2015 Water Sports Gear Guide: Accessories

While ropes, gloves and board racks all clearly fall into the realm of water-sports accessories, this category must also include a broader range of goods. Wearables, like sunglasses and footwear, help keep you in the mood, on and off the water, while providing a nonverbal means to inform all you meet about your lifestyle. Boat-maintenance products are essential to keep your ride running right and looking great. Yes, marine and water-sports accessories comprise a big world. We’ve narrowed down the choices to those we believe you should consider essential.

Fuelish Pleasure: Water sports is nowhere without a smooth-running engine. But today’s fuels, especially ethanol-blended gasoline, can challenge even the most fastidious boat owner’s diligence. Choose and use the correct fuel additive for your application.

See the Difference: Boating eyewear is essential for your health and for safe navigation. Look for lenses with high-UV and -IR ratings to ensure that your eyes are protected from the brightness only the waterborne experience. Polarization cuts glare, making easy to see stumps, rocks and other obstructions below the water’s surface — not to mention seeing your rider by the dawn’s early light.

Step It Up: Certainly boating footwear should be selected for a grippy, non-marking sole. It’s also important to make sure your feet and ankles have the right support, since footing can get rocky, even aboard the best-riding boats. And don’t forget quick-drying construction: Look for drain holes and other features that help ensure you won’t squish as you walk.

Shine On: Wax — or a synthetic replicant — is a product that provides the final, gleaming and protective finish to your ride, and it is all a new(ish) boat might need. Polishes are used to restore shine to mildly oxidized boat hulls, and meant to be followed by wax to keep the shine and protect the surface. Compounds are true abrasives for older boats, and should be followed by both a polish and a wax.

Valves: Large-diameter Boston-brand valves are well worth looking for in a towable. Not only do these make inflation secure and easy, but they make deflation easy as well.