Better Boater: Life Hacks

Published in the February 2019 Issue March 2019

From oil changes and propeller checkups, to protecting your gel coat and washing away mold, maintaining a boat can be a lot of work. Even with all that work, boaters know it’s well worth the effort when they’re cruising with a tube in tow, catching a giant bass or just spending time on the water.

The stress of the week seems to melt away out on the water, but when your boat is a mess and you can’t find what you need, the day can become a little hectic. Here are a few life hacks that anyone can use for a relaxing day on the lake.

1. Flip-flop Organizer

Trying to walk anywhere on your boat is impossible with flip-flops flung all over the floor. But tucking them away in storage means they aren’t easily accessible when you need them. To keep shoes out of the way but easy to reach, all you need is a bungee cord.

Wrap a bungee cord around your boat cooler; make sure the cord is tight but not about to snap off. Then, simply slide the shoes in between your cooler and the bungee cord for quick, easy storage.

If you don’t have a bungee cord on board, maybe you have an extra over-the-door shoe organizer sitting at home. This will also work to keep shoes off the deck and in a safe place.

2. Caddy Storage

Dump the shampoo and conditioner out of your shower caddy and bring it on board for another great storage hack. Bathroom caddies fit all your sunglasses, beverages, sunblock and other personal items you need on hand while out on your boat.

Mount the caddy an arm’s length away – either vertically or on a flat surface – to keep the items you need close and all in the same place.

3. Wine Corks Keys Chain

Your car keys don’t get the same safety precautions as the keys to your boat. Without a key float, your car keys are dying to slip out of your hands and into the depths of the lake. You could buy a key float, but you probably already have a free version sitting at home: wine corks. A wine cork key chain is simple to assemble and the buoyancy of the cork will keep your keys afloat.

To make a wine cork key chain all you need is small screw eyes and a few paper key labels. For the first step, just twist the screw eye directly into one end of the cork, preferably the end not already punctured by the corkscrew. Once you’ve secured the hook, add a metal ring onto it. Then the last step is to attach your car keys.

Doing a float test before taking it out on the lake is a good idea. But once you’re done, you’ll have a simple key float made from items sitting around your house.

4. Gear Hammocks

This cheap storage trick is perfect for smooth water cruising. You can find gear hammocks online – if you don’t already own one – for an affordable price. A gear hammock packs fragile items like produce and snacks perfectly, and utilizes space that would otherwise not serve as storage.

Make sure not to store heavy items, or the gear hammock may give out. To keep the items extra safe, don’t hang the hammock directly next to a sidewall, or the waves may leave your produce with some bruises.

5. Fishy Hands

As fishermen know, smelly bait and fish odor linger on your fingers. No matter how often you wash your hands the stench clings to your skin and under your fingernails.

Keeping some toothpaste on board may fix this problem. Mix any mint toothpaste – the kind that includes baking soda is best – with your liquid hand soap. Lather, rinse, repeat, and your hands will smell good as new.

6. White Vinegar Kills Mold

Killing musty, moldy spots on fabric requires a heavy-duty cleaner, but these cleaners can be expensive. Before you buy the pricey solution, try white vinegar instead. White vinegar costs less than bleach and doesn’t emit the toxic fumes.

For clean carpets, vacuum them beforehand to remove any loose dirt. Soak the carpet with clean water first, scrub it lightly then let it sit while you mix the vinegar solution. Combine a half cup of white vinegar with a half-gallon of warm water and pour the mixture into small areas of the floor at a time. Let the vinegar sit in that area for several minutes before scrubbing it with a soft brush. Once you’ve cleaned all the small sections, rinse the fabric with clean water again. Let the fabric dry completely before jetting off on your next boating adventure.

7. Cooler Pad

At fast speeds and bumpy turns, coolers tend to go flying across the floor, sometimes spilling their contents onto your deck. With a damp towel, which you probably already have on board, you can solve this problem.

Dip your towel overboard and ring it out, then fold it into roughly the size of your cooler. Place the towel underneath and it will stay put.

Although boating can be lot of work, the reward is well worth it. Make your days on the lake more enjoyable with these boater-approved life hacks.


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