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Rock your boat with a new marine audio system.

What is marine audio?

Quite simply, marine audio is a stereo system like the one you would find in your car or truck, but it’s specialized for use in a marine environment—in other words, for use on your boat.

The modifications include obvious upgrades like water resistance, but constant exposure to the elements means a marine audio system also needs to be able to withstand other environmental factors like UV rays, fog and humidity. Without the enclosure of a car or truck’s passenger compartment, a stereo system designed for marine use also typically provides more amplification power and speakers with adjusted tuning to deliver high quality audio in open spaces.

It’s worth noting that their resistance to the elements also makes marine audio systems a good choice for ATVs and off-road vehicles.

What components might I need?

A marine audio system is very much like a standard car audio system in terms of components. It’s built around a receiver or head unit. That provides the key functionality and the interface you interact with. It also outputs to speakers. More complex systems can include additional components like a high-powered amplifier, additional speakers and even a subwoofer.

Features to consider

Popular features for marine audio systems include CD players, AM/FM radio, and Bluetooth receivers so you can stream music from a smartphone. Bluetooth will also let you take hands-free voice calls through your stereo system. Remote controls are popular, allowing you to control the music from anywhere on the boat. Also popular are boating-specific options like a hailing system (with a microphone), NOAA weather radios, satellite radio systems, and GPS navigation systems. If your boat has an open cockpit and spends any time docked without direct supervision, you might want to consider a receiver with a theft-deterrent removable faceplate.

What is the best marine audio system?

There is no single “best” marine audio system. The best system for your situation will offer the features you want (such as Bluetooth), enough speakers to provide coverage to the areas of the boat where you’d likely be listening to music, and the power to drive those speakers effectively.