Space is always at a premium on a boat, so Capt. Mike Gallo came up with a novel idea that keeps him and his clients safer during unexpected storms on the water — but is small enough to hardly be noticed by anyone onboard.

It’s a 12-by-14-inch piece of ⅛-inch-thick pre-cut Lexan the Angling Adventures of Louisiana guide purchased for a few bucks from Home Depot serves as a portable mini windshield.

“It doesn’t take up any space in your boat,” Gallo said. “You can stack it on your center console windshield. And when you get in a bad rainstorm, you pick it up and put it front of your face while you’re running in. 

“No bay boat’s windshield is high enough for you to stand behind and be protected while you’re running. But this blocks you from being pelted by the rain, and you can wax it with Rain-X to make the water bead up on it.”

Gallo got the idea for his mini windshield years ago when he got caught in a bad storm with a boat full of customers.

“All of them were facing me with their hoods over their heads, hunkered down. So I’m the only one who can see straight ahead,” Gallo said. “It was so bad I was driving by my electronics and my GPS position — it was coming down that hard. I couldn’t look straight ahead; it was like getting shot in the face with bird shot.

“As I’m leaning down to look at my screen, I hit a wave that I didn’t see and the railing around my windshield hit me in the eye and cut the heck out of me. But that’s not the important thing. The important thing was what if I got knocked out? Those people weren’t looking at what’s going on, and the boat was going to go in circles until it ran into something.”

From that day forward, Gallo decided to get the biggest GPS screen he could afford, and he added the piece of Lexan to the list of items that never leave his boat.

“If I put this little windshield in front my face, I can see my GPS screen without having to bend down so close to it, and I can see waves that might be coming as well,” he said. “If the wind’s blowing from the right, I can hold it on the right side of my face. 

“It’s simple. When you need it, you can just grab it.”

Gallo said Lexan is available at most hardware stores — but he said to be sure to get actual Lexan and not Plexiglas.

“Lexan doesn’t yellow,” he said. “If you put Plexiglas out there in the sun day after day, it yellows and you can’t see through it when you need it.”