It’s that time of year again…when you have to find something appropriate to give to the boat owner in your life. But be of good cheer…we have surfed through all the online stores, filled our bag full of things that will fit under the tree and bring good tidings to boat lovers on your holiday giving list.

As in years past, we’ve tried to find generically nautical gifts you can give–things almost any boat owner or boat lover would enjoy and appreciate. Sure, your nautical friend or family member might need a new anchor, stainless steel steering wheel or the latest Garmin electronic gadget.  But for successful gift-giving, it’s probably best to look for something unique, interesting and different.

So cast off the lines…here’s this year’s selection of fascinating gift ideas for your boater.


Everybody has a pair of Sperry Topsiders, right? It’s kinda the required boat shoe.

Well, we’ve found some alternatives that your giftee will love, and others will notice. For women, we love the Helly Hansen Copenhagen boat shoes (From $85 at  These low profile sneakers have a rubber outsole that will grip any deck they encounter. The tumbled leather uppers have a suede trim and come in pink, navy and off-white, with Helly Hansen’s nautical-flag logo design on the heel. These very fashionable boat shoes will work great onboard, and look even better ashore.

For men, especially men with big or oversized feet, the lightweight boat shoes from Hawaii-based Olukai have an extra-roomy toe box, making them feel more like flip-flops than boat shoes.  The non-marring rubber sole will keep your footing on a heaving deck, and the quick-drying mesh uppers are extremely comfortable. We like the Nohea Moku (either slip-on or tied), priced around $100 the pair, available at Amazon.

Biking Ashore.   

We first saw a foldable electric bicycle in the U.K.–keep it onboard the boat in its compact, folded form, but when you want to go ashore to explore, it unfolds into a mini-bike with an electric motor to power you around town in comfort and ease.

Yes, they make them here in the USA as well. Electric bikes are the hot new toy, so you can shop around to find a model you like. 

Ancheer makes a fold-up 20-inch electric bike with a 36V, 250W motor powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The motor has seven speeds and also pedals for biking the old-fashioned way! The lightweight aluminum alloy frame folds down into an easily stored shape that will fit in any gear locker onboard.

Priced from around $579 at Amazon.

Handmade and nautical.   

We’re suckers for handmade sailor’s knots. Cool looking and evocative of the open seas. We found a 17-inch sailor’s knot wreath from Mystic Knotwork, based in the Connecticut seaport, which can be hung on the wall, dressed up for the holidays, or used as a table centerpiece in the galley.  Each piece is made from 44 feet of manilla rope. $50 at Amazon.

Mystic Knotworks also offers a sailor knot coaster set: four cotton coasters, four inches across, in a similar nautical knot design. Perfect for any boater’s entertaining spread. $26.99 at Amazon.

Grilling Aboard.   

Cookouts are part of the summer fun of boating. Especially for captains who like to bring aboard freshly caught seafood. 

The Weber Q1200 series gas grill caught our eye, and was named the “Best Portable Grill” by CNET.  It’s small but sturdy and the perfect size for grilling either on the dock or the stern deck. Heavy cast-iron griddle will last for years and the cast aluminum cookbox is rust resistant and comes in several cheerful colors. Works with a LP propane cylinder, or can be hooked up to a 20-pound propane tank with a special adapter hose.  Find one for $209 at Amazon.

Light it Up! 

Our sister gave us one of those headlamp thingies a couple of years ago. We laughed and thought “we’ll never use that!”  Then we used it three times inside of a week! Now we can’t live without it.

Any boat owner sooner or later will find the need for both two hands and a light source at one time or another, whether it’s fishing at night or plumbing the dark depths of the bilge. That’s when one of these strap-on headlamps will be most appreciated.

The Fenix headlamp features a 500 lumens, multi-purpose compact LED flashlight and two rechargeable batteries. It will provide enough light to illuminate something 260 feet away, and a single charge can last as much as 148 hours.

Find it for $65 at Amazon.

Speaking of light, we love this set of LED lights that look like wax candles. They glow prettily like candles do, but there’s no flame. Rechargeable, too. We found a set of nine candles, ranging in height from four to six inches, for around $35 at Amazon.

Charts and Graphs. 

Nautical charts are great…they provide lots of useful information and they look kinda cool, especially on coffee mugs, wall clocks, throw pillows and towels.  And since every captain has a port, it’s easy to find the right chart for the right captain!

Go visit and spend some time surfing through their selection of nautical chart products.  You’ll find ceramic drink mugs (around $15), beach towels (around $35), throw pillows ($30-55) and dozens of other gift ideas.

Stocking Stuffers. 

Here are some quick, down and dirty gift ideas for boaters.

  • Nautical men’s wallet, made from real sailcloth, with nautical stitching design. $20 from Amazon.
  • Sun Bum moisturizing sunscreen.  This zinc oxide-based cream goes on white but turns clear in second and provides 50 SPF protection. Oil free, smells like pina coladas, protects for at least two hours and is made in the USA. Pack of two for around $20 at Amazon.
  • Sierra Dawn Campsuds outdoor soap is a vegetable-based and environmentally friendly product that works for almost every cleaning need onboard: wash your hair, your face, your hands, your dog, the dishes, clothes, grease…almost anything, and works in cold water or hot, fresh water or salt. Concentrated, so a little goes a long way.  Priced from around $10 for 4 fl oz. or $18 for a three-pack, at Amazon.

Happy Shopping!!