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What kind of marine audio system is right for your boat?

Get the best stereo gear for your boat and your lifestyle

wetsounds boat

Photo courtesy of Wet Sounds

In brief: Thinking about a new stereo system for your boat? One of these marine audio system profiles might provide the inspiration you need.

There are as many kinds of boaters as there are different kinds of boats, so sweeping generalizations are worth about as much as a fishnet windsock. That said, if you see a little bit of yourself in these profiles, it might help you create the perfect marine audio system.

Just the basics

A simple system with a stereo and couple of speakers

Kenwood marine receiver/speakers package

Looking for an all-in-one upgrade? Check out our selection of marine receiver/speaker packages

If you're seriously into audio, we carry a vast array of outstanding gear that will make your boat sound great. But for some people, a receiver and a decent set of speakers will do quite nicely.

A typical system might include:

  • Marine receiver: Get the functionality you want and the durability you need
  • Marine speakers: If your old speakers are worn out, you'll be amazed by the improvement
  • If you want to upgrade the receiver and speakers at the same time, or just want to make shopping easier, you can get a nice deal with our selection of marine receiver and speaker packages

Don't scare the fish

A simple system with a fish finder

Garmin fish finder kit

If you're into fishing, you'll definitely want to add a fish finder to your boat

We don't have scientific proof of this, but we're pretty sure that screaming speakers and thumping subwoofers do not attract fish. If you're more concerned with what's biting than what's playing, your boat doesn't need to be an audio powerhouse.

A typical system might include:

Let's party

Hanging out with friends...on a boat

FUSION marine speakers

Want better sound and cool lighting? We offer marine speakers with built-in LED lighting

One of the best things about having a boat is inviting your friends out for a day on the water (BTW, this is also the best thing about having a friend with a boat). Good music makes boating even better.

A typical system might include:

  • CD receiver with Bluetooth: Play the discs, downloads, and streaming music that will keep your guests happy
  • LED speakers: Great sound, plus lighting that pulsates in time with the tunes = awesome
  • Marine subs: If people are going to boogie, they're going to need bass
  • Marine amps: The power you need to get the volume you want, especially if one or more subs are involved

Fast and loud

Loud music and water sports

Wet Sounds amplifier

Adding an amplifier to your system will bring out the best in your new speakers

If you're into wakeboarding or water skiing, you're into high-performance boats. You'll need a high-performance stereo to hear your tunes over the roar of the engine while you're out enjoying a day on the lake.

A typical system might include:

  • Digital media receiver: Play just about anything you want from a variety of devices
  • Tower speakers: Big sound that can be heard by the folks on the deck or the person on the skis
  • Wet Sounds amps: Whether it's the looks or the sound, these marine-rated amps make a powerful statement
  • Wet Sounds subs: These subwoofers will give you thunderous bass and serious style

Big boat, big system

Complex audio system controlled from anywhere on the boat

FUSION marine receiver

A quality receiver can serve as the hub of your boat's entertainment and information system

A larger boat gives you the opportunity to create a serious, audiophile-quality audio (and video) system that can be controlled from anywhere on the vessel with strategically placed remote controls.

To create a top-of-the-line audio network on our boat, check out our article about the NMEA 2000 networking system

A typical system might include:

  • NMEA 2000-enabled receiver: Handles your boat's entertainment and communication essentials
  • Marine remote controls: No need to run back to the helm every time you want to change songs or sources
  • Speakers: You have the space to work with, so fill it with top-quality sound
  • Subs: Even if you're not cranking it up to max volume, you'll still want quality bass to fill out your music

Further help

If you have any questions or want some expert recommendations for your boat, contact us via phone, chat, or email. Our advisors are ready to help. 

  • Ethan

    Posted on 10/28/2023

    Hey all, I've been looking into upgrading the speakers on my sailing yacht. Read all of your articles on marine speakers, but I have not seen a mention on the power draw of some of these systems. How are you guys calculating the power draw for a amp, speakers, and sub? How long will a typical marine battery last running this gear?

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 10/30/2023

    Ethan, Those are excellent questions, and the admittedly wishy-washy first answer is "It depends...." There are actual answers, though, depending on your boat and the system you want to build. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.

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