It’s amazing how quickly the holiday gift season can sneak up on you. One day you’ve got six weeks left to corral the finest gathering of presents ever assembled for your seafaring family and friends. The next, well, let’s just say the tide is bottoming out and the time to act is now!
While there are plenty of obvious choices for marine-related gifts, we’ve all got that special captain on our list that can be especially hard to buy for. You know the one: a super skipper that takes his time on the water and at the helm as serious as anyone you’ve ever met yet still keeps the day fun. It’s the skipper that you know deserves a super gift for having been great all season long but seems to have just about everything he or she might need from an on the water perspective.
If that’s that last person on your gift list don’t worry because we’ve got your back with some simple boating gift ideas that offer plenty of bang for the buck and cover the entire spectrum of price ranges. They’ll surely please and whould be thoroughly appreciated by other hard-to-buy-for deck hands as well.
One great option is Gill’s ¼-zip Knit Fleece ($120). It looks and feels like a sweater on the outside and fleece apparel on the inside and is adaptable to all four seasons. Wear it on the outside during the warmer months or under foul-weather gear or a jacket in the colder months. To be sure, you can never go wrong giving the gift of functional warmth.
Looking for a less expensive gift that’s sure to raise a smile? Consider, a nautical journal or ship’s log. Sure, most of the world has moved to digital recording of virtually every event both on and off the water, but there’s just something special about being able to put pen to paper when making notes or reflecting about your on the water journeys. EvZ makes a beautiful, 7-inch, leather-bound Vintage Nautical Spiral Diary ($8.99) with removable pages so you can rearrange notes when necessary. It’s a simple gift, really, but a thoughtful one that any serious skipper is sure to appreciate.
Staying with a thoughtful, printed theme, a copy of Richardson’s Maptech Embassy Cruising Guide ($44.95) would make a terrific gift for any skipper that likes to travel from port to port. Exceptionally comprehensive and accurate, these guides are available for regions along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. They make wonderful trip planners and are chock-full of all the information you'll need from charts and nautical info to dining, fishing possibilities, attractions and things to do. They are also available in an E-edition.
A lot of captains are also fishermen so something catchy would seem to make sense. But which lure, rod or reel would you get? There are so many - and different skippers can have vastly different preferences when it comes to gear. Fast forward to the end game, however, and a 6-inch Fillet Knife with Ballistic Sheath ($34.99) from Case Knives makes the perfect gift. This fixed blade knife will make short work of cleaning the catch while pulling double-duty as an all-purpose utility knife.
Yet another simple gift that’s sure to bring nods of approval is the Yampa 35 Dry Duffle ($187.49). With a waterproof zipper, backpack straps, lash points, and a padded exoskeleton shell combined with a rugged base, this bag is tops in terms of convenience and versatility. Just load it up and head off with no fuss while your gear stays safe and dry. Larger sizes, the Yampa 70 $224.99) and Yampa 105 (262.99), are also available.
Lastly, few things in boating are more disappointing than hearing the sound – or lack thereof- of a dead battery. It’s a scenario even the most proficient of skippers will eventually face. Fortunately, Weego’s compact, multifunctional power packs will crank your boat with no hesitation – and they’ll crank an ATV, car or truck, too. Several models are available but the Weego 44.1 ($83.99) is most popular for boaters. Weego Jump Starters provide up to 3-years of standby power on a single charge. I left one on board for a full year before needing to put it to use and it held the charge straight through.