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Sarah Reicks

Rod holder

The Tournament Series rod holder, offered by BoatMates Marine, features stainless steel and a high-gloss finish.

The holder includes a slot for pliers and a sheathed slot to safely hold a filet knife. Rod tubes have protective plastic liners to cradle the rod.

The rod holder, available for $59.99, includes mounting hardware and comes packed in clear clamshell with four colors and mounting instructions.

Sumo Tube

The SportsStuff Sumo Tube is designed to be a challenging, freestyle towable that is not connected to a boat.

Users slide into the sumo suit and hold on to a water-ski handle on the end of a 60-foot rope. The tube allows for rolling 360 degrees from left to right and can jump on wakes, steer left and right through arm movement, and glide across the water's surface. The Sumo Tube costs $99.

Pest-restriction shields

OFFBoard Marine Vermin Shield is designed to keep pests such as mice and rats off boats.

Pests can gain access to boats by using mooring lines. Treating the problem at its source, the OFFBoard Marine Vermin Shield attaches to and surrounds the mooring line with a disc-like shield to create a barrier.

It fits onto mooring lines of various sizes and can be inserted or removed on a mooring line that is in use.

The shields are available in 10-, 15- and 17-inch sets, and cost as little as $69.95 each. For more information, visit www.offboard.com .

Fish Seeker

The Fish Seeker by Davis Instruments, Hayward, Calif., allows anglers to choose trolling depths from five to 80 feet using a 6- to 25-pound test line.

Using a chart, anglers choose a desired depth by attaching the rod line to a lettered hold and the leader line to a numbered hole. Anglers let out enough line, and the Fish Seeker will dive to the desired depth.

The product also will flip over and surface when a fish bites. The Fish Seeker, which costs $6.99, is designed to hook walleye, crappie and striper.

Safety: Recreational Boating Statistics

The U.S. Coast Guard statistics on recreational boating accidents show that the number of boating deaths dropped to a record low in 2004.

The number of recreational boating fatalities was 676 last year. The previous record low was 681 deaths in 2001. The Coast Guard collects data from the United States and six of its territories.

Drowning is the leading cause of death on the water. Consistent with previous years, 70 percent of reported fatalities were caused by drowning.

The number of drowning victims not wearing a personal flotation device, or PFD, increased to 90 percent last year. Data shows that approximately 431 lives could have been saved in 2004 if boaters had worn PFDs.

Alcohol remains a significant factor in boating deaths. In 2004, alcohol use was a factor in 34 percent of reported boating fatalities.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators plans to continue to work with the Coast Guard to educate boaters and further reduce the number of boating fatalities.

Source: National Association of State Boating Law Administrators

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