The TOP-10 Houseboat Accessories

A real life review of the best
Houseboat Accessories ever!

After boating for the last 30 years, and as a houseboat liveaboard for the last decade, I have bought, used, tested, and yes even discarded a wide variety of good, bad, and very useful house boat accessories. The Top10 Houseboat Accessories


It was really hard to pick the TOP 10 since there's so many favorites, but here's a list, and an explanation of why we love them, and recommend them to you!

The TOP 10 favorite
Houseboat Accessories
( in no particular order)

houseboat dinghyInflatable Dinghy
Dinghy's are great for those quick trips to shore, or to go fishing, and to ...

Click here for the full review

houseboat binocularsMarine Binoculars
These are amazing binoculars, once you try a pair, you'll never go back to...

Click here for the full review

houseboat thermopumpsAC/Heat Thermopumps
These marine thermopumps are an excellent way to heat and cool your houseboat compared to...

Click here for the full review


houseboat galvanic isolatorGalvanic Isolator
Do you want to save your hull and outdrives from serious corrosion, than you need to...

Click here for the full review

houseboat outdrivesreplacement Outdrives
After having come across these OEM replacements which are about 1/2 price, and come with a full 3 year warranty, and are shipped sameday...

Click here for the full review


inflatable life jacketsInflatable Life Jackets
These are so comfortable, you'll never know that you're wearing it, and they're great for...

Click here for the full review


houseboat thrustersBow & Stern Thrusters
These are the ULTIMATE in Houseboat control, and will make your life much easier when you're...

Click here for the full review

Dinghy Trim TabsTrim Tabs for Dinghy's
Don't laugh, I personally have them installed on my dinghy and they are truly amazing because...

Click here for the full review


houseboat-propanePropane Safety
If your houseboat is equipped with propane, and the thought of an explosion is of concern than...

Click here for the full review

houseboat-securitySafety & Security kits
If your "handy with tools", and you enjoy outfitting your houseboat with inexpensive high-tech systems, than these are some of the coolest...

Click here for the full review





Upcoming Houseboat Accessories Reviews

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The list below is Houseboat Accessories to be reviewed soon.

  • Uniden VHF + wireless Remote (ideal for the Flybridge)
  • Uniden portable VHF (a great radio for Dinghy trips)
  • Wireless Internet + Antenna's (get access up to 5 km's)
  • Houseboat LogBook (a really useful LogBook for the Captain)


  • Navigation software (simple, easy to use, and expandable)
  • GPS & software (a necessity for electronic navigation)
  • Fuel Flow gauge (helps to reduce & track fuel consumption)
  • tip for Hot Water switch (allows Load Sharing during peak hours)


  • Fender Clips (helps your crew to adjust the bumpers/fenders)
  • Rubber dock springs (reduce the swing & bounce on windy days)
  • Fuel & Gas Sniffer (be notified of dangerous fuel leaks)
  • Roof coating & Sealer (use to repair those pesky roof leaks)




Inflatable Dinghy's

houseboat dinghy

Inflatable Dinghy uses: Inflatable Dinghy's are great for those quick trips to shore, or to go fishing, or really fun to have on those hot sticky days just to get out and zip around the lake and cool off.

Quick & Easy: At times you'll enjoy the dinghy just as much as your houseboat, since these inflatable dinghies are so easy and quick to get untied and out on the water. Great for a scoot around the marina, or to watch the sunset.

Dinghy Race Day: My wife and I have been organizing an annual dinghy race day to help promote water sports and safe boating. It attracts children right up to grand fathers who want to partake in the obstacle course and races. It's priceless to see grown men become "kids" for a day!

Great Activity: Because of the dinghy races we have seen a large increase in people buying themselves a dinghy or zodiak and thanking us for introducing them to this new water activity.

Dinghy types: You will find different styles ranging from 6 ft models right up to commercial boats of 30-40 footers. Some models are inflatable floors, some are multi-panel floors, while some have hard rigid fiberglass floors. There's basically two types of material that is used, either PVC or Hypalon, and each has their advantages.

Dinghy propulsion: You will find some that use oars or paddles as their primary means of getting around. Typically used to get around boats at anchorage. Moving up a notch comes the gas powered outboard engines, ranging from 1hp up to 30-40 hp for a large-sized boats.

You will find 2stroke engines in the older motors (mix the gas & oil), and the newer 4stroke models. The newer 4strokes are fuel efficient, clean burning, and don't require the mixing of gas & oil.

What's Best? This depends on what your usage intends to be?

  • Do you want to stay close to the boat, or travel some distance?

  • How many people do you plan on carrying, groceries, transport?

  • Get the proper engine HP in order for the boat to get up on plane.

  • Decide if you want to tow the dinghy, or deflate and store it?

  • Choose an model big enough for people, fuel, activity, and cargo?

