Boat ownership is not just about obtaining a boat, but about transforming it into something that appeals to your levels of interest, style, and comfort. Buying a boat is easy if you can afford it, but customization is where things get challenging. You have to be able to explain your needs to an expert so they can perform any new installations with your specific preferences in mind. This article provides nine tried-and-tested aftermarket upgrade ideas to prepare your vessel for boat tours, water sports, and other activities.
1. A stereo system
If you rely on a separate stereo system to listen to music or the one on your boat is broken or substandard, then you should consider installing a new one. Premium stereo systems produce better quality sound and give you the freedom to place speakers in different places on your boat to ensure everyone on board is happy. A speaker upgrade can do the trick, but upgrading to a new system altogether can ensure you make use of advanced technologies, such as Bluetooth connectivity.
2. A wakeboard tower
If you own a boat and are a fan of watersports, then there is a good chance you have contemplated wakeboarding. Installing a wakeboard tower on your boat can help make the whole experience easier as it raises the tow point, reducing the effort needed to maintain balance on the board while keeping the wakeboard rope well above the sea waves. You can find various wakeboarding towers on sites such as aerialwakeboarding.com, from which you can make your choice based on your boat type and personal preferences.
3. Boat canvas upgrade
The marine environment can be harsh, and boat canvases are usually the most exposed to water and other damaging elements. You need to change them on a semi-regular basis, ideally every five years.
When looking to change your boat’s canvas, whether it’s for a boat maintenance exercise or because the current one needs replacing, consider finding something with a decent combination of durability and attractiveness. You may want to add a bit of style to your boat, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of quality and functionality.
4. Deck carpet replacement
The deck carpet does more than sit between your shoes and the cold, hard deck; it adds to the boat’s aesthetic appeal too. This means what you buy may not always be the best option available.
There is a vast spectrum of marine-grade boat deck carpet options to choose from and many do-it-yourself kits for self-installation. A new carpet can give your deck a fresh look and increase comfort and grip on your feet when jumping overboard in a swimming spot.
5. LED lighting
The popularity of LED lighting upgrades in boats keeps increasing by the year, and it’s not hard to see why. LED lighting can completely transform a boat’s interior, and their eco-friendliness and energy-efficiency give them a clear edge over conventional lighting.
The trend of blue LED replacement fixtures has been on the market for quite some time now and is worth a try if you want a cosmetic upgrade that doubles as an energy-saving fixture.
6. Seating replacement
If the upholstery on your boat seats has accumulated clear signs of damage, you have the option to spray-paint or repair it, but that’s not always the most suitable and affordable option. Without specific installation tools, you may find yourself in a worse place than you were, forcing you to make the replacement you were avoiding anyway. New upholstery gives you freedom of choice regarding color, material, and other aesthetic and functionality factors, increases comfort, and significantly raises your boat’s resale value.
There are many seating options to fit just about any taste and budget. Take the time to find what complements your boat’s interior without going over your budget constraints.
7. Use state-of-the-art gadgets
Upgrading your boat’s gadgets – from chatter plotters to radar systems and marine GPS systems through to marine stereo systems or fish finders – can serve as your boat’s selling point when it’s time to put it up for sale. It will also improve the experience and ambiance on the boat during fishing excursions or cruising.
That said, it may not be advisable to over-customize your boat’s electronics if you have any plans to sell it in the foreseeable future. Tweaking the boat too much can be a red flag to some buyers. Additionally, electronics can be expensive and do not always have a high return on investment.
8. Cockpit ice makers and refrigerators
Cockpit ice makers and refrigerators may seem like a luxury until you try them. The installations can be a necessity if you are always on the water for fishing or other daily activities under the hot summer sun. You may want to equip your boat’s cockpit with a new refrigerator or swap the current unit with a marine ice maker, depending on your boating lifestyle. Whatever option you choose, a cockpit appliance upgrade is sure to improve your on-deck comfort and your boat’s trade-in value.
9. Power system
Anyone who has owned a boat at least once will tell you this: having functional and reliable onboard power systems is priceless. Consider adding another battery to serve as a backup for if and when your engine battery dies. You can also go for a generator. After all, you will only need it temporarily as you get your built-in system fixed.
While you are at it, ensure your accessories and cables are in perfect shape if you regularly use shore power.
These are just some of the basic upgrades you can give your boat for enhanced comfort and style. Of course, you can’t perform all of them at once, so it’s up to you to decide what you need first. It would also help if you let an expert perform the upgrades. Professionals are not only more qualified and better equipped, but they’re also insured, meaning if anything goes wrong, you will be compensated.