If your boat doesn’t come with marine speakers installed, then you might like to install it on your own to transform your boating experience. There’s no high like a party on a boat with loud music and cocktails, enjoying the time with your family and friends. If you’re taking people out on the water or just looking to relax, adding speakers to your boat is something you must consider.
However, placing speakers on your boat is not as straightforward as installing speakers for your computer or living room. The best placement of boat speakers makes a world of difference to the quality of sound from your marine stereo system.
Where to Place Speakers for Different Kinds of Boats
The ideal placement of speakers will depend on the type of boat and its layout. A pair of speakers on both sides of a boat’s part is always suggested to even out the sounds. Here’s how you can best place speakers depending on the type of boat you have:
Wake Sports boat
Boats built for wake sports come with stock cutout locations with angled base plates that point the sounds toward passengers’ ears. If your boat doesn’t have these, you can use coaxial speakers with adjustable tweeters.
For best sound, install a pair of speakers in the bowrider area, a pair in the aft seating area, and a pair under the gunwales in the middle. Most wake sports boats also come with a subwoofer, and the storage area under the port console is one of the best locations for a boomer speaker.
Almost all boats designed for wake surfing or wakeboarding have two or more aft-facing tower boat speakers that can project the sound to the rider. Use the stereo’s zone controls to turn these boat speakers off when there is no rider behind the boat.
If you want to know what are the best-rated boat tower speakers, check out here.
Pontoon boats come in a wide range of sizes and interior layouts, but most of the time, the seat bases in the stern and bow areas are the only places to install boat speakers. With that being said, new pontoons get better when it comes to providing speaker locations.
For pontoon boats, all you have to make sure is to place them above foot level to prevent getting kicked. Also, don’t point the speakers right at each other because it cancels the sounds and leads to poor quality.
Coaxial speakers that face the swim platform can offer entertainment when your passengers are swimming and lounging on the rafts off the stem. If you want a subwoofer, place it in a storage locker in the stern, bow, or amidships. If you have space, it’s best to install a subwoofer in a well-built enclosure, which will improve sound output and quality.
Runabouts often have cutouts for four to six marine coaxial speakers, typically found in the bowrider area, and two or four in the main cockpit. When placing the speakers, make sure it’s high enough to prevent being kicked by passengers. Putting the speakers in a higher position also helps out with improving sound quality.
Choose marine coaxial speakers with adjustable tweeters so you can direct the high notes upward for better sound and music quality. If you want to improve music quality with a subwoofer, choose an above-deck stowage locker within one of the consoles.
If your runabout comes with a wake sports tower, hang a pair of tower speakers for the enjoyment of skiers, wakeboarders, and tubers. Get a stereo that has multiple zone controls so these speakers can be turned off once the riders are back in their boats.
In center console boats, space is a big consideration. Typically, you will need a pair of coaxial speakers in the interior bulkhead of the transom, a pair on the bow area, and a pair under the gunwales. If your boat doesn’t have a full transom, place the speakers under the gunwales in a cockpit, but don’t point them directly together at one another to prevent sound cancellation. Position the speakers in the area where they will not be easily damaged by foot or knee.
If there is enough space, you can also install a pair of speakers below the helm area of the center console, but be careful to avoid magnetic interference with compasses and other marine electronic equipment.