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As the owner of a fishing boat, party barge, yacht or other personal watercraft, you’re probably always looking for ways to get the most out of it or make it your own. That usually means investing in aftermarket mods and add-ons to fine-tune aesthetics, performance, power output, maneuverability or the very personality of your craft. Here are eight options worth a closer look.
1. A Stainless-Steel Boat Prop
The boat’s engine provides the craft’s thrust, but the propeller focuses the engine’s efforts and translates power into forward motion. Have you considered upgrading your boat’s prop?
There’s more to the choice than you might realize. Trading an aluminum prop for a stainless-steel version, or moving from three blades to four, can all impact your craft’s top speed and handling. There are some ingenious designs on the market, making a shiny new prop not just a cool boat mod but also a practical one.
2. New Upholstery or Seat Covers
You probably appreciate that the craft’s chairs or benches often endure some of the worst wear-and-tear boats experience. The upholstery may well be looking its age due to water, dirt, sand, debris and other contaminants.
If you want a quick and cool boat mod that requires little manual labor, you can spring for some luxurious and eye-catching seat covers to protect the original upholstery. You can also bring your craft to a professional outfitter, who can replace the original material entirely with something more durable that better matches your style.
3. Do-It-Yourself Snap-in Marine Carpeting
You might not have the skills required to reupholster your captain’s chair, but nearly anybody can replace the carpeting on their boat. This is another place where you can let your personality and style shine while giving your craft an added layer of protection from the elements.
When was the last time you considered the surface beneath your feet as you cranked the throttle open? You can find DIY snap-in marine carpeting kits that make it easy to size the flooring to your boat’s footprint.
4. Solar Panels and Solar Boat Canopies
One of the benefits of innovation is generating power in new ways. Today, solar panels are working their way into various areas, including homes, vehicles, appliances, textiles and even boats.
Some solar canopies are made for small electric boats and provide power for the craft itself. Other products offer clean auxiliary power for appliances, handheld devices and emergency equipment. Solar panels for boats require thoughtful choices in hardware to avoid corrosion, but the end result is greater protection from the sun and a free source of power.
5. Smart Audio System
Homes aren’t the only places where smart entertainment systems are taking off. Upgrading your boat’s audio equipment with high-quality deck speakers is one of the best quality-of-life upgrades you could make for those lazy afternoons on the waves.
Smart entertainment centers let you, your family or your guests cast their own media, like podcasts and music, straight to the audio unit without any wires required. There’s no need to leave your tunes behind when you hit the water.
6. Underwater Running Lights
If you’re looking for cool boat mods, you can’t do much better than underwater running lights. You can find all kinds of LED upgrade kits in various patterns, configurations and colors – including some that let you change hues at your whim.
Installing underwater LED lights is potentially a do-it-yourself project if you’re comfortable drilling small holes and running wiring. If not, it’s best to leave this job to a professional.
7. Keel Guard
Cool boat mods don’t always have to be flashy. Keel guards serve an almost 100% utilitarian purpose – but you’ll probably find yourself glad you bought one. Protecting your keel with a guard ensures your boat doesn’t suffer damage if you touch the rocky bottom in a shallow bay.
Installing a keel guard is probably a DIY project for most boat owners. They also have the benefit of being inexpensive and coming in a variety of colored polymers. If you want to up the cool factor of this boat mod, think of it like a racing stripe on a high-octane car.
8. Aluminum Fence Paneling
A good number of boating experts recommend replacing vinyl fence paneling with aluminum. Vinyl is more susceptible to temperature fluctuations, while aluminum is better suited to harsh marine environments and variable temperatures.
Replacing your boat’s fence paneling with a new set also gives you a tremendous opportunity to add some personal flair and show off a craft that’s completely yours. Even a minor visual makeover can add value without a huge investment.
Deck Out Your Boat
Giving your boat a new suite of accessories or a decor facelift is a great way to make it more your own and protect it from harm. If you can combine function and style, so much the better.