I understand the added structure issues and have decided the best thing to do is make a "Cat Box" similar to the old H21 SC. I would like to find one for comparison, but have been doing some modeling.
I currently have the flashlight lights and have used them for two seasons now, but I would like to have instruments on board for weather, GPS and depth, as I am doing more distance now, than beaching and I go for the weekend camping excursions all the time.
The problem with a battery box up front is the weight factor, and what would happen if we go over. Having the batteries in the "hold" is keeping a lower profile and out of the way.
I will probably just use the existing boxes for batteries and carry a small cooler, as they don't work very well anyway as a cooler. Of course I'll have to seal them better too as they leak bad. (even when adjusted)