Cheap, Quick or Good?

Marine accessories evoke possibilities at the boat show.

Boat shows are about possibilities. And as much as I like considering how my aquatic possibilities will be multiplied by a new boat, or new motors, I’ve got to admit, that, without fail, I spend a load of time pondering the possibilities in the accessories aisles. There’s as much room for dreams to take root between the antifouling paint and the sacrificial zincs as there is while walking the docks.

Personally, I tend to avoid the gizmos and gadgets that promise to do a better job while taking less time and costing less money than tried and true methods. No “boat maintenance in a can” solutions for this kid. In my experience, you can have cheap and good, but it wont prove quick. Or, you can have quick and good but it wont prove cheap. Avoid items touted as cheap and quick at all costs!

I also admire the imagination it takes to conceive many marine accessories. While some are the proverbial solutions to problems nobody was seeking, many others prove out as innovative problem solvers as long as you consider them in the right context. They probably wont sell too many new-tech marine air-conditioners to boaters in coastal Maine, or portable desalination units those who ply the waters of Lake Mead, but the Dometic Refrigerated Cup Cooler, for example, has promise. Boaters at every latitude enjoy a cold drink from time to time. The problem is ice: it's heavy, takes up space, and even with a great cooler, it doesn't last forever. Moreover, even if you start out with an ice-crackling cold can of thirst-quenching goodness, your beverage warms as it sits in the drink holder. So why not have a cup holder that chills your drink using a thermo-electric process? Almost all boats have DC voltage aboard.

I've secured a test unit and –ahem!—plan to put the Cup Cooler through some very rigorous paces. You can read the results of those tests right here at boatingmag.com in the coming months. In the meantime, check out the video.( The thing retails for $199.99. A $200-buck drink holder has a shot at being quick and/ or good, right?)

Better yet, hit the marine accessories tent at a boat show. Its where the possibilities reign.