heads & hammer 
  • Paper clips 
  • Decorations 
    • String lights 
    • Garland 
    • Ornaments 
    • Starfish for the top 
    • Optional: Plastic crabs & seashells

Where to put it:

Hang your fisherman’s net coastal Christmas tree on an indoor wall or outdoor fence. The net, ornaments and lights are relatively lightweight and require very little support. 

The fish net tree is 76” tall x 56” wide, plus we added a 10” space at the bottom to add a planter and 6” on top for our star. The total area measurements of our tree are 92” tall x 56” wide. 

We made a beachy background by covering an indoor wall with a roll of Fadeless Design Weather Wood paper from Blick Art Supplies

Step 1 - Pin the points:

Measure and pin the points to hang your net Christmas tree first. We used’s Heavy Gauge Fish Net, but you can cut any net to 5-feet x 10-feet to use with these measurements.

Place a push-pin or nail at each of these points: 
Center Top is the point below the star: 
-- Point A: In the center, 86” from the ground. 
Top tree boughs are the points at the ends of the top level of branches, 42” apart: 
-- Point B: 21” from the center to the left, 54” from the ground. 
-- Point C: 21” from the center to the right, 54” from the ground. 
Upper mid-sections are the points at the top of the middle section, at the same height as the top boughs, 14” apart: 
-- Point D: 7” from the center to the left, 54” from the ground. 
-- Point E: 7” from the center to the right, 54” from the ground. 
Middle tree boughs are the points at the ends of the middle level of branches, 48” apart: 
-- Point F: 24” from the center to the left, 36” from the ground. 
-- Point G: 24” from the center to the right, 36” from the ground. 
Lower mid-sections are the points at the top of the lower middle section, at the same height as the middle boughs, 34” apart: 
-- Point H: 10” from the center to the left, 36” from the ground. 
-- Point I: 10” from the center to the right, 36” from the ground. 
Bottom tree boughs are the points at the ends of the bottom level of branches, 56” apart: 
-- Point J: 28” from the center to the left, 18” from the ground. 

-- Point K: 28” from the center to the right, 18” from the ground. 

Step 2 - Plan the lights:

If your string light sets have end-to-end connectors, you will be able to connect them together from the top to the bottom of the tree with no extra accommodation. For our tree, we used: 
  • Top: Lobster & Crab Buoys (end-to-end connectors) 
  • Middle: Realistic Seashells (no end-to-end connectors) 
  • Bottom: Glitter Teal Seahorses (no end-to-end connectors) 
After hanging the net, we attached a white extension cord plug in the center of the top level of branches, 54” from the ground. Our extension cord plug had a plastic safety flip cover that we used to fasten to the net. 

Then, we were able to run the lobster buoy string lights from the extension cord plug around the top edge outline of the tree. From that point, we could plug the seashell lights into the lobster buoy lights’ end-to-end connector, and run them through the mid-section of the tree to the bottom. 

Step 3 - Hang the net:

The heavy gauge fishnet can be stiff, so we scrunched it up, shook it out, pulled, tugged and put it in the dryer to loosen it up. The good news is that the stiffness also keeps the edges in place. 
  • Point A: Find the center of one of the short sides (5-foot), and hang on the top center tack, Point A. 
  • Point B: Fold the top left corner down the remaining length of the short-end edge, toward the center. Hold the left corner in the center and stretch the net left to find the point where the long edge folds over to create a triangle, then hang this point on the left top tree bough tack, Point B. 
  • Point C: You can adjust this point to add/remove swag in the top outline of your tree. Repeat on the right to match the left side, Point C. 
  • Point D-E: Measure 14” along the net’s edge from the left top tree bough tack, Point B, and hang this point on the left tack of the upper mid-section, Point D. Repeat for the right side, Point E. 
  • Point F-G: Run the net’s edge from the left tack of the upper mid-section, Point D, to the left middle tree bough tack, Point F. Repeat for the right side, Point G. 
  • Point H-I: Measure 14” along the net’s edge from the left middle tree bough tack, Point F, and hang this point on the left tack of the lower mid-section, Point H. Repeat for the right side, Point I. 
  • Point: J-K: Run the net’s edge from the left tack of the lower mid-section, Point H, to the left lower tree bough tack, Point J. Repeat for the right side, Point K. 
  • Point L: Make any adjustments to ensure that the remaining length of net is equal on both sides. Find the center point of the remaining short side (5-foot) and pin to the center of the tree, Point L, approximately 48” from the ground. 
Step 4 - Decorate your tree:
For a fishing net effect, optionally insert some captured critters like a couple of plastic crabs, a finger starfish ornament, and realistic seashell string lights behind one or more layers of the net. Lower the last layer, Point L, to string lights behind the net. 
At this point, you are ready to string lights, add seashell garland, and hang ornaments with paper clips. We also gathered and paper-clipped any slack in the string light cords and used large ornaments to hide these bundles of cord and connectors. 
You may need an extra pin or 2 for added support, such as along the net’s edge where the sea shell garland is attached. 
For an added dose of religious symbolism, decorate your fish net tree with 153 lights, ornaments, and shells. For reference, ours has about 60, so you’ll need a lot more “fish”. 

Naturally, top your fishing net coastal Christmas tree with a starfish. We used a 6-8” white Knobby Starfish, but a Finger Starfish would also work well, and added a couple of extra push pins to support our Christmas Sea Star. 

Step 5 - Accessorize:

Accessorize your coastal Christmas tree scene for a total yuletide experience. We’ve “planted” our Christmas tree by placing an aqua oval tub, filled with sand and seashells, directly below the net. In addition, we push-pinned a plastic Instaview Fireplace next to our fishnet tree, then hung coastal Christmas stockings with care. 
As a final touch, we draped a double swag of weathered beach driftwood garland above our cozy coastal Christmas panorama. And, that’s all it takes to have your own fisherman’s net coastal Christmas tree, simply a matter of putting the pins in the right place. Enjoy and happy holidays!
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