13 of My Favorite Sailboat Accessories

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After several years of living partly on a sailboat and partly in a Chevy Astro van, I have a list of what I can and can’t live without.

When you’re living in a small space, its important to only pack items that don’t take up very much room.

Our sailboat is currently stuffed to the brim with tools as the boat undergoes a total restoration, but there are plenty of sailboat must-haves we use and love on a regular basis.

Here are my top 13 must-have sailboat accessories for sailing and living aboard.

1. A portable bidet

Bio Bidet TP70 PALM Travel Portable Bidet Bio Bidet TP70 PALM Travel Portable Bidet
  • Item Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 4 x 6 inches
  • Style: Angled Travel Bidet

It might sound weird to use a portable bidet on a sailboat, but trust me, it’s the perfect sailboat accessory. It’s small enough to fit right next to the toilet in the head and is a great way to keep an excess of toilet paper out of the holding tank.

Also, it’s convenient to use as a sprayer to clean out the toilet bowl. I love this little contraption; we even take it backpacking so we don’t have to bury toilet paper in the woods.

It may seem silly, but a portable bidet really is a sailboat must-have.

See the portable bidet on Amazon

2. Turkish Towels

Clotho Turkish Towels Set of 6 Clotho Turkish Towels Set of 6
  • Product Dimensions: 12.01 x 10 x 5 inches
  • Item Weight: 3.55 pounds
  • Made in Turkey, 100% Cotton

I never knew a towel could be so perfect until I tried Turkish towels, recommended by my friend Melody of Saving to Sail. Many sailors use these incredibly soft towels, which are also lightweight, portable and quick-drying.

I use to think microfiber was the best type of travel towel, but now I’m completely sold on Turkish towels. While they are more expensive than traditional towels, they are worth it! We even use them in our campervan.

See the Turkish Towels on Amazon

3. A face buff

Full Face Covering Balaclava iHeartRaves Full Face Covering Balaclava iHeartRaves
  • Dimensions : 5.24 x 5.16 x 0.39 inches
  • Weight: 1.13 Ounces
  • 100% Polyester

A windy day of sailing out on the San Francisco Bay always leaves my skin red and chapped. I found that wearing a buff over my face is an easy solution to this problem! I love how warm I feel with the buff covering my cheeks and nose while we’re out sailing.

This is a sailboat must-have for anyone with sensitive skin.

See the buff on Amazon

5. An insulated water bottle

Hydro Flask Hydro Flask

I absolutely love my Hydro Flask for both cold and warm beverages. The 32-ounce size is the perfect fit for small spaces inside a campervan, and it's also what I like to take hiking.

The Hydro Flask keeps drinks hot and cold for hours. I can't tell you how amazing it is to take an ice cold sip of water on a hot hike! The flask is stainless steel with a BPA-free powder coating. 

I’ve used my insulated Hydro Flask water bottle so many times when sailing. Sometimes I fill it up with cold water when it’s a warm day, other times, I fill it with spicy hot tea to keep me warm.

This insulated water bottle keeps things hot for hours! I’ve burned my tongue after tasting tea one hour later, so be careful.

The Hydro Flask is great for ice cold water, tea, coffee and other beverages you want to keep really hot or really cold.

See the Hydro Flask on REI.

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6. Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Communicator

Garmin inReach Mini GPS Garmin inReach Mini GPS
  • Brand: Garmin
  • Color: Orange
  • Are Batteries Included: Yes
  • Screen Size: 1.27 Inches
  • Display Type: Sunlight-readable, monochrome, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 2 x 1.3 x 3.9 inches
  • Map Type: Satellite
  • Resolution: 128 x 128

The Garmin InReach mini satellite communicator is a definite must-have sailboat accessory. We turn on our Garmin every time we sail where there’s no cell phone signal

Not only does this allow our families to track us, but allows us to track our own route and speed. We use the Garmin InReach hand-in-hand with other navigational equipment on the sailboat.

I love that we can send out an SOS from anywhere in the world if we need help, and we can also send text messages to friends and family members.

The cheapest plan is around $35 per month, which I definitely think is worth the money.

See the Garmin InReach Mini on Amazon

7. Kindle Waterproof Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite Kindle Paperwhite
  • Screen Size: 6" glare-free
  • Storage: 8 GB or 32 GB
  • Resolution: 300 ppi
  • Front light: 5 LEDs

I absolutely HAVE to have my Kindle when I’m onboard our liveaboard sailboat. The Kindle prevents the sailboat from being bogged down by stacks of books, and I can fit thousands of books on there.

Also, I read for free using the Kindle as I get digital books from the library.

My Kindle is far better to read than any sort of screen as I can read it in bright light. I also chose the Paperwhite version because it is waterproof, which you can’t beat when you live on a boat!

See the Kindle Paperwhite on Amazon

8. Go Pro Camera

GoPro Hero5 Black GoPro Hero5 Black
  • Video Capture Resolution: 4K30, 2.7K60, 1080p120 Video
  • Connectivity Technology: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB
  • Screen Size: 2 Inches

I am so glad I bought this GoPro camera to chronicle our journeys on the sailboat. It’s very small and takes amazing still photos and great video. I also have all the accessories that let you wear it on your head or chest, stick it to the sailboat mast, or put it on the end of a selfie stick.

