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Killing Them Softly

Sometimes the greatest inventions are accidental discoveries. When teenager Skylar Heyer and his dad, Chris, received an old ship’s rigging knife as a gift, they tucked it into a drawer and promptly forgot about it. But when the knife recently resurfaced, they realized that it could be fashioned into a relatively humane way to kill the Dungeness crabs they trap while on the family’s American Tug. Chris explains: “We’ve used all kinds of methods to clean crab over the years but by far the easiest thing we found came from a knife someone gave me years ago. It had a sharp, thick, fixed blade. When a rigging line needed to be cut, the sailor would hold the knife on the line then hit the top of the blade with a mallet.

Scout Trading Company Killer Crab Knife

The Killer Crab Knife and mallet

With a wide blade and a large grip, the original knife was easy to wield by just about anyone, but with a few modifications, they reasoned, it could be the perfect instrument to quickly and decisively make the death blow. The new stainless blade didn’t need to have the same sharp, carving-knife edge to it, but it did need a wide, blunt top so that when struck by a mallet the knife would be less prone to twisting or torquing in one’s hand. The handle needed to be of firm, textured polypropylene, so that when handling the blade and mallet, whether in rain or covered in fish slime, you would still have complete control over the implements.

Skylar is the CEO of this company: not a bad debut for this sophomore in high school.

$29.95 (with free shipping)
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Standard Horizon VHF

Standard Horizon's new HX210 VHF

Standard Horizon VHF

The latest VHF transceiver from Standard Horizon has the specs to be a nice addition to your electronics goody bag. With a submersible IPX7 waterproof rating to just over three feet, the new HX210 transceiver also floats. Featuring all channels, including the United States, Canada, and international channels, the 6W, max-output VHF has an easy-to-read, high-resolution LCD screen with a menu system that won’t make you go crazy trying to figure it out. Select from 6W, or power down to 2.5W or 1W of power while using. A standard outlet fully charges the 1800 mAh lithium-ion battery in 3 hours and Standard Horizon includes a three-year waterproof manufacturer’s warranty. —JC


StereoActive Music Machine

If your portable stereo doesn’t work without first stuffing it with D-cell batteries like a Thanksgiving turkey, you’re probably doing it wrong. And if you’re out paddle boarding without a water-resistant, Bluetooth-enabled boom box, you’re most definitely doing it wrong. Enter the hi-fi experts at Fusion to help bring your tender, kayak, or other water-bound toys into the modern age. 

Fusion Mobile Stereo

Fusion's cool new mobile stereo that you can mount on a stand-up paddleboard, tender, or any number of other places.

Choose whether you prefer MP3 playback, Bluetooth audio streaming, or AM/FM tuning with an option for Weatherband, then enjoy up to 20 hours of listening enjoyment from its rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. For the really active among you, there is a dedicated spot to mount your action camera, though we doubt this will be useful for those who only listen to Weatherband. —JC

$275 - 

The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn

The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn Book Cover

Book cover of The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn

Untold tales from history are often the most intriguing since grade school textbooks rarely broached difficult subjects. Robert P. Watson's new book, The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn, definitely qualifies. It even manages to make a bunch of anarchists throwing boxes of tea into Boston Harbor seem tame by comparison. Just putting this out there: This is not going to be an uplifting and cheerful addition to your holiday gift basket. Retelling the tale from reports, diaries, and released military records, Watson details the horrors onboard the British ship, HMS Jersey, that was moored of the coast of New York to serve as a floating prison for Colonial subjects whose hands were caught in the cookie jar. Inhumane conditions onboard were commonplace as prisoners were withheld fresh air, water, light, and food. It was a death sentence to anyone exiled here, and Watson credits the treatment of Jersey's prisoners as a catalyst that sparked Revolution. —JC

$19 -

Check out the November/December issue of PassageMaker to read the complete version of the 2017 Holiday Gift Guide, starting on page 30 in the magazine.