About Boat Aerators

by Tami Parrington
Big or little, a fishing boat needs a livewell for the best experience.

Big or little, a fishing boat needs a livewell for the best experience.

Boats and fishing go together naturally. Many fishing boats have livewells built in to keep fish. It doesn't matter if you have a 15-foot bass boat, or a 20-four foot Boston Whaler, or whether it is on a lake, ocean or river, a boat with a livewell and aerator enhances the entire experience. Aerators are very specific mechanisms often found on fishing boats of all sizes.

Why an Aerator is Necessary

The primary reason for an aerator in a livewell is for baitfish. If you like to fish with live bait, you need a way to keep baitfish alive until you need them. Even though fish live in the water and suck in water to respirate, they still require oxygen. Without an aerator, your baitfish would die before you arrived at your fishing spot. Livewells with good aeration are helpful for catch and release fishing. With a good livewell, you can catch several fish in a row for comparison, pictures and measurements and then let them all go in good condition. Finally, even if you are catching for keeps, a livewell helps you keep limits. You can release an earlier caught fish in favor of a newer one so you are in your limit but have the best fish.

How Aerators Work

Air aerator is simply an air pump. Depending on the size of your boat and the layout, you can run a line up to your helm for a switch or turn the pump on and off at the unit. A hose runs from the pump to the livewell that blows oxygen into the water the way a filter pump does on a household fish tank. However, the aerator does not filter the water; it only blows air into the tank.


Another great feature you can incorporate is a timer to cycle your tanks. With a timer, you do not have to worry about keeping an aerator on at all times and possibly running your battery down while you spend the day fishing. The timer automatically turns on and off at pre-set intervals to keep your water fresh.


No matter how good your aerator is, overstocking can deplete even the best livewell system. Exceeding one pound of fish per every gallon of water increases the risk of using up oxygen too fast, causing the tank to become rancid.


Aeration is not enough on extremely hot days. The water will get too hot for fish kept in a livewell even when well oxygenated unless you have a system to exchange water set up. A flow-through system pumps old water out and fresh water in at regular intervals, helping keep the temperatures even and water fresh.

About the Author

Tami Parrington is the author of five novels along with being a successful SEO and content writer for the past three years. Parrington's journalism experience includes writing for eHow on medical, health and home-related topics as well as writing articles about the types of animals she has raised for years.

Photo Credits

  • Sport Fishing Boat image by Wimbledon from Fotolia.com