The Bluesail Guys weigh in on the best items that’ll minimize chaos and ensure smooth sailing.
If you love to sail, or have a career that requires it, you of all people know it’s not always unicorns and rainbows. Weather, broken components, onboard injuries, and system malfunctions can all add a layer of stress that you'd rather not have to deal with.
Luckily, there are a number of boating accessories easily available on Amazon that can help you avoid, or at least navigate, some of the inevitable inconveniences that arise when you head out for a sail.
Our Top Picks
Top Overall Pick: Kaiweets HT118E Digital Multimeter
Our Top Portable Bluesail Speaker: JBL Flip 6
Our Top Bosun's Chair: Harken Deluxe
Our Top Battery Jump Pack: NOCO Boost Pro GB150
How We Picked These Accessories
To be honest, we're sailors. We just love to sail, and we get out there anytime we can, and with experience comes expertise. Also, we spoke to other sailors, who have collectively sailed tens of thousands of miles, and asked them which accessories are most important to have on hand. With that in mind we kept the following categories in mind when exploring which accessories to list:
Size and weight: When sailing, size matters since most boats never have quite enough storage for everything you'll want to bring along. We recommend choosing products that offer the most value while minimizing size and weight as much as possible
Price: Let's be honest, boating is expensive! Anything we can do to help you sail better, faster, safer, and FOR LESS, we'll do. Price vs. value is important.
Online Reviews: The best way to gauge effectiveness of a product is to gauge the public's response. We only picked accessories with at least a 4.5 star rating on Amazon.
Our Experience: We've been sailing a long time, and we've encountered quite a few gimmicks that are simply there to take your cash and provide limited value. When considering a product we asked ourselves simply "would I ever use this thing?" and if the answer was no, then you won't see it listed here.
Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker
4.7 average star rating from over 8,000 verified Amazon customers
Finding boat speakers that produce quality sound, are waterproof, and don't corrode over time is a never-ending task. Sound technology is advancing at a rapid pace as well, so why spend a fortune on a premium sound system when you can get it at a fraction of the cost with the JBL Flip 6! We used to use these all the time on charters and they not only withstood being dropped in the water with an IP67 waterproof rating, but this tiny speaker weighing only 1.2 lbs packs a punch with 12 hours of playtime on a single charge! JBL's PartyBoost technology allows you to also pair two JBL PartyBoost-compatible speakers, effectively creating zones within your boat. In terms of durability, the Flip 6 fabric and rugged rubber housing keep it safe in case you hit rough seas. Looking good on the high seas is critical too...so make sure to choose your favorite from the 11 available color options!
Best Adhesive Telltales
4.8 average star rating from verified Amazon customers
There is nothing more irritating than when you're cruising and look up at your telltales to start trimming sails only to find one of your telltales is wet and stuck to the sail, has ripped, or is completely missing. Through years of chartering and sailing we've found the Davis Ripstop Telltales to be the best for the money. First and foremost, just one of these kits comes with a whopping 28 telltales, so this small pack will likely last years. The waterproof adhesive discs are easy-to-use, quick to apply, and unlike yarn telltales when they get wet it's much less likely to stick to your sails. This is simply one of those items you should keep in your maintenance kit as you'll never know when you might need them.
Best Bosun's Chair
4.7 average star rating from over 100 verified Amazon customers
Whether you're afraid of heights or not, one of the most critical accessories that should be kept on every sailboat out there is a Bosun's chair. While many carry climbing harnesses onboard, we highly recommend a the Harken Deluxe Bosun's Chair due to its level of comfort for lengthy jobs, ample pockets to carry your tools, and overall working load capacity that can carry you and your tools up to 220 pounds. In addition unlike a climbing harness that have waistline restrictions, the Harken Delux is a padded plywood seat with security straps, allowing more than the typcal 40" waistline of most climbing harnesses. This particular Bosun's chair even has an adjustable lumbar, stainless steel triangle attachments, high-strength webbing, and ballistic nylon construction making it one of the most durable options on the market, making your next mast climb not only safe and secure, but also comfortable and efficient.
