New Boat Gadgets from the Miami Boat Show

A walk through the Miami Boat Show reveals a lot of new boat gadgets

March 1, 2013


Over the years, the Miami International Boat Show has earned a reputation for being a venue at which manufacturers debut their new products. This year’s show did not disappoint. In addition to all the new electronics on display at the Miami Beach Convention Center, there were several new sailboats to check out at the Strictly Sail portion of the show. The list includes the Beneteau Oceanis 55, Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469, Lagoon 39, an updated Lagoon 4052, Lagoon 52, Leopard 58, Nautitech 542, Saturn 47, and Tartan 4700. Look for reviews of all these models in upcoming issues of Cruising World. A rite for opening day of the show is the West Marine press conference, where the marine retailer announces its Green Product of the Year winners and introduces interesting new items it will be stocking in stores. This year two companies shared the $10,000 prize, handed out by West Marine Vice President Chuck Hawley. The Attwood Fuel Demand Valve addresses a problem that anyone using a gasoline-powered outboard faces. Since 2011, the EPA has required that portable fuel tanks be sealed. On hot days, the pressure that builds up in the tank can cause gas to seep pass the valves in older engines, causing them to leak gas, or gas can escape when a hose is connected or disconnected. The Attwood valve overcomes this problem by sealing off the hose, but allowing gas to pass when the engine pulls fuel from the tank. The valve, which retails for about $30, can be retrofitted on any gasoline hose. Courtesy of West Marine


The other green winner was the company’s own CFA Eco Antifouling Bottom Paint, developed by Kop-Coat Marine Group, which also produces Pettit Paint. The paint uses metal-free Econea biocide and a slime fighting inhibitor for multi-season protection. The paint is water based, which helps to reduce the need for volatile solvents used in traditional bottom paints. A gallon will cost you $220 and it can be applied over most ablative bottom paints. Courtesy of West Marine


West Marine highlighted other products as well. Delorme InReach is a satellite-based tracking device that allows two-way texting and includes an SOS button for emergencies ($250). Courtesy of West Marine


Caframo Taku hatch fan attaches to any large opening hatch and has a high-speed mode to force air into a just-opened boat. ($180). Courtesy of West Marine


Isotherm Smart Energy Control , a device that improves the efficiency of a refrigeration system by determining when the engine is running and the batteries are being charged, and lowering the temperate in the ice box to store coolness. It also allows the temperature to rise before drawing current from a non-charging battery ($150). Courtesy of West Marine


Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero is a new material that can help keep you cool on a hot day. The material essentially has super wicking properties that kick in when you sweat to actually cool your skin. It’s being used in a wide range of shirts that eventually will be sold at retailers everywhere, but are being sold exclusively through West Marine for a limited period. To demonstrate its usefulness, visitors were handed sleeves and then were sprayed with water. Cool. Literally. Mark Pillsbury


I also paid a visit to the Imtra booth, where a number of new LED lights were on display. If upgrading your lighting is on the to-do list, there are a lot of options these days. Three that caught my eye were the Bremen ($325), a bi-color red and white dimmable cabin top light; the F-22 bicolor red and white strip light that you could install in the galley or under shelving ($180) and the F-20 strip light, which you might install in an area where the fixture would be seen. Mark Pillsbury


And last but not least, I wandered by the Lewmar booth, where they had their new DTX anchor on display. The anchor costs about a third less than Lewmar’s Delta brand and comes with a three-year rather than a lifetime warranty. A 35-pound DTX retails for about $1,100 as compared with a similar Delta, which would go for close to $1,800. Mark Pillsbury

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