I thought it was pretty cool when a friend used the bottle opener embedded in the tread of his flip-flop to open my beer. That was before I detected top notes of road grit and toe jam accenting my St. Pauli Girl. I’ve been skeptical of two-in-one devices ever since.
That’s to say nothing about three-in-one devices, which have become my new favorite, thanks to Taylor Made’s Bazooka Bailer. This combination boat hook-bailer-power washer actually makes a lot of sense: use the bailer to suck up the last drops of water from the recesses of your bilge, pick up your mooring with the boat hook, then spray the green, mooring-line slime off your deck with the power washer.
An inherent problem with multi-function devices is that, in order to combine multiple functions into one device, designers often compromise the functionality of the individual tools. Believe me, the perfect bottle opener does not come with a flip-flop attached.
But the perfect boat hook, it turns out, does come with a built-in bailer and power washer. The presence of extra functions in no way compromises the Bazooka Bailer’s primary purpose as a sturdy, dependable boat hook. Made of anodized aluminum with a Lexan plastic hook and Vynafoam grips, the Bazooka Bailer telescopes from four to eight feet long. A spring-loaded mechanism keeps the extended boat hook locked in place.
As a bailer, the Bazooka Bailer will not replace the time-tested bucket and sponge or manual bilge pump. It only sucks up about a quart per stroke, and to expel the fluid you have to remove the nozzle end from the bilge. Bailing a significant amount a water with the Bazooka Bailer would be a significant pain in the butt. That’s not to say the Bazooka Bailer is totally useless as a bailer– it’s perfect for sucking up that last tiny bit of water from a hard-to-reach place. The seals for the bailer’s piston are made of nitrile, a blended rubber that stands up well to oily, salty water.
My favorite function of the Bazooka Bailer is also its least useful– power washer. Taylor Made advertises that the stream of water expelled from the nozzle when you compress the piston has the “power to clean.” Power to clean a few drops of muckwater off the deck, sure. Power to clean bird droppings off the cockpit seats? Not unless they’re freshly laid. As with its bailer function, I wouldn’t depend on the Bazooka Bailer’s power washer to do any serious cleaning. I would, however, use it to squirt that couple passing by in their dinghy, waving cheerfully at that nice man standing on the bow of his boat with his boat hook…