Take a look at all the boat coolers on the market and select a size that will fit on your boat, hold enough beverages to keep you hydrated, and hold your precious catch on ice for your trip home. You may choose to have two coolers - one for beverages and food, and a separate cooler for your catch to take home. Freezer bags do a nice job to place fish fillets in for the ride home.
Do boat coolers have to say "For Marine Use" for use on a boat? Any cooler will work but a marine cooler is often white, which reflects sun rays and are are made with UV resistance. Typically extra insulation is built into these coolers, which means they promise to keep things colder longer. This Igloo 28 quart marine cooler is a great choice for a one day trip to the lake. An ideal size for 2-3 anglers beverages and sandwiches which means you can leave a supply/larger cooler back at the camp, truck, or in the cabin. This is the perfect size to take to the boat for the day. And it keeps things cold! Strongly recommended...
These igloo marine coolers come in a variety of sizes.
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Boat Coolers - What Size?
Several factors should be considered, for example: How much space do you have on you boat? What kind of access to adding more ice will you have during the day? How many people will be with you on your boat - calculate how much space you will need for water hydration? Will you need a cooler for fish (as shown below) or do you have a live well on your boat? Will you need a separate cooler for food and/or beverages? Will you keep a main cooler at the camp, cabin or hotel and need one only for food and/or beverages each day? Will you have a refrigerator at your hotel or cabin? Pay attention to the size of coolers other anglers or guides will use. Some will keep a cooler for water or other beverages and a second one containing ice to use in place of a live well to throw their caught fish into.
Boat Cooler Full of Fish!
Live Bait Cooler
Engel’s Live Bait Coolers keeps live bait always ready for use. Minnow, shrimp, worms, leeches, thanks to their air pump and insulated cooler box. Keep warm for winter, or cold for summer. The two speed pump is just what the doctor ordered, and it can be run via the 12 volt battery adapter. The pump runs on 2 D cell batteries (not included) or the 12V adapter. Engle bait coolers come in 13, 19 and 30 quart sizes.
PFT used one of these on every fishing trip... Yes they are worth checking out.
Live Well Cooler - Make One
This Aerator Kit runs off your 12 volt battery and is designed to work with up to 30 gallons of water. It features a foam filter to help keep water clean and a nine inch spray tube that adjusts the amount of spray. This kit offers a great option for boats with no live wells on board - you may want to use an older cooler that can be designated as your live well/cooler. Again, this is recommended from personal experience. Run this off your auxiliary deep cycle battery.
Coleman Extreme Coolers
These coleman Marine Extreme coolers have UV protection, and have been tested holding ice up to 6 days in 90 degree heat, along with 200 cans. This happens due to the extra insulation and the extra heavy duty lid which can hold up to 250 pounds. This has been our go to cooler for years.
Best Boat Coolers
What then makes up the best cooler? There are many brands, materials, and promises to store ice for specific periods of time. If you only use a cooler occasionally for 3-4 hours on 70 degree days, then most any cooler will do - soft sided, styrofoam, or cheap poor insulated coolers. On the other hand, when heading out for all day adventures in 95-100 degree days, you may be looking for a cooler that will stand up these harsh conditions. When looking for the best boat cooler on the market there are at least five things to look for:
- Outer Material: Sturdy and UV Resistant
- Insulation: One - Two Inches
- Hinge: Should be the Length of the Lid
- Lid Seal: Adequate to Seal Out Heat - and to Seal In Cold.
- Lid Latch or Lock: Keep Lid from Opening and Losing Cold Air
We have dedicated a whole page to best coolers, read more at this link: Best Boat Coolers
The Yeti Tundra coolers meet all these criteria and are some of the best, most sturdy coolers on the market. Shown below - check them out.
Yeti Coolers feature all the benefits listed above. They hold ice crazy long and are virtually indestructible. We have recently added a Yeti to our gear and find it stands up to abuse and have not been disappointed in how it keeps our food/drinks cold...