Best Upgrades that Add Value to Your Boat
Best Upgrades that Add Value to Your Boat
If you are thinking of buying a new or used boat or already have a boat that you are thinking of adding new features to, there are a lot of really valuable options, accessories, and equipment that can make your boating more safe, easy, and fun. As long as you can stay within your budget constraints, the following list of options are definitely worth considering for your boat.
We all need to operate our boats safely and the following items can enhance the safe operation of your vessel:
If you are cruising along the coast of Maine which is notorious for having heavy fog, a good radar is probably essential equipment. If you are frequently moving the boat after dark where visibility is limited, radar can help keep you out of trouble. The biggest problem with radar is it is not immediately user friendly and a lot of the information you can get from a radar screen requires time and movement in order to understand what the radar can tell you and if you are looking at the radar screen, you can’t also be looking around to see what is going on in the real world.
AIS (Automatic Identification System) in many ways is better and easier to use than Radar to help avoid collisions and stay out of trouble. Just like its name would indicate, AIS identifies the various vessels in the area, shows the course and speed of the vessel and allows for immediate radio contact between 2 vessels.
On your screen you will see the other vessels, the one contacting you will stand out and the information about the boat can be quickly assessed. The big advantage of the radar over AIS is radar picks up other objects and AIS only picks up other boats that have an AIS system.
Forward Looking Infrared Cameras are an incredible asset for night vision and like radar a FLIRS camera will pick up other objects as well as other vessels. Basically, it can be user friendly, but the more time you spend with it the better. You will quickly become better at identifying the objects on the screen and responding to the information presented with a little practice.
Stabilizers have been around for a long time and there are advantages and disadvantages of all the different types. Gyroscopic stabilizers are becoming more and more popular and recently SeaKeeper offers a smaller version for boats as small as 26’. If you spend a lot of time in your boat on the water, you will know if you need a stabilizer. Do they work?Definitely! It does take some time for them to power up and power down, so you need to anticipate when you will need to have it on.
Having grown up on sailboats and powerboats, handling a boat in close quarters and maneuvering into tight spaces has always been a challenge, but there were times when you had to do it, so guess what… a bow thruster would have been a big help. Once you have used one, it ends up being something you will use all the time.
Other upgrades and that make life easier on a boat include the following items:
Technology in lighting has really improved significantly in recent years and LED lights are not just brighter and last longer than conventional bulbs, but the also are much cooler where halogen bulbs could actually burn the head liner and anything around a bulb that has been turned on for a while. Navigation lights and hull lights come in all different colors and can be located in all kinds of locations for your specific need.
Remote Monitoring on the Cell Phone:
One of the biggest opportunities in the boating world today is remote monitoring and commands for security and comfort on your yacht. Like your home smoke detector and security systems the technology is rapidly improving and the variety of applications are getting more and more useful to boat owners.
Today, there are systems that will alert you on your cell phone if someone opens a door on your boat or the bilge pump comes on. From your phone, you can turn on the lights, change the temperature in the cabin, and start the stereo before you arrive at the dock. With sensors and camera systems, there are many possible ways for you to monitor the security of your boat and with the Voice Activated Digital Assistants (Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Assistant) anything that these apps can do for you in your home, should also be possible on your boat.
In summary, there are lots of gadgets, features, and equipment available in the market today for your boat. I haven’t touched on the possible entertainment systems, water sport equipment or fishing gear that’s available today, but as I said in the beginning, if you are thinking of buying a new or used boat or just thinking of upgrading the equipment you have, I recommend you seriously consider Radar, Flirs, AIS, Stabilizers, Bow thruster, solar panels, LED Lighting, and internet monitoring and communications to make your boating experience more safe, easy, and fun. Anything that can increase your enjoyment of and comfort on the boat is worth considering.
Article by David Cox