The Jon boat is the ultimate utility-first vessel for shallow water. With the right accessories, you can transform your Jon boat into a highly versatile watercraft for almost anything.
There are a lot of Jon boat accessory options, so I have split them up into a few main categories including:
- Jon Boat Accessories (accessories for the boat itself)
- Motors and Oars
- Fishing Accessories
- Storage Accessories
- Safety Accessories
Jon Boat Accessories
- Boat Trailer Lock
- Jon Boat Cover
- Outboard Motor Cover
- Jon Boat Anchor
- Anchor Cleats
- Padded Jon Boat Seats
- Swivel Seat Mounts
- Jon Boat Trailer
Boat Trailer Lock
With whatever option you go with, make sure you have a trailer lock to keep your trailer and boat secure. A trailer lock will prevent someone from being able to simply hook your trailer up to their hitch and drive off into the sunset.
Jon Boat Cover
Your Jon boat will also need a cover. Boat covers are an important boat accessory whether you plan on storing your boat inside or outside.
When storing inside, a boat cover protects the watercraft from things like dust, debris, and mice. When storing and transporting outside, it provides the necessary protection from the elements.
Jon boats come in a few different styles including Open Jon Boats, Molded Hull Jon Boats, Modified V Jon Boat with High Center Console, Modified V Jon Boat with High Center Console – Extra Wide, and Jon Style Bass Boat.
Covers come in a variety of colors and patterns, including camo options. A fairly universal option is the iCOVER Jon Boat Cover, which can fit a Jon boat between 12 and 18ft long.
Make sure to get a cover for the style and size of your Jon boat. Also check to ensure the cover can accommodate the specific features found on your Jon boat such as bow-mounted trolling motors, swivel pedestal seats, outboard motors, depth finders, and side or center consoles.
Outboard Motor Cover
If you have motorized your Jon boat, a motor cover is also a great accessory to have. In the case of Jon boats, there is a decent chance your motor might actually be worth more than the boat and deserves the same treatment.
A boat motor cover protects your outboard from the elements and knocks and scratches while trailering or mooring.
Jon Boat Anchor
Sometimes you will want to stop your Jon boat and have it stay put. An anchor is a must-have accessory for your Jon boat.
The type of anchor you will need will largely depend on the size of your Jon boat and what type of water you have it in.
The key factor that you are looking for is holding capacity and not weight. In other words, bigger isn’t always better. For example, there are 5 lb. anchors available that are capable of holding 1000 lbs.
This matters for Jon boats specifically because many Jon boats have a relatively low max weight capacity on board. You do not want your anchor to literally weigh you down.
However, if you are using your anchor things like duck hunting where staying perfectly still matters, go with the biggest anchor you can comfortably fit for the size and weight of your Jon boat. A larger anchor will help steady the boat. Go only with what you need, no more.
To go with your anchor, you will also need a set of anchor cleats. You don’t need anything fancy here (and you may already have cleats on your Jon boat and these will work). You just need basic cleats to securely tie your anchor rope to.
Padded Jon Boat Seats
The boat seats on many standard Jon boats are not the most comfortable. A lot of Jon boats come with nothing more than non-padded bench seats.
And just like sitting for hours on end watching your kids at little league or the hockey rink on bleachers, you get to a point where you just need something a little more comfortable.
That’s where padded Jon boat seats come in. A padded seat can make all the difference for your comfort on longer fishing or hunting expeditions.
Padded seats also assist with the general functionality of the boat by providing better sightlines (so you can spot every duck, duck, moose), and swivel action.
Seats and seat hardware can be purchased together or separately, so you have a ton of options with this accessory upgrade to get exactly what you’re looking for.
Swivel Seat Mount
The seats are installed via a Swivel Seat Mount that typically comes with a deck base that is drilled onto the deck of the boat and a seat base that is drilled into the seat. The two fit securely together. You just push them into place.
Overall installation is pretty fast with these. This upgrade will give you a ton of extra comfort and functionality for your buck.
