If you’re an avid boater, then you know that it can be an expensive hobby. Not only do boats costs tens of thousands of dollars, but you also have to consider all of the equipment costs too.

For some people, paying out wads of wash for accessories is a pill too difficult to swallow, and they look for savings wherever they can, choosing cheap equipment over more expensive. But is that a good idea?

When it comes to boating, it makes sense to buy quality instead of saving money. Frugality isn’t always about spending as little as possible. It’s about keeping your money for the stuff that you really need while minimising all your unnecessary expenses.

And when it comes to boating, some things are definitely worth spending money on. It could be the difference between life and death.

Buy A Decent Flashlight

All boaters should carry a flashlight on board. You never know when the power supply to your boat might fail, and you find yourself rummaging around in the cabin for supplies while you await rescue.

Flashlights, however, come in a variety of qualities and sea-worthiness. Some flashlights are excellent, use the most modern form of batteries, last for hours, and are incredibly bright. Others, however, have about the same quality as Christmas cracker toys.

If you’re traveling out on open water, it’s worth getting a sealed and water-resistant flashlight, just in case you need to use it on deck in a storm. Some companies offer fully waterproof LED flashlights you can recharge – no mucking about with AA batteries.

Buy High-Quality Anchors And Line

Anchors and line are other examples where the cheapest isn’t always best. You would think that the quality of something you dump over the side of your boat and drag along the riverbed or seafloor wouldn’t matter much. But as it turns out, it does. Cheap anchor systems can break easily, inadvertently casting you adrift. What’s more, replacing broken anchors is expensive – they should last for the lifetime of the boat.

Ideally, you want an anchor with enough rode for the deepest water you sail in. And you want something PVC-coated that will stand the test of time, even if you use it in saltwater. Replacing a cheap anchor every couple of years is much more expensive than buying a quality one once.

Don’t Skimp On Manual Bailers

If your bilge pump fails, you’re in big trouble, especially if you’re taking on water. A manual bailer, therefore, is vital for keeping you afloat in some situations. Most boat owners will never have to use it. But if you do find yourself in a sticky situation, a high-quality hand-operated system can help a lot.

Top manual bailers can help you slurp more than 13 gallons of water from the deck per minute, putting them on a par with some powered versions. When your boat (and life) are on the line, you need something that is both reliable and heavy-duty to get you out of a sticky situation.

Use Quality Aluminium Paddles

If you own a small boat, it’s a good idea to take paddles with you. You never know when your engine might fail, and you don’t want to be up the creek without the proverbial.

High-quality aluminium paddles are the way to go. Sure, you can get cheaper varieties, but when you’re stuck on open water, you want something that is both lightweight and durable. Heavy wooden oars will wear you out. And cheap plastic could break at any moment.

Choose A Decent Flare Gun

If you get into trouble on open water, you need some way of letting people know where you are and that you need help. Having a flare gun on board is, therefore, a good idea. With a flare gun, you can attract the attention of search and rescue.

Flare guns, however, come in a variety of quality levels. Ideally, you’ll want a flare gun that meets Australian Coast Guard standards, not some cheap knock off from an East Asian country. A flare gun might seem inexpensive, but that’s no good if you desperately need help and it doesn’t do its job.

Grab A Professional GPS System

Think you can get away with using your phone’s map app while out on the open ocean? Think again. Maritime electronics needs to be robust, durable, and highly sensitive so that you can find your way back to dock.

When it comes to GPS equipment, skimping on price is a recipe for disaster.