No matter what kind of fisherman you are, a stereo will always add to an enjoyable day out on the water. If you're one of the 20% who catch 80% of the fish, you can use the stereo to attract more fish, and to celebrate a fantastic haul as you charge back into the marina. If you're one of the rest of us, its a great way to pass the hours between bites, and drown out your mates bragging when you get back to the ramp.

 gr200The Cheap and Cheerful

When looking at the cheap end of the stereo market there is often a temptation to buy a cheap car stereo or perhaps an amplifier with an earphone jack for mp3 players. The problem with both of these options is that the weakest link in a marine stereo is often the speakers, and by the time you have bought a set of decent marine speakers to go with your head unit/amp, you may as well have bought a proper marine combo. A marine stereo with waterproof speakers starts at under $200, and they're great for listening to weather forecasts, music or an MP3 player using a waterproof pouch. It's a great option for small boats under 6m. For a slightly better, louder sound you can go with a basic Fusion stereo and a couple of 4” flush mount speakers for $330. This combo boasts a massive 3 year warranty and has a surprisingly good sound for a small boat!

 Mid Range

If we increased the total cost to $400-$800, a large range of options now becomes available to us. 4 speaker systems, multiple zones, CD players, USB ports, even chartplotter and iphone/android control are now available to us. Sound quality and volume available also increases with price and number of speakers. These systems are suitable for most trailer boats and smaller launches, but once again make sure you're using waterproof speakers – you will kick yourself if you cut corners with them.

 Top Endmarine stereo

 With a budget of between $1000 and $2000 a very, very nice stereo system can be had. All of the features of the mid range stereos plus adding sub woofers, integrated ipod docks, colour screens, TV output and 4 zone operation. Especially at this price point it is worth getting a professional to install your system, as they will be able to advise on speaker placement, amplifier requirements, voltage and current draw.

 

Special Requirements

 As mentioned earlier, car components just wont last in the corrosive marine environment, which also has a knack of corroding away solder terminals on speakers and cable joins, especially on flush mount speakers mounted below knee level. Glue lined heat shrink saves a lot of hastle in the future, and tinned wire is also worth the extra cost.

Its worth remembering that speakers are a large magnet when deciding where to place them, as this will effect compasses and autopilots.

 Aerial requirements.

 For local AM/FM reception an aerial may not be required as a reasonable length (2-3M) cable connected to the aerial input will be fine run cable behind dash area where it is hidden. Another worthwhile antenna is to hook the antenna wire up to the metal window surround on a fibreglass boat. These are normally about the right size too! However the further away from land will require something a dedicated antenna. Antennas in most size ranges are available and mount the same as a VHF antenna. The range of FM signals is not as good as AM so the FM stations will fade a lot sooner without an aerial.