Gadget Grab Bag

Posted: January 2, 2013

This experienced boat owner finds these 8 products and items very helpful.

By: Story and photos by John Beatty

Here is what our dictionary says about a gadget: a mechanical contrivance or device; any ingenious article. I have a list of eight gadgets we find very helpful on the boat, and they may even be ingenious.

Anti-Rattle Foam for a Gadget Drawer. If you are fortunate to have enough drawers, this foam cutout helps keep things organized and quiet in a seaway.

California Water Blade. No, I do not towel dry the whole boat after I wash it. The water here in the great Northwest is soft, but there are chemicals in it, and getting them off the wax and varnish adds longevity to the surfaces. The water blade is softer and does a better job than a squeegee, and it works well on windows. The difference seems to be in the blade’s patented T-Bar edge. Find it online at marine and auto store websites.

Anchor Buddy. We have found a way to leave our RIB anchored in deeper water while we explore the near shore. In the places we go, the tide changes quite a bit, and our dinghy is too heavy to haul onto the beach. If we leave it sitting on the bottom when the tide goes out, we have to wait for high tide to float it again. Enter the “anchor buddy.” It is best described as a 10-pound mushroom anchor on a 15-foot bungee cord. The directions for deployment are as follows:

- Hit the beach, drop off passengers.

- Attach the dinghy to a log or rock on shore with a long line.

- Back the dinghy out to deeper water.

- Drop the anchor on a bungee (tie bungee to the dinghy first).

- Then pull back in to shore, get out and let the dinghy go.

The dinghy will spring back, stay away from the beach and be floating when you get back. This trick also helps when the shore is rocky and the water is choppy. The little boat won’t bang around on the rocks when left unattended. - tuggyproducts.com

Engine-Room Temperature Gauge. Hang a medium-sized outdoor dial thermometer in the engine room. Make several engine-room checks during the next outing to establish a normal reading. In the future, any temperature deviation will be apparent when you make those periodic, routine engine checks.

Happy Hooker. Our Kadey-Krogen has a high bow, to say the least. We thought snagging a mooring buoy ring from the stern was the way to go until we ran afoul of the buoy chain on a very low tide day when there was extra slack in the chain. The helpful hook we have is a Grab ‘n Go, and it goes on the end of a boat hook. This combination makes the buoy reachable from the bow, usually on the first try. - csjohnson.com

Zip-it. I saw this question on a boating forum: “My head is jammed up. Should I snake it out?” The consensus from the members was no (maybe even hell no). Metal snakes are too tough on plastic and rubber hose. Any drains and limber holes that clog can be cleared with a Zip-it, a barbed, plastic, flexible drain cleaner that’s 20 inches long. - zipitclean.com

Clothes Pin Reminder. When I am towing the dinghy, I put a clothes pin on the main engine’s throttle. Doing so reminds me to pull in the little boat before I shift the big boat into reverse. I have yet to wrap the tow line on our prop. I also use the clothes pin to remind me of other things I need to do that are not routine.

Nets for Grandkids. These are not for recovering wet children. They provide hours of distraction at the dock for PFD-wearing kids.

Do you have gadgets that you find indispensible on your boat? Let us know at facebook.com/SeaMagazine.

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