Best Battery Jump Pack
4.7 average star rating from over 10,000 verified Amazon customers
If you haven't encountered a dead starting battery at some point, you're not sailing enough! It's part of the process, sometimes you'll leave appliances running overnight and voila, the next day you go to start the engine at the remote anchorage only to find out the battery is dead. It's always good to keep a jump pack onboard, which is essentially a mobile jump starter. The NOCO Boost Pro GB150 is not only small and portable at only 7.5 lbs., but it also can get multiple jumps in a single charge. Another benefit of this particular model is it's pretty much idiot-proof (believe us, we know!). This particular model also includes a rugged and water-resistant IP65 enclosure and a rubberized over-molded casing to prevent scratching of your gelcoat, teak, or virtually any other surface. This is a dual-use jump pack too, as the GB150's internal battery can also be used as a flashlight, to recharge your smartphone, tablet, or other USB devices, and can be recharged by any powered USB port.
Best Marine First Aid Kit
4.8 average star average rating from over 11,970 verified Amazon customers
If you went to the local convenience store or grabbed the cheapest first aid kit at the local West Marine, trust us when we say you're not prepared for a real medical incident. First aid kits are literally life-savers, and you want them to be packed full of as much as possible as this is your floating doctors office and hospital under First Reponders can reach you, which could be hours, days, or more. Our top pick for marine first aid kits is The Waterproof Premium First Aid Kit by Surviveware. With over 200 essential first aid supplies contained in an IPX7 zippered and watertight case, this basic marine first aid kit is a basic must-have for any coastal or inland sailor. For the offshore passagemaking mariner, we recommend upgrading to something more substantial like the Marine Responder 920 Hard Case First Aid Kit by Rescue Essentials, which is specifically designed and built to exceed USCG CFR 160.041 regulations.
Best Marine Tool Set
4.5 average star rating from over 475 verified Amazon customers
Boat tool sets are not all created equal, especially if you're sailing in salt water or on a foreign built boat. The GreatNeck MS191 comes with pretty much any tool you'd need for most quick boat repairs, but also comes with a water resistant case that floats and the tools are made of drop-forged steel and chrome plated for extra strength and rust resistance (trust us, you don't want to let your boat tools rust!). This set also comes equipped with several SAE and metric hex key wrenches and sockets, along with Phillips and slotted screwdrivers, tape measure, combination wrenches, and virtually anything you'll need to tackle a variety of everyday repairs on any type of boat. Stop replacing your cheap marine toolkit every year when it rusts and check out this awesome marine tool set we've used for years in Key West!
Best Digital Multimeter
4.6 average star rating from over 19,000 verified Amazon customers
While you likely won't use it often, when the day comes and you've got a mystery electrical gremlin in your boat you're going to wish you had a multi-purpose digital multimeter, build with the sailor in mind. After trying a number of products, the KAIWEETS HT118E is our favorite! This digital multi-meter measures AC/DC voltage and current, resistance, temperature, capacitance, frequency, duty-cycle, diodes, continuity, and NCV, including sound and light alarms built-in. You can use this digital multimeter to test outlets, fuses, batteries, chargers, appliances, and so much more! This brand also carries with it an industry-leading 36 month after-sale service and lifetime technical support - basically what we're saying is this will be the last digital multimeter you'll ever need to buy.
Best Boat Cooking Guide
4.6 average star rating from over 270 verified Amazon customers
Despite what anyone else might tell you, provisioning and cooking aboard a boat (especially a sailboat) is different, and as Liam Neeson would say, requires a "particular set of skills" (if you don't get the movie reference, look it up). This onboard cookbook written by 2 seasoned mariners, provides over 800 recipes for both cooks and non-cooks (that's us!) along with very detailed instructions like how to make yogurt and bread, grilling every food type you can imagine, preparing and cooking fresh-caught fish, cutting and boning meat, cooking in a thermos, cooking and baking on a gimbaling stove/oven, in addition to tips and tricks on how to easily prepare meals in a small moving kitchen that heels over. It's a real treat, and a reference guide that we feel should be on EVERY boat on earth!