Win the holiday season MVP award with help from our 35-item list of gifts for boaters.
The holidays are going to be here soon. Don’t let them sneak up on you like they have every year until now. Be prepared. Be well armed with ideas. Be the giftgiver everyone remembers next year and the year after and… you get the idea. We started compiling this array of potential joy-bringing items in June(!!) and arrived at nearly three dozen suggestions for gifts that will make boaters, anglers and watersports enthusiasts happy. And our ideas are sure to spark countless other ideas that will have you tied up online for hours and hours. Beats working, so search away and find the perfect gifts for the boaters in your life. The first and most important item, of course, is a subscription to Boating World. At only $10 for a two-year, 18-issue subscription (boatingworld.com/subscription-services), it’s the kind of gift at the kind of price point that could make several people happy.
LESS THAN $50
Bullseye from Anglr is a Bluetooth-enabled button anglers can wear or affix to the boat. When it’s synced with a free app, a push of the button records data such as weather, water temp, and location. Two clicks creates a waypoint. Data can later be accessed through the app.
Ratchet Transom Tie-down Straps
For a little extra security during trailering, Heavy Duty Boat Buckle Ratchet Transom Tie-down straps provide a breaking strength of 2,500 pounds and a safe working load of 833 pounds. The 2-inchwide straps are 2 feet long and have a vinyl-coated top hook and protective pads.
WestMarine.com, $29.99/set of 2
Ratcheting Tie-down Straps
With ratchet handles that make it easy to adjust strap length and handle levers that cinch straps Tie-down Straps are a welcome addition to a boater’s trailer accessories. Each has 1,000 pounds of capacity, is one-half-inch wide and is 10 feet long.
HarborFreight.com, $21.99/ set of 4
Hull Hugr is a PWC fender that hinges in the center and secures under the rub rail with a hook to protect the PWC’s body. The adjustable strap and vinyl-dipped steel hook attach to a cleat or ski eye. A rubber block provides an anchor for the strap if a cleat isn’t available.
Pontoon Corner Bumper
Keep the pontoon corners on somebody’s boat pristine by giving him a Taylor Made Pontoon Corner Bumper (or two). Made of heavy-gauge PVC and designed to secure, via stainless fasteners, to radius-style or 90-degree corners, the bumpers deliver air-cushioned impact protection.
Inflatable toys are nice to have on a trailerable boat, but securing them can be a problem. For someone in that, ahem, boat, a No-Knot Cleat for Inflatables could be a welcome gift. A superstrong adhesive adheres the cleat to inflatable PVC boats, kayaks and paddleboards, and a rotating cam eliminates the need for a knot in the line.
With a lightweight frame and polarized lenses, Headland sunglasses from Sunski are a good fit for men and women. The frames are made of recycled plastic, and the frames and lenses come in four color combinations.
Catch of the Day Hoodie
Made of lightweight cotton/ polyester blend fleece and featuring a full zipper and a cinchable hood, the Roxy Catch of the Day women’s hoodie is sure to find a place in your favorite boating gal’s onboard wardrobe. Its stylish looks are apparent, but its long sleeves and kangaroo pocket will be what she appreciates.
Whether someone is a hand model like George Costanza or just likes to protect his palms, he will appreciate a pair of Fish Monkey Guide Gloves. With a soft, slightly tacky grip, finger holes, UPF 50 sun protection and a breathable fabric, Guide Gloves shield and protect.
$51 to $150
Ultra Adventure Storm Hat
Protection from the sun’s rays should be foremost in boaters’ and anglers’ minds, and the Ultra Adventure Storm hat from Sunday Afternoons provides full head coverage, a 6-inch neck cape, a 3.25-inch clamshell brim and an integrated wicking mesh liner. And it’s waterproof.
For the man or woman who likes to be on the water before and after the heat of the day, a Polar Fleece from Gill provides versatile warmth in a breathable, soft jacket. It comes in graphite and navy for men, and navy and light gray for women.
Fin H2O Slip On Boat Shoe
Aimed at paddlesports and PWC enthusiasts, Fin H2O men’s boat shoes from SoftScience feature a mesh upper, a neoprene collar and a non-marking slip-resistant Trileon outsole. They’re breathable and use a forefoot water flow system to dry quickly.
Folding Anchor System
Complete with a 5.5-pound anchor, a four-fluke folding anchor, 25 feet of marine-grade line and a nylon storage case, the Airhead Complete Folder Anchor System is a handy temporary anchoring solution for smaller boats and PWCs.
The four-legged crew need flotation safety too, and Neo Vests from Connelly deliver. Made of thin-profile Neoprene and featuring a grab strap and reflective tape, the vests come in Otis and Bella styles.
Type IV Lifering
Datrex has a correctly sized and priced life ring for trailerable boats. Its 20-inch Orange Type IV ring with reflective tape meets U.S. Coast Guard standards and is constructed of high-quality polyethylene.
