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How do I protect my cell phone on board?

2009 September 1
Dear Boat Doctor,
I have a strange question for you, I sail on Puget Sound and try to get out a lot, and my question has to do with my cell phone. My job allows me a lot of freedom to sail during the work week, but I need to be in cell phone contact. I typically hang my phone on a little clip on the helm pedestal of my Hunter 45. This works pretty well, but I have ruined two phones by getting them wet and I dropped another overboard fumbling to answer it. Do you have any ideas on how I can protect my phone but still be able to use it?

Steve Sanders
Seattle, Washington

Dear Steve,
Many people go sailing to escape the cell phone, but I understand your predicament and I have an idea for you. How would you like to keep your phone down below, safe and dry, yet still be able to use it from at the helm?

Cobra Electronics (www.cobra.com, 773-889-3087) has developed a bluetooth mike, the MR F300 BT, that will work with virtually any bluetoothcapable phone. It looks and works just like a VHF radio mike, but communicates with your cell phone. It allows you to answer and make calls, and has a push-to-talk button to stop that annoying, and giveaway, wind noise. It is completely stand-alone; it has nothing to do with any radio and it just needs 12-volt power (you can even plug it into a cigarette lighter plug), and sells for $189.

I think this would work great to solve your problem and allow you to go sailing while still using, and protecting, your phone.