A cutting board ranks as a must-have on most every boat. Whether cutting bait, filleting a catch, slicing tomatoes or quartering limes, a cutting board makes the task easier, and it beats using the lid of your expensive cooler. Today most marine cutting boards are fashioned from high-density polypropylene, which stands up well to weather and sharp knives, and cleans up nicely. A number of convenient mounting systems secure the board while you slice and dice. Here are some choices.
Many boards, such as the Magma 31-inch-wide Bait/FilletMate ($209.99; westmarine.com),
come with adjustable tubes that fit inside gunwale rod holders and lock in place. Magma calls it the LeveLock because it lets you compensate for any rod-holder angle to level the board. As with nearly all cutting boards, fiddle rails help keep items from sliding or rolling into the drink. When you’re done, the tube mount folds flat against the back of the board for stowage.
Some boards feature side mounts that attach to the vertical surface of the inwale or transom bulkhead. The Magma 12-inch-square Econo Mate cutting board ($79.99; amazon.com) has a hinged insert that quickly attaches to a low-profile bracket with a locking pin on the boat. When you’re done cutting, pull the pin, fold back the hinged insert, and stow until next time.
Courtesy Mate Series
Let’s say you have small boat and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a board. In that case, check out the Mate Series Bucket Board (starting at $35.95; mateseries.com). The 15-by-24-inch-long-by-½-inch-thick board mounts on top of the ubiquitous 5-gallon bucket. While it lacks fiddles, it does have drip gutters that drain to the bucket, as well as slots to hold pliers and knives, and a handy carrying handle.
If you have a free-standing livewell on deck, as do many West Coast boating anglers, think about a cutting board that also serves as a lid for the tank. Kodiak, which offers aftermarket free-standing livewells, also sells cutting-board lids for its various models. The ½-inch-thick PF-32C ($41.99; tackledirect.com) fits on top of all Kodiak livewells. It provides a convenient surface for dicing up some guacamole or cutting bait.
Courtesy Boat Outfitters
Many center-console boats have tackle and rigging centers in the leaning-post module abaft the helm seats, but some lack boards for cutting and rigging baits. A good solution to this problem is the Boat Outfitters Tilt-Out cutting board ($439.09; boatoutfitters.com). The 6-by-23 ½-inch board requires a cutout in the back of the leaning post to install. On the plus side, it folds back flush to the bulkhead when you’re done with it.
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OK, maybe you want to wait to return to port to fillet your mahi or walleye. That calls for a dockside cutting board, such as the Tournament Series Dock Cleaning Station from Magma ($449.99; westmarine.com). It features polished stainless-steel legs and a 47 ½-by-19-inch table that folds down to drain water and create extra room when not in use. There’s an optional cover, and a side station holds tools and a drink while you celebrate your catch.