by Laura Snow
Beach bag, duffle bag, tote bag, ditty bag, shopping bag, tool bag, rigging bag or bag of ideas—whatever your bag, you’ll find some good ideas here.
Columbia’s Omni Freeze Zero
This is the go-to technology in clothes this year! When you sweat, or dampen with water, little blue circles on the inside of the fabric swell, lowering the temperature of the fabric and increasing air flow to cool you. As long as you sweat, you’re cool. The soft, lightweight, breathable fabrics block 98-99% of all damaging sun rays. It’s antimicrobial, too, so your sweat won’t stink.
They’ve made this stuff into t-shirts, fishing shirts, hats, caps, visors, neck gaiters, bandanas, sleeves, even shoes.
What we’ve heard:
“This stuff is awesome!”
“I’m gonna retire all of my cotton clothes.”
“Hey, I’m making ice cubes in here!”
In men’s and women’s styles, they’re available at West Marine.
TIP: When packing, save time and reduce wrinkles by stacking. Stack shirts — long sleeves first, then short sleeves, then sleeveless. Fold this whole stack as if you’re folding one item. It’s much faster, and there are no hard creases. Takes up less space, too. For pants and shorts, do the same thing — pants first, then shorts. Again, fold as one. I fold customers’ purchases this way, and every one has said they’re going to pack this way.
What bag does multiple duty . . .
For laundry bag, provisions (groceries) bag, wet gear (like snorkeling gear) bag, beach toys bag? A mesh bag. Made from quick-drying, mold and mildew resistant mesh, a mesh bag will quickly become one of the most versatile items on your boat. And things like beach toys or snorkeling gear can be rinsed of sand with a good dunk or two in the water.
TIP: No matter what kind of bag you’re packing, on the water or off, there’s one thing you might not have thought of, but can be a lifesaver. (Well, maybe not life, but sure to be a great thing to have.) Especially this time of year, who on your boat isn’t wearing either prescription eye glasses, sun glasses, or both. Losing that little screw that hinges your glasses can ruin your outing. Go to your local drug store and get an eyeglass repair kit. It will contain a little bitty screwdriver and some little bitty screws to make a fast repair. Lousy (not to mention unsafe for your eyes) time averted!
Your eyes, of course, are important. Most sunglasses these days are polarized and provide UVA/UBV protection. These qualities are a must! What’s the difference between the top-of-the-line brands and the less expensive? The high end glasses have the finest optic clarity, as well as quality frames, that have manufacturers’ warranties for defects. And if you break them, these brands will repair them for a reasonable fee. But, at least at West Marine, nearly all of the sunglasses, expensive or more affordable, provide these protections.
Protect the Kisser
There are so many lip balms on the market, and I (as well as you, I’m sure) have “tried ‘em all.” Introducing Eco-Lips. I know, it’s just a lip balm, but this one’s the best. In addition to an SPF 30, the ingredients of this one are all organic. It’s cost is no more than most of them out there. And I find it lasts longer than any others I’ve tried.
Okay, this may not be for the avid fishermen amongst us who are well equipped, but maybe they’ll at least find it interesting. And if you find yourself in a situation like mine, delivering a sailboat to St. Thomas and craving some fresh fish for supper, read on. (By the way, the prudent skipper here didn’t allow any alcohol consumption for the entire trip. However, some of the stuff was on board to celebrate a successful arrival.)
All we had was some fishing line (I can’t tell you what strength) and some hooks. We made a lure out of crumpled aluminum foil, tied the line to a stanchion, and tossed it out. And we caught one! Wearing gloves, we pulled that fish — a mahi mahi — in, hand over hand. Now what?! The boys reached for a winch handle to beat it to death, but then I pulled out the Liquid Gaff. While the mahi thrashed in the cockpit, we simply poured a couple of ounces of alcohol (any kind) in its gill; two small flops, and the job was done. We enjoyed a great supper!
If you’re still with me, please note: This method is the most humane way to do in a fish. It’s immediate. It’s very clean — no blood until you’re ready for it. No chance of harming you or your boat trying to club a fish to death. After the fish is done, you’ll enjoy your own Liquid Gaff. It’s a beautiful thing!
Laura Snow’s primary job is lead backup of Soft Goods (clothing, shoes and accessories) at West Marine’s Flagship Store in Kemah. Her second job is pattern-maker for woodwork and helper for her husband (Tom Snow)’s business, Snow Yacht Service. They are also parents to six rescued four-legged and furry children.