Giving a gift to the boater in your life doesn’t have to be complicated. You can give anything from the smallest trinket or a fun new gadget to a full-blown piece of electronics and they’ll likely be happy. Most of all, make it useful, and you’ll be the star of the show. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Image-stabilizing Binoculars, $649
It’s tough to see something steadily through binoculars when your boat is bobbing on the waves or cutting a wake up the river. But with image-stabilizing binoculars, you’ve got a shot at actually honing in on what you want to see. The Fujinon Techno-Stabi 12 x 28 uses optical stabilized technology to keep a lock on what you want to see, even at 12x magnification. They’re also sturdy, lightweight, compact, and designed to keep dust and dirt away from the optics. westmarine.com
Give your boater the gift of a great tool this year. The Leatherman Wave Plus multitool has more features than any other Leatherman, offering 17 tools in one—all of which can be opened and locked with one hand, including its replaceable wire cutters. westmarine.com
Waterproof speakers, $369.99
What’s better than a great set of watertight speakers? Ones that look amazing and add an array of colors and custom options to boot. The new Fusion Signature Series 3 marine speakers and subwoofers do just that, all while incorporating marine-specific design elements that deliver premium aesthetics to any boat, and sound great on the water.
Marine Magnet, $21.99
We know you’ve dropped a tool overboard before. Next time, get it back when you drop this heavy-duty magnet overboard to hunt for and retrieve your prized tools (or other magnetic marvels). westmarine.com
Handheld GPS, $349.99
Garmin’s new GPSMAP 79 is the latest in its marine handheld series—designed to give boaters a suite of essential, easy-to-use onboard navigation tools from the palm of their hand. The new model features 8GB of memory for storage of up to 10,000 waypoints and 250 routes, built-in BlueChart g3 coastal charts, and an upgraded crisp display that prevents fogging and is sunlight viewable. Plus, it offers 19 hours of battery life—and of course, it floats.
Yachting Whether you’re just getting into boating or don’t need the most high-tech electronics, Simrad’s Cruise chartplotter series is just right. The intuitive and easy-to-use plotter comes with U.S. Coastal charts, mounting bracket, and sonar transducer. It’s sunlight viewable, and can display charts, navigation, and sonar in split- or full-screen views. Available in 5-, 7-, and 9-inch sizes.
Handheld VHF Radio, $99
Standard Horizon has been making quality VHFs for more than 50 years. The compact, floating, HX210 VHF can preset up to 10 channels, and features an FM receiver, water-activated light, built-in lithium-ion battery pack, and 6-watt transmit power output.
Solar-powered Smartwatch, $1,149
When it comes time for a next-level smartwatch, the Quantix 6 Solar is where it’s at. This newly upgraded series adds dedicated marine features to its already quality activity tracking, wellness data, and smart notifications, all on a 1.4-inch display. The watch is compatible with Garmin chartplotters and other devices, offering autopilot control, data streaming, sail racing assistance, Fusion-Link entertainment control, and charts—all from the comfort of your wrist.
Chamois towel, $12.99
Wipe down the morning dew or last night’s rain with the Absorber—a soft yet ultra-absorbent chamois towel made of poly vinyl alcohol material. The Absorber soaks up moisture fast, is machine washable, and can even be stored damp in its handy storage tube. A great gift for any boater.
Digital Multimeter, $54
A little troubleshooting goes a long way on a boat, and when it comes to your electronics, batteries, and connections, having a multimeter on board is the perfect way to help you find your electrical woes. This Klein 600V multimeter is sturdy, measures AC and DC current and resistance, and
Clip-on Speaker, $79.95
Like music? Want to hear it wherever you are on the boat? The JBL Clip 4 has you covered with great sound, Bluetooth connection to whatever device you like, and up to 10 hours of playtime on a sturdy waterproof device. It comes in a rainbow of colors (and customizable prints) and fits the bill at a giftable price.
Mini Plugs, $19.95 per twin-pack
Emergency leaks or through-hull trouble? Stop ’em up with these Sta-Plug Minis—polymer (rubber-like) plugs that will conform to most any hole to hold leaks at bay.
Gas Grill, $249
Keep the boating season delicious by grilling your fresh catch or just some burgers with the classic and durable Magma Kettle gas grill. It’s got 13 inches of cooking space, a hinged lid, and multiple mounting options.
Headlamps rock—especially Petzls. The Actik Core boasts 450 lumens of power, additional red lighting for night visibility, multiple brightness levels, a locking function to keep it from turning on mistakenly, and a rechargeable core battery that keeps you up and running all night.
Phone Mount, $79
The X-Grip holder for phones and other small electronics will keep your phone safely attached to wherever you want it onboard, when paired up with the 4.5″ SeaSucker. Its bendable arm provides plenty of flexibility and it fits just about any phone (opens to 3″ wide).
GPS Castable Sonar, $179
If you’re casting from a dock or pier, or even in your grandpa’s old Whaler, you won’t likely have a fishfinder handy. Garmin has a fun solution for you, right on your phone. Cast out the Striker Cast small sonar device to your hopeful field of fish, and as you reel it back in, you’ll get data from down below sent right to the app on your phone.
Gear Picks for Anglers
One thing I’ve learned over the years about finding a gift for the sportswoman or sportsman in your life is that it’s challenging. Why? Because there’s a good chance they either already have it, or if they don’t, there is a good reason as to why. I once tried to give a good friend a high-end camo survival suit for his 40th birthday. I thought it was a home run. He took a pass. It’s the thought that counts, right? Here are some ideas to get you started. Happy holidays, and enjoy our Chesapeake outdoors!
Tackle Bags & Boxes
I’m a bit of an organizational freak, so I’m always eyeing up new tackle storage to make my life easier. Plano’s Atlas Tackle Pack or its Edge Micro Magnetic Fly Box fit the bill. The Atlas blends the light weight of a soft tackle bag with the strength of a molded box. The base is waterproof, and it has many features anglers will love. The company’s fly box is on the smallish side, but offers big features: Soft pads in the top two levels hold smaller flies or larger streamers, and the base features a magnetic Dropzone that automatically anchors metal tools and hooks in place.
Nothing chases me off the water quicker than being unnecessarily cold and wet. If that’s true for someone on your list, then consider AFTCO’s Barricade Elite foul-weather gear, which employs four-layer, 100 percent nylon construction designed for salt water. The jacket is well-built—YKK AquaGuard chest zippers, double cuff with hook-and-loop adjustment, and brushed tricot hand-warmer pockets. The bibs come with a nylon-lined utility pocket, elastic shoulder straps, and knee-high side zippers. Add a pair of Xtratuf’s new Sport ankle deck boots, built from a new high-performance foam Pro Lite material and featuring a one-piece outsole, and that lucky person is ready for colder weather fishing or boating.
These days, we all have to do more to conserve more fish. Tools such as dehookers, lip grippers, and fish-friendly nets should be standard issue on all anglers’ boats and kayaks. Try Frabill’s ultralight conservation net, which measures 21″ x 24″, and features a low-resistance, coated mesh and a crazy light carbon-fiber handle. For the kayak angler, consider YakAttack’s revolutionary Leverage Landing Net that features a forearm grip and hinged design that makes it compact and easy to stow. The rubberized net is easy on fish slime, too, especially when you’re letting that trophy fish swim away. If these aren’t making your socks go up and down, perhaps a membership to one of the many organizations working to restore habitat for fish and ducks. I’m a big fan of the Coastal Conservation Association and several groups that are dedicated to ensuring that America’s public waters and lands remain in public hands so we can all enjoy them responsibly.