  • Do you want an inflatable floor, multi piece floor, or rigid floor?

  • There's rear tiller models, and one's with center steering consoles.

  • If you're thinking of purchasing a dinghy, this is where I bought some of my inflatable dinghies, they have good prices and great service.



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    Marine Binoculars

    houseboat binoculars

    Marine Binoculars: These are amazing binoculars, and once you try a pair, you'll never go back to a regular pair! We've always had the typical "second hand" or "hand me down" kind of binoculars and never really considered that there would be such a difference.

    What a Pleasure: After being on a friends boat, we had the chance to try what he called a "real pair" of marine binoculars and WOW, I couldn't believe everything that I've been missing all these years. You can spend all day looking through those lenses. It was at that point that I researched what makes the difference between an OK pair, and a just incredible GREAT pair!

    Optical clarity: You will find that the quality of the lenses play a big part in the vision and sharpness of the view. A poor quality lenses will be like looking through lenses that have Vaseline coated on them, fuzzy on the outer rim, and tiring for the eyes.  

    Lense Coating: The quality of lense coatings can be best explained with the four types below.

    • Coated: one or more surfaces coated with a single layer.

    • Fully coated: all air-to-glass surfaces are single-layer coated.

    • Multi coated: one or more surfaces coated with multiple layers.

    • Fully multi coated: all air-to-glass surfaces are coated with multiple layers

    Waterproof: The marine binoculars are filled with nitrogen which keeps them dry and eliminates fogging, especially in wet weather. You know, you leave in the morning, it's sunny and dry, and later in the day, it starts raining cats & dogs.

    You wear Glasses: You want a pair of binoculars that have an "eye relief" of about 1" (25mm), since this helps drastically when you wear glasses or sunglasses. So much easier to see with the sunglasses.

    Interested to see some Binoculars? If you're thinking of purchasing a pair, this is where I got these Marine Binoculars, they have good prices and great service.



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    AC/Heat Thermopumps

    houseboat thermopumps

    AC/Heat Thermo Pumps: These marine Air Conditioning/Reverse Heat Thermopumps are an excellent way to heat and cool your houseboat compared to the typical roof mounted Coleman style Air Conditioners. Also, from an efficiency (cost to run) point of view, these units are very thrifty in cooling mode, and 3.5 times more efficient in the heat mode. Definitely one of my all-time favorite houseboat accessories.

    Small to Large: Whether you have a small or large houseboat, they make these units to provide comfort on virtually any size of house boat. You can put multiple units to provide individual control.

    Installation: Since they require a little more installation than the typical roof mounted units, it's best to consult the operating manual to get a better understanding, or speak to one of the many installers available. I've installed many for myself and others, and I only have limited simple tools.

    Quiet and Good Air Flow: Living on a houseboat presents some different situations generally not found on land. The environment is humid and cold at times, and these units do a very good job at reducing or eliminating excessive onboard humidity levels.

    Marine Air & Webasto: These systems are easy to install, and here are the specifications for the Marine Air systems, and here for the Webasto systems



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    Galvanic Isolators

    houseboat galvanic isolator

    Galvanic Isolator: Do you want to save your Hull & Outdrives from serious corrosion, than you need to seriously look into electrolytic corrosion. Every boat in the water that has AC or DC power is acting like a battery once it is launched in the water. You've seen battery acid? Galvanic corrosion can be just as devastating, costly, and can potentially sink your boat! Yet so many people don't look into it.

    What are the Signs? You most likely have seen underwater fittings, or propellers and Outdrives, or thru hulls and shafts that are pitted or being slowly (or quickly) eaten away? The combination of different metals, electricity, and water acting as a conductor, creates this destructive underwater situation that can be eliminated.

    An Isolator: The prices for a galvanic isolator are very reasonable, and they are a small unit that is installed in the ground side of the electrical wiring of the boat, which stops the leakage of the destructive stray current. A fairly simple installation.

    Small Investment, Big Return: Since I'm a big believer in that just a little preventative maintenance pays for itself with big dividends. I have always installed these in all of our houseboats, since the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention, prevents a pound of cure".



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    replacement Outdrives

    houseboat outdrives

    Replacement Sterndrives: After having come across these OEM Stern Drive replacements which are about 1/2 price, and come with a full 3 year warranty, and are shipped the same day, it's a win win situation for anyone needing a sterndrive repair or replacement.

    Half Price: With the price of Sterndrives going through the roof, and the price to repair them becoming exorbitant, anything that can help to reduce the houseboating budget is a definite bonus.

    Excellent Reviews: From all the postings in their forums, it appears that they are getting excellent reviews, and are being used in a wide range of light and heavy duty applications. Well worth your time to look into it.

    Want a great deal? Current Auctions on Mercruiser Sterndrives.
    You're looking for original Mercuiser Sterndrives, or would rather get an inexpensive OEM replacement sterndrives are available. Clicking the links below will open them in a new window.



