it into a bathtub, or maybe a
Cases that can survive a battle
zone are fine for the military,
but we’re boat people. We’re
going to drop stuff overboard,
and we want to get it back. So
it has to float.
One solution is a buoyant foam accessory that fits
over the protective case. It also
adds another level of shock
resistance. The most common
group of floating products is
the pouch style. Pouches aren’t
as form fitting as a hard case, but they tend
to be less expensive, starting at $10.
Polyurethane pouches feature some sort
of zip seal and often have a lanyard for more
secure toting. Make sure the one you want
has a clear back or cutout for the camera lens
on your phone or tablet. Otherwise, it’s useless for taking pictures.
Pouch makers say you can operate func-
tion keys and touch screens through the thin
plastic, but check it out yourself with your
device. And don’t buy the old-style “dry
packs” made for VHF radios and handheld
GPS units. The poly is too thick.
Devices always seem to be running out of
juice, just when we’re far away from a power
outlet. Some case makers have responded by
integrating tiny batteries inside their products.
At least one case uses the sun’s rays to help
charge the battery and costs roughly $130.
This is a niche category but
may evolve with improved battery technology and consumer
demand. For now, it’s about
aligning expectation with reality. In-phone chargers prolong
battery life and solar cells can
revive a dead device. But don’t
expect the rapid recovery time
you get from a wall outlet or
Speaking of expectations, it’s
fair to say that all these cases
involve some degree of compromise. Some may muffle your
speaker or ringtone. Others may
impair your ability to press all
the function keys or perform swipes, especially at the edges of the screen, where the
case may intrude. It’s possible that third-par-ty cables won’t fit through the charging port.
Maybe these are things you can live with
for your peace of mind on the water. At the
same time, you’ll want the ability to test a
case and return it, if it’s not suitable.
Tux Turkel has been exploring the Maine coast
in small boats for 20-plus years.
Have some sort
in place in case