Boat seat pedestals come in a variety of heights including some adjustable options. I recommend Attwood’s SP-67749 Swivel-Eze Lock’N-Pin Aluminum Boat Seat Pedestal Mount. This 7-inch mount installs with just 6 screws and the Lock’N-Pin makes putting seats on a breeze.
Jon Boat Trailer
Although many Jon boats are small enough to fit in the bed of a truck or roof rack, a trailer makes transporting and launching your Jon boat a lot easier.
Many Jon Boats will come with a trailer when you purchase that is designed specifically for that vessel, but just as many do not. For those that don’t, there are a number of aftermarket options available.
Jon boat trailers come in aluminum, galvanized aluminum, and steel options. What you are looking for is a flat-frame trailer and your vehicle must have a trailer hitch.
Before going with an aftermarket option, it is always a good idea to check and see if the folks who made your Jon boat made a trailer for it. An OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) trailer is guaranteed to fit your exact boat and meet all of the specification requirements. For example, many of the models in the Tracker Grizzly Series of Jon Boats come with trailers.
If you do need to seek out an aftermarket option, below are a few manufacturers who make Jon Boat Trailers:
Motors and Oars
Many Jon boat owners opt to motorize their vessels with the addition of an outboard motor. An outboard motor goes a long way in, well, getting you a long way. The expanse of area you can explore with a bit more speed exponentially increases, making this a top-shelf Jon boat accessory.
When choosing a motor, you will need to know how many pounds of thrust you need for the weight of the vessel and its passengers and gear. As a rule of thumb, a 1000 lb. Jon boat carrying 4 passengers can be powered by 50 lbs. of thrust.
For anglers and hunters, an electric trolling motor is a must! Trolling motors provide fine tuned control over positioning of the boat without needing to anchor. They are also very quiet for the stealth approach you will need for fishing and duck hunting.
Trolling motors are often used as a secondary means of propulsion alongside the primary outboard motor. They can be mounted to the bow or transom-mounted on the rear.
GPS-operated trolling motors have the added advantage of auto-pilot technology. Wireless trolling motors like the MotorGuide Xi5 and Minn Kota i-Pilot GPS Trolling Motor System can basically perform boat control miracles.
With these motors, you can control speed, steering, spot-lock, and the ability to record and retrace paths on the water, all at your fingertips.
Simply put, electric trolling motors are single-handedly the best investment you can make for fishing success.
Trolling Motor Prop Protectors
Trolling Motor Prop Protectors are another great Jon boat accessory. Prop protectors are actually to protect the boat cover more than the propellers themselves.
They are typically made from heavy-duty marine-grade vinyl. They extend the life of your boat cover by protecting it from wear and tear caused by sharp edges on your trolling motor prop. They come in sizes to fit both 2 and 3 blade propellors.
Prop Protectors are a really inexpensive accessory that you can pick up for less than $50. Well worth the investment to protect your boat cover.
Trolling Motor Stabilizer Lock
Another small investment you can make is in a Trolling Motor Lock. Trolling Motor Locks are machined from stainless steel and fit tightly to the engine’s mount.
They have two primary purposes:
- Prevent theft of the motor by locking it in place;
- Stabilize the motor to prevent damage to the trolling motor or the boat.
If you have opted to row, row, row your boat, you will need some oars. Jon boats work great with oars, and this can be an incredibly inexpensive way to get out on the water.
If oars are your primary source of power, you will want to invest in a heavy-duty pair of oars that come with oarlocks and a split shaft. Oarlocks hold the oar shaft to ensure the oar blade is always at the correct angle in the water for optimum performance.
And last, but certainly not least, always make sure to get a set of oars that float! You do not want to drop your oar and be up a creek without a paddle.
- Portable Fish Finder
- Fish Cooler Bag
- Fishing Rod Holders
- LED Trolling Motor Light
- Digital Hanging Fish Scale
Portable Fish Finder
There are lots of options on the market for portable fish finders. The Garmin Striker is a reliable fish finder sitting at around $200. You can also put one of these in your pocket for as low as around $40, like the LUCKY Wired Fish Finder, so look around.
