Marine News from the Great Lakes

The Perfect Gift: Cool Boating Gear

Published: Monday, November 6, 2017
By: Dan Armitage

As a freelance writer, I am offered the chance to see, and sometimes use, a variety of products over the course of a year. Those who offer the accessories hope that I will like what I see or use, and will share that with my readers. I also am exposed to items at sport and boat shows at which I lead seminars, often where such products are first available to the public and otherwise unknown.

That last category is my favorite, for I often get to see products that are relatively untried and tested. Some stand the test of time and are successful, meeting needs of boaters and become staples found aboard many watercraft. Others… not so much, and never make it to the retail shelves. But they are all interesting to see and, when appropriate, thanks to my position, to “mess about with” in person.

I save news releases, ads, announcements, and brochures featuring new and noteworthy boating (and fishing) products during the year to share with Great Lakes Scuttlebutt readers in this final issue of the season. With the holidays approaching, I figure we can all use some ideas for the boaters on our gift list — even if that recipient is ourselves.

With that in mind, here are some boating-related items that I would like to find under a tree in late December.

Weego Jump Starter Accessories

Unless you’re a blow-boater or paddler, you can’t cruise far unless your engine starts. The primary cause of boat motors failing to fire is a bad or dead battery. Weego has a jump (pun intended) on portable starters intended for boaters’ use and have recently offered a couple of accessories of special interest to watercraft owners who own Weego’s popular lithium-polymer Jump Starter Battery. The 12V DC Adapter (model JSFSA) allows you to bring portable power aboard the boat or to use at the dock. The Adapter connects the Weego to any 12V DC plug that powers air compressors, portable radios, heaters, lights and the gamut of 12 volt accessories now available. And, of interest to Great Lakes boaters who trailer their watercraft,  as well as boaters who use a ‘house’ battery for powering accessories, Weego’s new 12V Memory Saver (Model JSOBD) allows users to disconnect a battery without losing the vehicle/boat’s electronic presets such as radio and clock settings, and seat positions, alarms, and keyless entry codes in vehicles.       

For more info, visit

Ocean Kayak Malibu

Speaking of paddling, Ocean Kayak has introduced a family-friendly recreational model that eliminates the need for a paddle altogether. The new Malibu PDL is pedal powered, leaving your hands free to take photos, watch wildlife, fish, or simply cruise under leg power, aboard a kayak that is designed to accommodate pets or small children in jump seats fore and aft. The Malibu comes with Ocean Kayak’s popular drop-in Pedal Drive System which can be removed for traditional paddling. The Malibu measures 12 feet long, weighs 100 pounds and comes fitted with a rudder controlled via a hand lever at the cockpit adjacent to a super-comfortable, slide-track Element Beach Seat flanked by universal accessory tracks and a watertight storage compartment underneath. For more info, visit

Journey Camera

If you’ve ever wanted to videotape watersports or a fish being landed off the transom of your boat or shoot boat-to-boat videos, wildlife, or any other scene from your watercraft, Hyndsight Vision Systems offers the Journey rear view camera and monitoring system specifically designed for use on boats. It’s weather-resistant and offers a clear image up to 1/3 mile with a sunlight readable screen, camera, and monitor that are submersible, buoyant, and run more than four hours between charging. Visit for more info.

Personal GO Fan

With the number of cupholders offered on new boats these days, it’s nice to see products that allow the popular receptacles to serve double duty. None of the cupholder accessory options I’ve run across are more refreshing (pun intended again) than the Personal GO Fan. The portable fan’s base fits snugly in a standard cupholder and is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that will run for up to 40 hours on low, or 3.5 hours offering the equivalent of a 20 mph breeze. Visit for details and ordering information.

Accon Marine Cleat/Rod Holder

Speaking of double duty, Accon Marine is offering a cleat that doubles as a rod holder — or vice versa. The Cleat/Rod Holder combo not only assures there’s always a place handy to secure a fishing rod atop the gunwale, but even the cleat that surrounds it pops up as needed and remains flush to the surface and out of the way when the handy hardware accessory isn’t being used to secure rod or boat. Learn more about the combo at

Drill Paddle

Finally, for those boaters and paddlers who want some fun portable power for small craft and have a cordless high-speed drill handy, there is the Drill Paddle. The simple, ingenious device allows you to easily secure the 9.5 mm-diameter shaft in the drill’s chuck, submerge the propeller, point the drill and shaft away from the direction you wish to go, and depress the drill’s trigger. Depending on the state of the charge in the lithium ion-powered portable drill being used, the Drill Paddle can generate up to 30 lbs of thrust for up to an hour. Because you can point the Drill Paddle from any position aboard a boat, it’s perfect for close-quarters maneuvering as well as fun alternative propulsion for kayaks, canoes, float tubes, and small open boats — as well as mixing large quantities of holiday punch. Learn more at

tags: Accessories, Batteries & Chargers, Canoes & Kayaks, Electronics, Fishing

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