2012 Holiday Gift Guide for Boaters

Check out this shopping list of cool gear and gadgets.

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DieHard Platinum Portable Power

When it comes to holiday –– or birthday –– gift ideas, I never seem to have trouble filling out a list, much to my wife's amusement. It's really easy, though. There's a constant flow of useful boating accessories hitting the market every season, and there's always something I desperately need. But if you happen to be one of those rare anglers who has expression issues, simply dog-ear this page of the magazine and leave it on the nightstand next to your wife's copy of 50 Shades of Grey_. Trust me, she'll get the hint._ When you're ready to go fishing, you don't need anything slowing you down like a low trailer tire. With the ­DieHard Platinum Portable Power, you'll be on the way quicker than you can say "wahoo!" This compact power plant offers 1,150 peak amps for jump-starting 12-volt batteries thanks to its own internal AGM battery. It also includes a 150 psi air compressor, 400-watt power inverter, spotlight, two AC/DC power outlets each, plus a USB power jack. It all recharges fast with a 600 mA wall charger, and it's backed by a one-year warranty. Price: $149.99 Link: www.sears.comDIe Hard
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Fishing Series Handles from Shurhold

Space is at a premium on small to midsize fishing boats, so having multiple tools isn't very practical. The Fishing Series Handles from Shurhold are the perfect solution. With an anodized-aluminum base, these black handles wrapped in gold trim are functional and good looking too. A long foam grip adds comfort, and each handle ­features the SHUR-LOK system for adding attachments. A variety of brushes, mop heads and fishing tools — ­including a stainless-steel 4-inch gaff hook, tag dart and several landing nets ­­— snap and lock into the handle. Price: $84.98 for the 6-foot Telescoping Fishing Series handle, attachments start at $10.98 Link: www.shurhold.com
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Brinkmann Blue Max Marine Spotlight

Even with the best chart plotters, running before dawn or after dusk, you need to be able to see. With the ­Brinkmann Blue Max Marine Spotlight, you can. With its halogen bulb and parabolic reflector, this 2 ­million candlepower beam will illuminate objects under all conditions encountered on the water. The glass lens is ­glare-free and tempered for heat resistance. It charges in eight hours with the AC charger and also runs on 12-volt DC. A locking trigger switch and stainless-steel hook allow hands-free operation. Price: $59.95 Link: www.brinkmann.net
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iBall Hitch Camera

When you're solo or working with rookies, lining up the trailer hitch on your vehicle to the coupler on your trailer can be one of the most aggravating aspects of boating. With the iBall Hitch Camera, that chore is quick and easy. First, magnetically mount the submersible digital video camera on the tailgate or bumper. Next, plug the color monitor into the tow vehicle's cigarette lighter or power port. Finally, watch as you back right up to the coupler for perfect alignment with the ball. Hook up the boat and go fishing. The camera runs on a 9-volt ­battery, and both components are small enough to stow in the glove box. Price: $139.99 Link: www.iballhitchcam.com
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Pelican Cooler

I've been using a waterproof Pelican case to protect my camera for years, so when the company ­recently ­introduced a line of coolers, I knew it'd be extremely durable too. The Pelican Cooler is. This rugged, ­roto-molded plastic cooler is filled with 2 inches of insulation, enough to keep ice for several days. Press-and-pull latches and a freezer-grade gasket ensure a tight seal. Stainless-steel hardware, unforgiving handles, nonskid raised feet and molded-in tie-downs are proof Pelican did its homework. The sloped and threaded drain plug will fit a garden hose for convenient cleaning. Price: $269.96 for the 45-quart model Link: www.pelicancases.com
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T-Bag T-Top Storage Bag

Access to life jackets in an ­emergency is always good. But having them conveniently overhead, within easy reach, is even better. The T-Bag T-Top Storage Bag is one of the best examples of utilizing boat space I've encountered. Made of rugged 600-denier polyester and available in two sizes, these bags mount overhead between the bars of a T-top frame. The zippered main compartment handles either four or six Type II life jackets and other gear. The material is resistant to UV rays, water and mildew. With the T-Bag, safety is both convenient and neat. Price: $48.99 for the four-jacket version Link: www.basspro.com
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HD Hero Naked GoPro Camera

Still photos are so old school, man. If you really want to record real-time memories, you need video. The HD Hero Naked GoPro Camera is a wearable or mountable waterproof 1080p digital version that's ideal for the harsh conditions in the cockpit. It'll capture footage in either 170-degree wide angle (720p) or ­127-degree ­semiwide angle (1080p). It'll also take ­5-megapixel photos if you're not hip. The Naked kits are ready for ­action with the ­camera, rechargeable li-ion battery, waterproof housing good to 197 feet, cables and a one-year ­warranty. Price: $129.99 Link: www.gopro.com
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Sea Shocks Helm Mat

If you're like me, the body doesn't recover quite as quickly as it used to after a long day afloat. One way to ­minimize the wear is with a Sea Shocks Helm Mat. Made with the same twin hemisphere cushion technology that's used in football-stadium seats, these mats act as shock absorbers for the boat. With a soft, textured top, they're easy on bare feet, and the urethane base helps it stick solidly to the deck. The insert is removable for quick cleaning. Available in blue or gray in one size only (171⁄4-by-321⁄4-by-11⁄2 inches), Sea Shocks weigh 10 pounds. Price: $99.95 Link: www.seashocks.com