A Portable Fisher Finder is a great addition to any Jon boat! They take up virtually no space on board. Most portable models are no more than 7 inches, and some are small enough to fit right in your pocket.
These handheld fish finders will pack a lot of fun into a small device. They make a day of fishing a lot more interactive and successful, especially with kids.
The high-frequency sonar technology allows you to see what’s under and around your boat with almost photographic detail on an LCD screen.
Most portable fish finders are very intuitive in use with nothing more than a simple set of button controls and an LCD screen. And because they are portable, you can use them on other watercraft like canoes and kayaks too.
Fish Cooler Bag
Some Jon boat models do not have a built-in livewell and a Fish Cooler Bag is a great way to add this functionality. Fish Cooler Bags have a soft shell that makes them lightweight and easy to carry.
They are made with waterproof liners designed to keep the water and ice on the inside and have thick, no-sweat insulation. The performance of these coolers is fantastic and is a great way to keep your catch cool and fresh!
The best part is that at the end of the day, you get to carry your catch off the boat like a duffle bag. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
Fishing Rod Holders
Every fishing boat needs some fishing rod holders and the Jon boat is no exception. Jon boats are often a fishing-first vessel and a few good rod holders really improve that experience.
Rod holders easily mount to the side or deck of a Jon boat. They will keep your rod secure and free up your hands. Look for a rod holder with a universal cradle so that it can interchangeably hold all the rod types you have on board. Locking rings are another handy feature as they prevent loss while traveling.
LED Trolling Motor Light
If you plan on doing any fishing at night, an LED light is essential. These LED lights can be used both to improve night fishing (like bass fishing), and also for added safety and visibility.
LED Trolling Motor Lights have a simple installation that mounts directly to Trolling Motor Mount. Look for models made from corrosion-proof aluminum and stainless steel like the Lane Blaster LED Trolling Motor Headlight:
Many trolling motor manufacturers also make LED trolling motor light kits designed for your specific make and model. For example, Minn Kota has a kit that replaces the original diversion plate mounted on the nose of the trolling motor mount.
Digital Hanging Fish Scale
With all the fishing you will be doing in your Jon boat, a Digital Hanging Fish Scale is a great little tool to have on board. These portable scales are very small and easy to keep in your boat. If you are fishing with kids, they will definitely want to weigh their catch right away!
Cooler and Livewell
When you are out on the water, there are two things you need to keep cool: your drinks and your fish. Luckily, there are coolers made for both.
In this category, the Yeti is always at the top of the list, like the YETI Tundra 35 Cooler. Yeti coolers are pretty much a lifelong purchase as the durability and cooling power is unsurpassed. They also have a fairly compact footprint and can double as an extra seat on board.
A more budget-friendly option is the Amazon Commercial Rotomolded Cooler. And don’t worry, the giant Amazon label easily peels off!
Whatever option you choose, make sure:
- The cooler has enough room for what you want to carry inside;
- Pre-measure where you want to put in on your boat to make sure the size is right;
- Check the specifications to ensure it will keep things cool for the length of time you plan to be out.
For Jon boaters that will be using their vessel for hunting, storage for your guns on board is critical. However, aftermarket gun boxes for Jon boats can be difficult to find. What you are looking for is something that is heavy-duty, long, and designed to fit along the side of the boat.
If you cannot find an aftermarket gun box, a suitable alternative is an aluminum shipping box, which can easily be found at almost any surplus store.
These come in a variety of sizes, so simply measure your guns to ensure a proper fit. Foam padding can then be used on the inside to further secure your firearms and avoid rattle.
Waterproof Dry Bags
Many Jon boat models do not come with dry storage options on board, or you need more storage than what the boat can accommodate. To keep your gear dry, a Waterproof Dry Bag is a fantastic lightweight and very inexpensive option.
Dry bags are really easy to use. They have a unique roll-top closure that creates a watertight seal. This makes them simple to open and close as many times as you need, and they are easy for kids to use too.
