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    Making Waves: Choosing the Best Marine-Grade Speakers for Your Boat

    By on Last modified: July 11, 2024

    Regardless of whether you’re the owner of a classic 6m river runabout or a luxurious new 16m off-coast cruiser, it’s understandable to want to have music on the water with you. And no matter if you enjoy the originality of a vintage factory stereo, or prefer the cutting-edge convenience of a modern marine unit with Bluetooth®, you need to have the right speakers to get the best sound.

    You have to bear in mind though, that the most common aspects of boating – salt water, moisture, and UV exposure – would amount to a quick end for any ordinary household, automotive, or even outdoor speaker. Durable, marine-grade speakers, however, are unlike any other type of speaker on the market. They’re designed and built specifically for the rigors of pumping sound on the water; and if you’re looking for high-quality speakers to install on your boat, now’s the right time to think about what these marine-ready masterpieces have to offer.

    Time to Sound Off with Marine-Grade Stereo Speakers

    two marine-grade stereo speakers on the boat

    Let’s be honest: although stereo speakers aren’t especially complicated devices, they’re still incredibly technical and highly specialized. Not every speaker is suitable for every environment, which is why multi-environment speakers for boat stereos are the only choice for marine applications. Even outdoor concert speakers lack the combination of compact size, audio quality, and all-weather surety that marine-grade speakers have, making them the perfect acoustic accompaniment for any size boat or PWC.

    Aquatic AV, GME, and RWB Marine are among the most notable names in the marine industry when it comes to high-quality marine stereo speakers, because they understand that a boat speaker’s first priority is withstanding harsh marine environments. That’s why all of their premium-grade, IP-rated marine speakers are built around a true array of harsh weather attributes that include:

    • IA waterproof polypropylene and Santoprene cones, with salt and fog-resistant technology;
    • Corrosion-resistant strontium ferrite magnets with plastic water guard; and,
    • UV-stabilized grille and basket materials rated for up to 500hrs of exposure.

    Make no mistake: even if you only use your boat recreationally, or just for the occasional angling excursion, without the necessary dust, sediment, and water-resistant qualities, your boat speakers won’t last an entire season. You need the survivability that a purpose-built pair of marine speakers has to offer which, together with their cutting-edge circuitry and flat response, makes them tough enough for use on-deck, but with the crispness and clarity that’s perfect for cabins too.

    Speaker Specs that Push Past the Interference

    No matter how durable a marine speaker may be, it’s little more than unwanted ballast if it can’t produce high-quality sound. Here is where it’s important to remember that not only do boat marine speakers need to withstand the elements, but they also need to be able to compete with a host of natural and mechanical noises that are exclusive to boating.

    Input wattage (W) and output impedance (ohms) are key measurements for any multi-environment boat speaker, and the Aquatic AV, GME, and RWB Marine speaker lineups boast a range of specs that include:

    • Full range, and 2-way configurations with outputs rated from 60W – 140W;
    • A full range frequency response of 83Hz to 20kHz, and a 2-way frequency response of 60Hz to 18kHz; and,
    • A maximum of 4-ohm impedance for greater outputs with less resistance.

    With boat stereo outputs prone to distortion from everything from the sound of the wind, to the volume of the engine, these high-quality marine radio speakers have all the technical traits they need to be heard, as well as to overcome environmental hazards. GME even manufactures a Bluetooth® AM / FM marine stereo with an internal monitor speaker and a pair of 60W external speakers. It’s the perfect pairing of both an IP-rated marine stereo and speakers, with the freedom to control them from anywhere.

    Speaker Mounting Options with Maximum Flexibility

    black GME speaker for boat

    GME’s Bluetooth® marine speaker system is a prime example of why your speaker’s mounting options are another factor that should be left to chance. Not only does speaker placement have an effect on sound quality, but the thought of drilling speaker holes into a lovingly restored wooden cockpit wall is no more appealing than the tricky prospect of reboring a set of existing holes into an equally costly fiberglass cabin panel. This is where the size and shape of your marine audio speakers make a difference.

    The range of marine stereo speaker sizes, along with their fittings and fasteners are intended for maximum flexibility and usability, and are manufactured in 2 chief styles:

    • Round-type, flush-mounted cones with 163mm -188mm outside diameters, and cone depths of 73mm; and,
    • Square-type, surface-mounted boxed speakers with gimbal knobs and mounting brackets.

    Ideally, round, flush-mounted marine boat speakers are perfect fillers for speaker swaps and custom installations, while surface-mounted speakers fit easily anywhere from transoms to the undersides of gunwales. In both cases though, they make upgrading your worn-out speakers with new, multi-environmental units a choice that’s well worth making.

    The Final Word

    At the end of the day, if you want to enjoy music when you’re on the water, it just makes sense to buy speakers that are designed specifically for use on the water. And although you can certainly opt for lesser-quality speakers that aren’t made especially for boating, you’re likely to realise that the recurring costs to replace them will add up very quickly.

    By investing at the start in multi-environment speakers for boat stereos, you can be confident that once they’re installed, you won’t have to worry about them for years. They’ll give you the survivability you want, together with the sound that’s guaranteed to please.