Solar Accessories for Boats

GoSun Grill | Courtesy of GoSun

Lagniappe. This French Cajun word, pronounced (lan-yap), means “a little something extra.” When it comes to making eco-friendly adjustments to our boating lifestyle, the little extra things can have a big impact. Solar-powered accessories are lagniappes for boaters looking for a little eco-friendly independence from standard power sources.

Whether you are looking to increase your visibility, supplement dinghy lights, create ambiance or shed light in out-of-the-way spaces, solar-powered options can be cost effective and eco-smart.

For example, solar-powered Kandle Rail Lights are a perfect addition for most boat models. Designed to clamp onto 1.25” to 1.0” rails or stanchions, these small lights are easily added to dark spaces around the vessel. With 360 degrees of rotation, these lights can illuminate your deck, dinghy boarding area or even the dockside of your boat when in port. A full day of sunlight can yield up to eight hours of light.

Originally designed to meet the need for lighting in places without electricity, remote countries or in the aftermath of catastrophes, collapsible solar lanterns are finding new purpose for boaters. The Luci Light, LuminAID and Solight are notable examples of small items with big benefits. Designed to pack flat to be cost-effectively distributed after disasters, these lanterns are perfect for space- conscious boaters.

The LuminAID and Luci Lights are inflatable solar-powered LED lanterns easily stored when not in use. Solight’s design is origami inspired and does not require inflation by mouth. Instead, you simply tug the sides apart to puff up the cube-shaped lantern. All three solar lantern products can emit over 60-300 lumens for 24 hours (depending on the model) after only a day of direct sunlight. These lightweight lanterns are waterproof and have straps making it easy to hang them in a variety of situations.

Boaters report using them as a backup for navigating dinghies, creating ambiance on the deck for late-night dinners or cocktails, illuminating work areas, and serving as part of emergency gear. Diverse sizes, models and even color options are available. If you have ever struggled to locate your boat in a crowded anchorage when returning by dinghy after dark, you can appreciate the benefit of a unique-colored light on the back deck. Several available models include the ability to function as a phone charger.

Charged batteries give peace of mind

Keeping our devices charged is more than just practical, it is often a point of safety for boaters. A common tension-building scene in movies these days involves some sort of emergency/crisis, a character trying to call for help/warn others, and a close-up image of the cell phone battery life indicator about to go dead. This works because we all understand that feeling.

For boaters, an uncharged device can be a problem. While the VHF radio is a primary communication source, cell phones and tablets are key support devices for tracking weather, planning courses, contacting marinas/services, and sharing navigation updates.

The ability to recharge without electricity is eco-friendly and convenient. Solar-powered charging units are a great option for making sure you always have connectivity. Most models are compact and easy to include in your safety gear or toss in a bag when out on the dinghy or prolonged excursions.

The BigBlue 28W solar charger is consistently rated highly for its efficiency and compatibility. This flat panel power plant can charge multiple devices and fold up small enough to store in a backpack. Another portable option is the 4Patriots Power Cell. This handheld power bank is rugged and water-resistant and can be recharged by solar or micro-USB connections.

GoSun Breeze | Courtesy of GoSun

Beat the heat with ease

Anyone who has experienced the bliss of air flowing through boat windows and hatches has also known the dread of stuffiness when the air ceases to move. Adding USB-chargeable or solar powered fans to your space can help keep things comfortable.

From tiny table fans to units designed to cool small greenhouses, air-moving options are plentiful. Solar power-focused company, GoSun, offers accessories to cool things down or heat them up. The Breeze, a powerful and portable fan, can be powered by a USB or foldable solar charger.

When you are looking to heat things up, check out GoSun’s Sport Marine solar oven. Designed for attachment to boat railings, this solar oven can bake, roast or steam your fresh catch in minutes on a sunny day.

Harnessing the sun’s energy is not limited to large panel installations or repowering propulsion. Taking advantage of this abundant resource while reducing your carbon footprint can take place in small ways. Solar-powered accessories are the little something extra, lagniappes, that can enhance our boating experience while supporting a healthy environment.

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