This waterproof camera provides me with loads of fun while we’re out on our adventures, and I would definitely add it to the list of must-have boat accessories. Especially if you’re into blogging and video-making.

See the Go Pro on Amazon

9. An iPad

Apple iPad Apple iPad
  • Screen Size: 10 Inches
  • Brand: Apple
  • Model Name: Apple iPad
  • Memory Storage Capacity: 32 GB
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 10.35 x 7.28 x 1.93 inches

We used to use a DVD drive and a computer to watch movies on our sailboat, but that still required having DVS onboard. We’ve tried to cut clutter by ditching those extra items and investing in an iPad.

Not only can we download shows from Netflix and Amazon Prime, I can also download and read free books and magazines from the library.

I never knew I’d use the iPad so much onboard our sailboat, but now I can’t imagine living without it.

See the Ipad on Amazon

10. Pressure cooker for fast, easy meals

Presto 4-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker Presto 4-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Capacity: 4 Quarts
  • Item Dimensions: 18.81 x 9.88 x 9.88 inches

I am so in love with the pressure cooker on the sailboat. I’ve cooked everything from flank steak that is fork-tender, to braised chicken that falls off the bone, to black beans that cook in just 30 minutes.

Not only does it save on propane, but you can leave a stew to cook on pressure even when the boat is heeling. A great way to make a fast meal on a boat.

I can’t imagine doing without this pressure cooker in our sailboat galley.

See the pressure cooker on Amazon

11. Flexible cutting boards is a sailboat galley essential

Flexible Plastic Cutting Board Mats Flexible Plastic Cutting Board Mats
  • Dimensions: 12 x 0.03 x 15 inches
  • Item Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • BPA-free, non-toxic

I love using these cutting boards on the sailboat. They are small and hold up well, and fit underneath the sink with the rest of our pots and pans. I can’t imagine having real wooden cutting boards on the boat, mostly due to the space they take up.

These are also color-coded if you like to keep your veggies and meat separate.

See the cutting boards on Amazon

12. Shop-vac for sailboat work messes

Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Wattage: 120 watts

I’m sure this Shop-Vac is something Tom and I would agree that is a must-have essential for the sailboat. This vacuum cleaner has been used for so many things it’s ridiculous. From unclogging a stuck sink drain to catching wood shavings while Tom drills, to vacuuming out parts of the bilge, to cleaning out under the sink.

I love that we can vacuum up both liquids and solids with this handy vacuum. I can’t imagine sailboat life without it.


13. Wine sippy cup

Vino2Go Acrylic Tumbler with Black Lids Vino2Go Acrylic Tumbler with Black Lids
  • Color: Black and Black
  • Item Weight: 0.38 Pounds
  • Capacity: 10 Fluid Ounces

There’s nothing worse than spilling red wine on teak, which is why I have this handy dandy wine sippy cup onboard.

It’s one of my best sailboat accessories, works like a charm and still sort of looks like a wine glass. I use this outside, on the counter when I cook, at the table, in the salon when I read. I did tip it over once and barely anything came out. This is ESSENTIAL on the sailboat! I think Tom would agree.


Welp, there you have it! Those are my top 13 must-have sailboat accessories for life aboard the sailboat.

Other sailing stories you’ll love:

What items can you not do without? I’d love to know about them!

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20 thoughts on “13 of My Favorite Sailboat Accessories”

  1. “Boat shoes are not necessary on a sailboat”?! Very bad advice. It is SO easy to hurt your feet on a sailboat that no one by a complete novice would make the mistake of not wearing them!

    • Interesting. My boyfriend has been sailing and cruising since 2001 and goes barefoot and has never had an issue. Just out of curiosity….how do people hurt their feet on a sailboat?

      • I was at the helm on someone else’s sailboat durling a bad storm, I turn around to check my bearings, when my big toe slide into an uncovered drain hole in the cockpit. Before I could get my toe out, we were hit by a big wave, thus braking most of my right foot.

        • Oh my gosh, that is terrible! I think I’d wear shoes on someone else’s boat. My own boat I know where all the dangers are so far 🙂

  2. My must have is my French coffee press. It is stainless and indestructible. I think it’s my husbands favorite too because without it, mornings would be tough. I agree on the shoes. I go barefoot all the time but my husband / first mate always wears his sperrys on deck while we are underway. His feet slip on the decks and almost lost him a few times.

  3. I never took into account that you should have a respirator, as it will help you for dealing with projects on your boat. I’ve been thinking about getting a boat, so these are some very helpful tips. I’ll be sure to make sure I have these boat accessories if I get a boat.

    • Why an AC unit and all the associated electrical? Get a windvscoop instead for the for hatch. Redirects the slightest wind below decks. Try to keep the electrical as simple as possible.

  4. Have you heard of NAS (Network Attached Storage)?
    Instead of having to deal with storing physical disks or keeping track of files on separate physical memory units (USBs/External Hard Disks), you can have one large and centralized location for all your media files. The main advantage of this is being able to stream hundreds of thousands of digitally stored media (pictures, movies, tv shows, audiobooks, music, etc…) to your phones, laptops and TV through the use of a streaming app (ex: PLEX).


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