Adjustable Drink Holder
Designed to fit into pre-existing cupholders, the Accon Adjustable Drink Holder fits everything from a two-liter bottle to a long-stem wine glass. The unit extends 2.5 inches vertically and its arm span adjusts from 2.25 inches to 4 inches.
Help an angler on your list keep her bait alive longer with a T-H Marine Pro-Air System Complete Aerator Kit. Battery operated, the system works with fixed and portable tanks, and its 12v DC pump is potted and waterproof. The kit includes a pump, two air stone mounts, two air stones, a switch panel and 20 feet of air-line tubing.
Chris-Craft Boats: An American Classic
Since 1874, Chris-Craft has been synonymous with quality, craftsmanship and beauty. A new book by Nick Voulgaris, “Chris-Craft Boats: An American Classic,” details the story with well-researched narrative and 200 images. Ralph Lauren wrote the foreword.
RizzoliUSA.com, $65 (Rizzoli, June 2018)
Is storage short on a favorite angler’s boat? If so, maybe a Plano Z-Series Tackle Backpack can help. It includes four 3700 series stowaway utility boxes, a zipperless design, two exterior side pockets with buckles, two tool holders and two mesh pockets.
$151 to $300
Two-Way Satellite Messenger
If you worry about a boater who makes long runs offshore for fishing or just recreation, giving him a Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger can deliver a little peace of mind. Able to send text messages and an SOS from virtually anywhere, Spot X is a handheld safety solution.
F2 Trailer Jack
Available in bolt-on and weld-on and in twin- and wide-track versions, the F2 Trailer Jack from Fulton is rated for 1,600 pounds. Corrosion-resistant coatings cover the components inside and out, and Fulton claims the jack is maintenance free.
Batteries lose juice, whether it’s the boat battery or device batteries, so portable power on the water is a big asset. The Weego Jump Starter 66 can jump gas engines to 10L and diesels to 5L, can act as a flashlight, and can charge phones, tablets and laptops.
Life Vest 4-Pack
With stretchable side panels, three adjustable belts and freedom of movement in the shoulders, Neo life vests from Connelly are Coast Guard-approved options for keeping passengers safe on the water. The four-pack comes with two S/M and two L/XL vests.
The styles in the Untangled Collection from Costa are part of a mission between Costa and Bureo to prevent discarded fishing nets from polluting the oceans. Untangled frames, such as the Pescador style, are made from fishing nets that are recycled into pellets by Bureo and molded into frames by Costa.
Shark Bite Sunglasses
Featuring Pelagic’s polarized mineral glass (PMG) and using marine-grade polarized optics, Shark Bite sunglasses will save anglers’ eyes during a day on the water, and they’re designed to fit a wide range of facial sizes. Several frame/lens color combos are available.
Quatix 3 Watch
Equipped with cruising, sailing and fishing capabilities — in addition to telling the time — the Quatix 3 watch from Garmin is built for the water. It can interact with NMEA 2000 electronics, read barometric pressure, act as a compass and control Fusion stereos.
Able to pair with Apple and Android phones, water rated to IPX7, and able to send texts and SOS alerts, the inReach Mini from Garmin is a gift that provides peace of mind. It uses the Iridium satellite network to stay connected from anywhere and gives SAR crews information they need to effect a rescue.
Garmin.com, $349.99 (subscription required)
$301 to $500
Able to hold up to 82 12-ounce cans and 48 pounds of ice, the Kong 110 cooler from Kong Coolers can extend a day on the water, and it’s designed for harsh marine environments. Divided storage can keep food and beverages separate, and a combo of gaskets and latches create an insulated seal.
Know someone — maybe yourself — who has pretty limited space to park a boat at home and whose vehicle doesn’t have a tight enough turning radius? Force 5K from Parkit360 is a battery-powered trailer dolly that can be maneuvered by one person and moves around tight corners. It can handle 5,000 pounds.
For anglers who fish from the bow, having a pedestal that raises a display 12 inches off the deck and tilts it to a 70-degree angle would be valuable. PedestalPods from NavPods do just that. As housing for 12- and 16-inch displays, PedestalPod is watertight and precut to a display’s dimensions.
Available from manufacturers such as Airhead, Connelly, Full Throttle, HO Sports, Hydroslide, O’Brien, Rave Sports, SportsStuff, WOW and others, inflatable tubes will have the kids dreaming of summer.
Down Imaging Trolling Motor
Really impress the angler on your list by gifting a Minn Kota trolling motor with built-in Humminbird MEGA Down Imaging capability. Yep, Ulterra, Terrova, Ultrex and Fortex motors can be sonar-capable thanks to a transducer in the lower unit of the motor. You’ll be popular.
MinnKotaMotors.com, Varies by motor package