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    Inflatable Life Jackets

    inflatable life jackets

    Inflatable Life Jackets These are so comfortable, you'll never know that you're wearing it, and they're great for Saving your Life! Since we both teach Boating Courses for the Power Squadron, and are part of the Coast Guard Auxiliary we see plenty of statistics and samples.

    Realistically Speaking: Life jackets are like seat belts in cars, you see a lot more casualties from accident victims that weren't wearing them, than those who were! Statistically speaking, there is no valid reason not to wear one, just look at the Titanic. The survivors were wearing their life jackets.

    If you're thinking of purchasing one, you can find Hydrostatic Life Jackets, and they have good prices and great service.




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    Bow & Stern Thrusters

    houseboat thrusters

    Bow & Stern Thrusters: These are the Ultimate in Houseboat control, and will make your life much easier when you're docking. What better than having all your dock mates out to give a helping hand while docking, and you parking your houseboat like a PRO!!!

    Bow or Stern: The question gets asked often, and if you had to choose only one, you would find that the "bow thruster" is the most popular since you already control the stern. The bow thruster adds that extra level of confidence to handle her in adverse conditions.

    Built-in or Clip-on: Depending on the type of houseboat, you will find two popular styles of house boat thrusters. There's the one's that are installed in the "V" portion of your bow. The "clip on" version is installed "on" the bow and can be the only alternative for those barge style houseboats that wouldn't be able to have one installed internally.

    Internal Built-In: For more info on House Boat Thrusters

    External Clip-On: For more info on House Boat Thrusters


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    Trim Tabs for dinghy's

    Dinghy Trim Tabs

    Trim Tabs for Dinghy's Don't laugh, I personally have them installed on my dinghy's and they are truly amazing because they allow it to get on plane really fast! Can now actually see over the bow during take-off! No more sinking the stern and pointing the bow to the sky.

    Plane with more People: Now with more people onboard the dinghy can still plane, and use less fuel because the throttle is much lower. Go figure, such a simple design, yet amazing results.

    Crowd Stopper: Since we organize, and participate in the annual dinghy races, everybody has been running out and installing them, since the speed difference is dramatic. The dinghy has a 10hp, and with these Trim Tabs, it feels and performs like it has a 20hp. :)

    If you'd like to know more about them, or you're thinking of trying some tabs, this is a good place for small Trim Tabs, they have good prices and great service.



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    Propane Safety

    houseboat-propane

    Propane Safety: If your houseboat is equipped with propane, and the thought of an explosion is of concern, than do look into this. Since propane is a heavier than "air" kind of fuel, any leak that develops will accumulate in the lowest part of your house boat.

    Control Panel: The panel can be installed in a central location, and controls up to (3) sensors, ex: propane, bilge, and engine room. Should a leak, vapor, or fumes occur, it shut down the solenoid, and starts sounding an alarm. Hmm, just the level of safety I like!

    Fire & Explosion: If you have gasoline, propane, or any combustible fuel onboard, there is no point is risking your life with an explosion or a fire. A fire can build slowly, but an explosion is instantaneous.

    Pays for itself: The unit paid for itself in one recent situation. Our battery charger became defective and unknown to me, was over-charging our (2) deep-cycle house batteries. It was causing them to "gas" which would quickly and eventually destroy them, costing us hundreds of dollars and hours of labor. Paid for itself right there.

    If you're thinking of purchasing one, this is where you can see Vapor & Propane Safety Control system, they have good prices and great service.



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    Safety & Security kits...

    houseboat-security

    Safety & Security kits: If your "handy with tools", and you enjoy outfitting your houseboat with inexpensive high-tech systems, than these are some of the best additions that you can install.

    Simple & High-Tech: Whether you want Video, Security, Bilge & Engine alarms, you will find kits to build just about any project, to automate and protect your house boat. Kits can pay for themselves.

  • Cell Phone Alert for Security, Bilge, Fire, Smoke

  • High Water Bilge Alarms,

  • Five Area Systems Monitor

  • Cooling Water Flow Detectors

  • Bilge Alarms, Switches, Bilge Pump Counter

  • Boat Security, Anchor Light Switch,

  • Boat Alarms for Engine, Exhaust and Generator

  • Boat Fire Alarms, Smoke & Fume Detectors, Safety

  • Helmsman Watch Alarm System

  • Audible and Visual Marine Alarms

  • Engine Temperature Sensors

  • Lobster Underwater Camera and Monitor

  • Custom Panels and Replacement parts

  • Easier & Safer Boating:
    In all our years of boating and living on a houseboat, kits like these have made our lives easier, safer, and have paid for themselves just in "downtime" alone.

    For more information on these Houseboat Security Safety Systems, visit Aqualarm.

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