The bag is simply secured by rolling down at least 3 times, them clipping the buckles together.
I love the Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag. This bag comes with a few added features that make it a good buy including a carrying strap and waterproof phone case. There are some great color options as well.
If you have items on board that need rigid storage, additional storage containers are a better option. You can get storage containers made specifically for Jon boats, sportsman trunks, or this can also be as simple as a rigid plastic container like the Rubbermaid ActionPacker Lockable Storage Bin.
When choosing, think about whether you plan on leaving the container on the boat, or if you plan on carrying it on and off. If you are carrying it, look for lighter-weight options that are easier to transport.
Jon boats are a utility-first vessel and many do not have the little leisure niceties like a cup holder. This is a simple one, but you will find you need somewhere to keep an open drink secure.
You can get a variety of options for these that can be mounted almost anywhere. The Kemimoto Boat Caddy Marine Cup Holder and Storage Box is a very versatile option.
Another style that I really like is a cup holder/dry box combo unit that is designed to attach to the rail system of your boat.
These are great because you get the added bonus of a small dry compartment to store things like your keys or other small items.
- Navigational Boat Lights
- Waterproof Tactical Flashlight
- Telescoping Paddles
- Bilge Pump
- Waterproof Cell Phone Charger
- Starter Battery
- Boat Repair Kit
Navigational Boat Lights
If your boat is powered, the addition of navigational boat lights is likely regulated and required. According to the US coast guard regulations:
- The stern must have white light;
- The bow must have red/green lights;
- Navigational lights must stay on from sunset to dawn regardless of the weather and visibility.
Luckily, navigational LED lights are very easy to find and relatively inexpensive. The lights must be waterproof, so look for ones that are listed as marine-grade.
Navigational lights can be installed by drilling, or with heavy-duty VHB Double-Sided Acrylic Adhesive Tape. VHB tape can be purchased at any hardware store.
Waterproof Tactical Flashlight
A Waterproof Tactical Flashlight is a great safety accessory to have on any boat. These small flashlights are extremely durable, water-resistant, and are something you should leave on your boat.
There are battery options as well as rechargeable USB options. I like the USB option, particularly if your Jon boat has a power outlet for USB built-in.
In the case of an emergency or motor failure, you will always want to have some paddles on board as a backup option.
To save space, telescoping paddles are perfect for this job. They are extremely lightweight and collapse down to save on space.
You will hopefully not need to use these, but either way, look for ones with a quality telescopic locking mechanism. If you do need them, a little better quality here will go a long way.
Submersible Bilge Pump
If water enters the bilge of your Jon boat, which is the lowest point of the hull, you will want to get it out as quickly and effectively as you can. A Bilge Pump makes short work of this.
Bilge pumps are installed inside of the hull and their job is to pump the water out either automatically or manually depending on the bilge pump.
Bilge pumps are measured by the number of gallons of water they need to pump. You can get this number from your Jon boat manufacturer.
If your Jon boat did not come with a bilge pump, make sure to get one. This is an essential safety accessory.
Waterproof Cell Phone Charger
A charged cell phone can be your lifeline when you need it. For long days on the water, a waterproof cell phone charger can make sure you have a connection when you need it. Waterproof cell phone chargers are portable and can be charged by USB or solar.
A starter battery is an excellent item to have while boating in case your outboard will not start. Look for something that is compact and lightweight. Every pound matters on a Jon boat.
A starter battery would be for your main outboard motor and not your trolling motor or other small appliances. They work by providing a quick and powerful spurt of energy to start the engine by rapidly recharging the engine alternator.
When deciding what Jon boat accessories you would get the most use out of, start with safety, then work backward to your recreational needs.
Planning the interior functionality of your Jon boat can be a really fun process. Use painter’s tape to map out what you are thinking of installing so you can do a dry run, move around, and see how it functions.
With any aftermarket accessory, reviews are your friend. Check and see what other boaters thought and find the right option within your budget.
Have some fun and enjoy customizing your Jon boat and truly making it your own.
About Deb Sauvé
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