Every year, manufacturers bring out products that are new and improved. Here are a few of our favourites!
Lunasea Ultra Bright Portable Light Bar with USB Charger – This is one of our favourite stocking stuffers this year. A client took this for a test drive and came back with rave reviews. This rechargeable, hand held light is ultra bright at 600 lumens, yet compact at 21 cm and only 280 grams. It utilizes a 4000mAH Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and includes a USB 12VDC charger and cable. It can be mounted using a magnetic wall bracket or simply set down where you require light. As an added bonus, the charged light can be used to recharge other USB devices such as cell phones. Part # LLB-32-PC-01-00 $ 65 www.lunasealighting.com
Dometic’s Smart Touch Integrated Intelligence Control - The STIIC allows owners to use a mobile device or computer to turn Dometic devices such as air conditioning, water makers, ice makers, refrigeration systems, and engine ventilation systems on or off remotely. A plug-n-play networking solution embedded in Dometic products relies on user-friendly software to connect a boat’s Dometic systems. Two-way interactive communication also allows owners, or a Dometic service technician, to monitor, control or troubleshoot problems via a mobile device reducing downtime. $389.00 www.dometic.com
Marinco by BEP EZ-Mount Pro Installer Battery Switches – These new battery switches from Marinco allow users to wire from the front, making installation easy and accessible. Simply fit the base, add wiring and clip on the actuator and cover. The EZ-Mount switches have an industry standard, compact footprint (9.8 cm x 9.8 cm). Models include single and double pole on/off, selector and the unique dual bank control switch, which offers the functionality of three switches in one. Part # 770-EZ Starting at $ 109 www.marinco.com
Railblaza Navipack Portable LED Navigation Light Kit – Most people don’t like to dinghy in the dark but sometimes it happens. Now there is an alternative to balancing a flashlight on the seat while motoring Fido to shore for his last walk of the night. This wireless, battery powered bi-colour LED navigation light kit comes with an all-around white light with an extender pole, a red/green light, a quick port fastener and a handy storage bag. Railblaza has a number of very cool and innovative holders and USB mounts for all kinds of marine applications. Visibility Kit II 04-4041-11 $ 147 www.railblaza.com
EFOY Comfort Remote Control – If you were lucky enough to find an EFOY Comfort under the tree last year then this will be a perfect stocking stuffer. The EFOY Bluetooth Adapter, with the latest firmware version 15.13, allows you to operate your EFOY Comfort from your smart phone or tablet. The myEFOY App allows you to access important data regarding your fuel cell, fuel cartridge and battery. $120 www.efoy-comfort.com
Fusion Active Safe – This is an ideal gift for someone who kayaks, canoes or has a paddle board and finally answers the age old question, “Where do I keep with my keys and cell phone?” This IPX7 waterproof storage container is large enough to store an iPhone 6S, a car key, and ID. Not only will it keep your valuables dry but it also floats and is compatible with puck mounts such as Ram and RailBlaza. Part # FUS-WS-DK150 $169 www.fusionentertainment.com
Fusion Stereo Active – This stereo also uses the Fusion puck system to attach to almost any surface and can actually attach directly onto the Fusion Active Safe and Bluetooth to your phone inside the case. The buttons on the top of the stereo are designed so you can control the volume, skip songs or take a call with a tap of your paddle. The Fusion Stereo Active can also be controlled with your Garmin smartwatch and you can track your paddle strokes, pulse and get in the zone to burn calories. It also has a waterproof compartment that is designed for a USB flash drive or as an emergency charge system for your phone. It charges in 3 hours, lasts up to 20 hours and comes in white, blue or red. Part # FUS-WS-SA150 $525 www.fusionentertainment.com
WASPcam 9905 WiFi Action Camera – Originally developed by the Canadian action-sports enthusiast Justin Moore, Cobra Marine purchased WASP in April of this year. This compact sports camera is waterproof without a case down to 30 meters, records HD video up to 1080p/30fps, has a 3.8 cm LCD screen with up to 12MP photo quality. The unique feature about this camera is that it ships with 6 mounts, a wrist remote and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Many cameras in this category require that you purchase the accessories separately. It is also Wi-Fi equipped so you can connect to a smart phone for live viewing, recording and sharing content. $280 www.waspcam.com
Seadog LED Motion Activated Cabinet Light - This is another great stocking stuffer and a big favourite with boaters. This light bar is only 17 cm long but has 4 super bright LED lights, the center bulbs have a 60 degree beam and the outside bulbs have a whopping 120 degree beam. This light is great for lockers, cabinets or even the head at night when you can't find the light switch. It uses 3 AAA batteries and comes with a mounting bracket, mounting tape and screws. $37.50 www.sea-dog.com
Rigid Industries Docking Light Kit - These lights are designed to be installed at the bow between the rub rail and the waterline. The patented Spector optics system incorporates a reflector that produces an intense, smooth beam with minimal wasted light. The light projects up to 260 meters with an output of 1,125 lumens and draws 0.82 amps. These lights can be stealth or surface mounted and have a marine-tough, unbreakable polycarbonate lens. Perfect for docking in the dark. Surface 40038 or Stealth 40035 $ 720 www.rigidindustries.com
Balmar BAL-ARS-5 Advanced External Regulator System – Not all alternators are created equal. Alternators with an internal regulator convert AC current generated by the alternator to DC current and, typically, fixes the voltage output to a static level, usually 14.6 volts. However, not all batteries want to receive 14.6 volts. Each battery type wants different voltages and currents depending on the charging cycle and variations in battery temperature change. It may be time to consider a smart external regulator such as the Balmar ARS-5 which allows you to tailor your alternator output to your battery capacity, discharge profile, alternator capacity, belt size and battery chemistry to minimize engine run time. ARS-5-VL-01 $ 880 www.balmar.net
Firefly Carbon Foam Battery – If you have a big shopping budget, this is the gift for the boater on your list who has everything. Touted as the “last battery you may ever buy for your boat”, the Firefly battery embeds carbon foam into the lead grid structure allowing the battery to be stored at a partial state of charge for long periods of time without the risk of sulfation. This new technology also allows for a greater depth of discharge and has three to four times the battery life of a standard AGM battery. The most incredible benefit is that you can cruise for extended periods of time without charging the battery to 100% and never lose any permanent capacity over time. Even if the battery is completely discharged, you simply have to charge it and it will return to 100% of its original battery capacity. $670 www.fireflyenergy.com
FTZ Controlled Cycle Crimp Tool – This is a must have on any boat and it is one of the items that is worth it to spend a little more. Many electrical problems start with the connectors, the wires are in a damp environment and are subject to on-going vibration. The secret to a good crimp tool is that it does not pierce the insulation on the wire. The FTX Cycle Crimp tool is specifically designed and manufactured for heat shrink terminals and splices. $ 97 www.ftzind.com
About the author: Jeff Cote is a systems design engineer and owner of Pacific Yacht Systems, a full service shop delivering marine electrical and navigation solutions for recreational boats. Visit their website and blog for info and articles on marine electrical systems, projects and more: www.pysystems.ca.