Labor of Love

Do-It-Yourself Cooler Slide

FSF Staff February 5, 2014

There’s not much that compares to the joy of owning a boat and being able to outfit and customize it to your particular liking. While some products require more labor intensive installs than others, there are a host of fishing and boating accessories that can upgrade your boat’s comfort, appearance, performance, safety and fishability—the choice is yours! Just remember that the harsh marine environment will destroy inferior materials and metals, so it’s important you choose items that will stand the test of time.

labor1

1 of 8

Photo: doughertyphotos.com

When you get the itch to enhance your vessel with a new aftermarket accessory, a cooler slide is an excellent option. On many center consoles a cooler is stored beneath the leaning post, but access is usually difficult. Fortunately, several companies now manufacture universal cooler slides to make accessing the cooler a breeze. In addition, when the cooler slide is fully extended it adds temporary seating without taking up premium deck space.

With a few basic tools ready and a clean working surface it shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to install.

For this particular install the end user ordered a cooler slide from Boat Outfitters to fit a 70-quart Icey-Tek. Depending on the design of your leaning post you can choose between three slides to accommodate coolers ranging from 35 to 200 quarts. Start by measuring your cooler’s width and depth and be sure to add a 2.5-inch buffer to clear any pipe work. You must also have a minimum of two inches of clearance above the lid of the cooler. Reference the size of your cooler to the dimensions on boatoutfitters.com and you’ll soon have a King Starboard cooler slide on your doorstep. Speaking of which, King Starboard is a unique material that is completely unaffected by sun, salt and moisture. It’s also extremely durable and easy to clean, so it is no surprise Boat Outfitters utilizes it for the fabrication of a wide range of marine products.

Upon inspection of the parts and packaging you’ll be happy to find all of the necessary hardware and components, with directions that are well organized and labeled. There will be a preassembled left and right hand slide and a kit of multiple spanners that enable you to custom fit the slide to your specific cooler and application. With a few basic tools ready and a clean working surface it shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to install.

Start by turning your cooler upside down. Place the left and right hand slides upside down on the bottom of the cooler. It’s important that the panel with the locking release pin is positioned on the right side of the cooler so it is easily accessible once installed. Two screws loosen the adjustable retainer that moves along a channel to lock the cooler in place. Tighten accordingly and repeat the process on the opposite panel. Now, choose the appropriate spanner that will accommodate the width of your cooler and attach the screws into the threaded inserts. These cross beams are critical to the effectiveness of the slide and the design ensures the panels are perfectly parallel so the slide doesn’t bind.

Once you’ve built the frame around the cooler’s base you’ll want to place the set under the leaning post for a test fit. If you’re happy with the location, remove the cooler and mark your six pilot holes in the deck. The starboard base has predrilled holes, so there’s no measuring or guesswork needed. With pilot holes drilled, place the cooler slide back into position and begin installing the 1¼-inch stainless steel deck fasteners. From here there’s nothing left to do but place the cooler in the slide, fill it with your favorite beverages or bait and sit back and admire your work!

Join the Discussion