Problem-Solving Marine Products

By Mark Corke

The latest gadgets, gizmos, and goodies to help you more fully enjoy your time on the water.

Sole Searching

Men's Sebago boat shoes

Some boat shoes may be OK for the yacht club, but don't fair so well onboard. A proper pair of boat shoes must offer sure-footed support on a wet, slippery dock or boat deck. Sebago's Cyphon range could be just the thing. Available in a range of styles and colors for both men and women, the grippy soles are made from a nonmarking compound. In addition, the shoes' C3 Technology (cross channel circulation, a fancy way of saying that they let water out and air in) means you won't be walking around in soggy shoes all day once you get back to dry land. The Cyphon SeaSport and SeaTech models look similar to sneakers, while Sea Fishermen look more like sandals, have large holes in the uppers, and are a good choice for kayakers and paddleboarders. Prices start at $79.99 |

Hassle-Free Trailer Moving

Parkit360's Force 5K power dolly

Maneuvering a boat trailer takes some skill, but what if there's no room to get the tow vehicle to where you need to move your boat, like in your backyard? Parkit360's Force 5K power dolly could be the answer. Capable of shifting a combined weight of up to 5,000 pounds, power comes from a 12-volt, 1.5-hp electric motor. Essentially it's a trolley, similar to a handcart, with a pair of beefy wheels driven by the electric motor. There's handle for steering and a rocker switch that falls conveniently under the thumb for controlling forward and reverse. If you have a heavier boat, larger versions are available that will even connect to the electric brakes on your trailer. $1,096 |

Gelcoat In A Can

Marine gelcoat can

Gelcoat repairs can be tricky. Small cracks are one thing, but larger areas are more difficult. For that, the best method is often to spray on the gelcoat. Until now, you needed expensive equipment, and if you didn't know what you were doing, you could end up with an expensive mess. Dolphinite has come to the rescue with GelMatch Gelcoat in a can. Premixed in a range of colors to match your boat (or custom mixed for a perfect match), simply depress a button on the bottom to activate the hardener, shake for a few minutes to mix, and spray the gelcoat onto the properly prepared area. The nozzle can be adjusted to give a wide or narrow spray pattern, so there should be little overspray. If you've ever used a can of spray paint, you can use this product. To blend in, just wet sand and buff the repair area after it dries. $99 |

Step On It!

Hobie Mirage Eclipse pedal-powered stand-up paddleboard

When Hobie introduced its pedal-drive system some years ago, it revolutionized the sport of kayak fishing. No longer did you have to have to wrangle a rod and a paddle: You could hold onto your rod as you caught and chased after fish. That same drive system is now available on a stand-up paddleboard. The Hobie Mirage Eclipse is available in 10-foot 6-inch and 12-foot lengths and your choice of yellow or blue. To make the board move, simply step onto the foot pedals and "walk." Adjustable handlebars suit riders of various heights, offer stability, and allow the rider to steer simply by squeezing the levers on each handle. Get tired of pedaling or want to give your upper body a workout, too? No problem. Slide out the pedal-drive unit and handlebars, and you have a traditional stand-up paddleboard. $2,499 to $2,599 |

Clog-Free Multi Log

Airmax DX900+ Multi Log

Paddle-wheel transducer logs for registering speed are great when they work, but all it takes is the smallest piece of seaweed or other detritus to jam them up, rendering them useless. I've lost track of the number of times I've pulled mine from the housing to clear it, only to have it clog again within an hour or two. Now there's another way: Airmar, which manufactures and supplies transducers to all the major names in marine electronics, introduced a transducer with no moving parts, rendering frequent trips to the bilge a thing of the past. The DX900+ measures the speed of water molecules passing across the transducer's surface, then converts it in a "black box," and sends the info to connected devices via your boat's NMEA 2000. In addition to speed, the transducer measures leeway in real time, which previously required complex mathematics and vectors drawn on a navigational chart. While the DX900+ isn't cheap, it's a real boon and a game-changer for sailors and racers. $1,400 |

Is That For Real?

Belbian finish before and after

When I was a kid, I remember my parents "improving" the look of the kitchen cabinets by sticking on some faux wood-grained plastic. Even to my untrained eye, the results were less than stellar. So it was with skepticism that I approached Belbien, a modern take on an old idea. Unlike the sticky-backed plastics of old, Belbien is much thinner — more like a film — so it conforms well to complex shapes. I tried it on a door panel to cover up an ugly plastic laminate panel. Belbien comes in a huge range of finishes, so I chose a teak finish as close as possible to the surrounding woodwork. It's easy to apply: Simply squeegee it onto the substrate as you remove the backing to expose the adhesive, then trim around the edge with a sharp craft knife. The final result is much better than expected, and you have to get really close to see that this is not real wood. If only we had this back in 1965! Prices vary | 

— Published: February/March 2018

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