Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blinking Lights and Tiny Buttons (An Expensive Oversight)

We previously explained how baby-proofing Sea Gem is much easier than a landlubber might expect.  Because boats are designed to be tossed around in the waves, our cabinets and drawers all latch closed and there is not a sharp corner to be found anywhere.  The same features that are designed to keep adults safe from sharp objects, etc., while tumbling around in the waves also keep babies safe from the same hazards.  That prediction has turned out to be true, and Helina remains safe and sound with hardly any modifications needed.

Protecting Sea Gem from Helina, however, is another matter entirely.  What we were not anticipating (and what now seems painfully obvious) is that Helina likes blinking lights, pushing buttons, pulling knobs, etc.  And she is not content to play with her blinking, button-filled toys, either--not when she is surrounded by much more substantial blinking, buttony devices.  Devices like radar screens and electrical control panels.  Devices that, if played with, could seriously ruin our day.

Take, for example, our inverter control panel.  It is about 24" off the ground (eye level for a toddler), has red and green buttons, and flashing lights.  And, if those buttons our pushed, funny things happen--like our power turns off, our generator starts up, or our batteries discharge and need to be replaced.  We never thought twice about it.

Exposed Inverter Control Panel 
Once our friend's one-year-old son visited and immediately went for the control panel, we realized our substantial oversight.  Something needed to be done to protect Sea Gem from Helina before it was too late.  Over the past few weeks, she has begun to pull herself onto her feet, and we realized that we had precious little time to fashion some sort of cover for the control panel.

Fortunately, we were able to find a beat up old teak cabinet door at the Dania Beach Marine Flea Market this past weekend.  A steal at $5, and after a quick sand and a couple coats of varnish, it matches Sea Gem's interior perfectly.

Hidden Inverter Control Panel
Our solution protects the control panel from button-hungry fingers, looks great, and cost $5--what could be better?

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