They say you're never more than two clicks away from a collection of life hacks, but boat hacks – the art of turning everyday objects into useful little marine gadgets – have yet to catch on in quite the same way. So, in case you're feeling left out, we’ve compiled and transformed a few well-known hacks—and with a little help from boats.com USA added some that are original to boating—that will make your time on the water easier, more organised and, perhaps, more fun.
1. Wine cork sunglasses floater
Too many pairs of sunglasses have seen their lifespans cut short after taking a sudden plunge into the deep blue water. You’ll never have to worry about losing another pair again with this boat hack. First, get an old wine cork. Drill little holes on each side of it, then slide your sunglasses strap through the middle, and you’re all set. If those glasses decide to go overboard, the cork will keep them afloat. For an extra hack, feel free to paint the cork a bright color using a oil-based paint—a little nail polish will do the trick—then your sunglasses will not only float, but they’ll be highly visible.
Bonus Tip: Wine corks aren’t just good for keeping your sunglasses afloat. Save additional corks and use them as slip bobbers for fishing. Start with the same concept as before and just drill a little hole through the centre of the cork, insert a toothpick or a coffee stirrer into the hole, and then just glue it into place.
Adapted from Field & Stream - Hunting, Fishing & Camping Tips
2. Duct tape cup holder
A cold drink after a long, hard day of boating? Well, in the UK – perhaps more likely to be a hot drink. No matter what you choose, once you've gone to all the trouble of serving up, keeping said drink cold or hot and preventing spillage is the final piece in the puzzle. Assuming you have a cup holder or two in the cockpit, what is the plan for the day you have extra guests on board? In this situation, as with so many things in life, the answer is duct tape. Before heading out on the water, always make sure to bring along a few extra rolls. Whether you place the roll of duct tape directly onto the deck or on a table, or tape it up along the side of the boat, your drink will fit perfectly into the centre of the roll.
Adapted from Buzzfeed - 31 Redneck DIYs That Are Borderline Genius
3. Speaker cup
So picture this: You’re out on the water, the sun is shining, the drinks are flowing, the fish are biting, and the tunes are playing. Then, suddenly, the speakers on your boat stop working. Or maybe you forgot to bring speakers along at all. So, what now? Not to worry: get the music going again with this simple boat hack. Grab a cup—glass, plastic, styrofoam, doesn’t matter—and stick your iPhone or smartphone right inside. Make sure the volume is pumped up on your device, and you’ll quickly hear how the cup amplifies the sound and acts as portable speaker.
Adapted from POPSUGAR - 79 Hacks That Will Change Your Life
4. Wet towel under cooler
One common hack among boaters is the idea of using a bungee cord to strap a cooler in place, either to the side of the boat or to the back of a seat. But what happens when you don’t have a bungee cord? Just grab a towel. Give it a quick dip in the water to make it damp, then slide it under the bottom of the cooler. Now you’ll no longer have to worry about that cooler slipping and sliding all over the deck of your boat. Next time you go to grab another drink, the cooler will be right where you left it.
5. Buoyancy aid water chair
This last hack was invented by one of our staff last summer. Imagine it's warm enough to swim (I know – bear with me!) you've dropped anchor, cut your engines, and it's time to cool off. Without a water float or any of the party boat essentials we recommended in a previous feature – and without wearing that buoyancy aid – we’ve found a way for you to comfortably float around in the water. Instead of putting your arms through the holes in your buoyancy aid, flip that thing upside down and slip your legs in. You’ve now got yourself a water chair. (And no, this is definitely not approved as a proper way to wear your buoyancy aid).
For more top tips for enjoying your summer on the water, see: Party boats: 5 essential items for fun afloat and Float free: cruising on your yacht or powerboat.