Black Holes

Appreciating the utility of a common on-board fixture

drink holder

drink holder

It's at times when the fish won't cooperate that I'm prone to contemplate the world. There's plenty out there that perplexes me—like those math word problems we endured in high school.

Then there are those itty-bitty frozen flakes in snow globes that seemingly never melt. Another brain teaser are marine drink holders.

Math? For those shopping a new boat, drink holders can really muddy the process. While at a dealership recently I happened across a sweet 20-plus number. The salacious, skinny-drafter had a sexy shear line, muscular chines and ample leg room for four mariners. Oh, and eight –– count 'em –– stainless steel (no less) drink holders. Just for fun, let's convert this into one of those aforementioned pesky word problems.

"A motor boat's capacity is four persons. Assume it leaves the dock heading due south at 2.3 knots at full capacity and each occupant has two arms equipped with two, fully-functioning hands. The boat has a total of eight drink holders (plastic). The vessel transports one (1) six-pack at carrying capacity (i.e., six effervescently bubbly adult beverages). Assume all drink holders are utilized on the voyage. Offer a mathematically-based explanation for each individual drink holders use."

Evolution. Over the years, I've grown to appreciate the utility of drink holder design (once I realized they're utterly useless for their intended purpose). Since that day, my style of fishing has evolved to accommodate my boat's particular allotment.

Nowadays, they nestle my pliers perfectly as they grow unrecognizably rusty. They're also great gathering places for that single truck or trailer key you'll never find (because it's stuck to a wadded up ball of old electrical tape), salty green pennies, broken buttons, blown fuses, empty mustard packets and previously used Neosporin-encrusted band-aids.

Pro's Perspective. I've noticed the better the fishermen, the more disheveled their drink holders. Top inshore guides often turn to their drink holders to solve a stingy bite. On more than one occasion, I've witnessed these folks fish through their entire quiver of tackle boxes—only to find the "it" bait for the day stuck to the bottom of their console drink holder.

The Future. After much musing, I'm convinced today's drink holders aren't ideal. However, I remain optimistic some forward thinking drink holder engineer will re-imagineer them in the near future.

In my perfect drink holder world, they'll be reincarnated as mini-tackle receptacles with removable dividers and watertight lids. Better yet, futuristic drink holders will closely mimic airport bathroom pump soap dispensers.

Instead of soap, they'll issue precisely metered dollops of sunscreen. The creamy cocktail offering burn protection the next time the fish aren't cooperating and I find myself contemplating the shape of passing clouds…