Looking for a gift for the boater in your life? From gourmet grills to water-friendly DVD players, this year’s boating gadgets will help turn any boat into a home away from home.
The boating accessories market has experienced steady growth over the last several years, increasing to $2.4 billion in 2004, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, an organization that represents the recreational boating industry. In 1997, the market rang up $1.2 billion in sales.
“We’re finding that more boaters want to accessorize their boats with home-like amenities so that they can make their on-the-water experience even more relaxing and enjoyable,” said Steve Tadd, director of Discover Boating programs at the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
The holiday season is a good time to load up on accessories, as many marine retailers offer discounts during the winter months. Some of the hottest boating gadgets this holiday season include:
* Splash-proof stereo DVD players (complete with wireless remote controls) that interface with navigational and video screens from Jenson Marine (www.asaelectronics.com).
* Staircases and life jackets for pets from Paws Aboard (www.pawsaboard.com), which are designed to help them easily get in and out of the boat and stay safe while on the water.
* The “Sea-B-Que” marine grill from Dickinson Marine (www.dickinsonmarine.com) and other gourmet gas grills with features customized for nautical gatherings, such as corrosion-resistant and hermetically sealed temperature controls.
* Complete speaker systems with microphones from Prospec Electronics (www.prospecelectro nics.com) that let boaters communicate with others who may be enjoying water sports or activities outside the boat.
* Onboard heart defibrillators (www.charlesindustries.com) and “adventure” medical kits designed for long-distance voyages (www.adventuremedicalkits.com).
* Life preservers made especially for children and infants from Nautilus by Protexion (www.protexionproducts.com).
* Deep freezers from Indel Marine USA (www.indelmarine.com) to keep food and beverages cool and special oxygen systems to keep expensive bait or catches alive.