Boat accessories can range from instruments to show how the motor is operating to fancy outriggers to aid in fishing. Some are necessary for almost all boats while others have specific applications. It's best to start small and add accessories when you decide you need them.
Accessories for Safety and Comfort
A small jon boat with an electric motor does not need many accessories, whereas an offshore trolling boat will need a lot. With bigger motors you need a gas gauge, tachometer, speedometer, and water pressure gauge. A motor with a tilt and trim unit will need a gauge to show its position.
Ropes and anchors are necessary in all boats to tie up at docks or to hold you in position in open water. If your motor fails, anchors can act as safety devices to keep your boat facing into the waves and also to keep you from drifting too far. Paddles are nice to have even on big boats because they can be used to push off from docks and banks as well as paddling in the water. A boat hook can be used in the same way and also help you dock bigger boats.
Comfortable seats can make the difference between a fun, relaxing fishing trip and one that wears you out. Most bass boats have elevated seats on casting decks where you can sit and fish in comfort. Fighting chairs on big-game saltwater boats are a necessity to be able to stand the long fights with big fish. And an ice chest can be used for food and drink as well as storing fish you want to keep.
Downriggers and outriggers are good accessories for many conditions. Downriggers allow you to get a bait down to deep fish and keep it there while trolling. Outriggers spread baits in a wide pattern and allow you to use more rods while trolling. Nets and gaffs are needed to land many fish.
Live wells are very useful for keeping your catch alive until it's time to ice it down; they're required on all bass boats used in tournaments. Bait tanks are great to use if you do a lot of live-bait fishing. Rod holders around the gunnels of the boat will allow you to troll or still-fish several rods at one time without taking a chance on losing them.
A temperature gauge will help you determine how active fish should be and also find water temperatures that are better to fish. Some devices such as pH meters, color meters, and light meters have been popular in the past but are not used much any more. Rod lockers and tackle storage bins help keep the boat organized and safeguard equipment.