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Dockwa's 2019 Sailing & Boating Holiday Gift Guide

Post by Becky at Dockwa - Published on 11/28/19 4:16 PM

Need inspiration for a perfect gift for your captain or crew? We've got you covered! Take a look at some of our recommendations for all the boaters and sailors in your life. 

The holiday season is in full swing! We've put together our top picks for boating-related gift ideas. Check out our list, and let us know if we've missed any by chiming in on our Facebook Group.

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Tech |  Boat |  Gear & Garb | Galley | Media | Boat & Home Decor | By Boaters for Boaters


Techy Boat Safety First

  • This iCOM VHF Radio is fully sumersible with a Lith-Ion 6W battery. This military standard radio holds a charge for hours and is worth having on any vessel.

  • AIS transponders are a huge safety technology that is worth investing in. WatchMate XB-8000 is one of a kind in that it is the only black box transponder with built-in smartAIS alarms. You can get alerted with the external audible alarm that sounds if it detects a risk in case of potential collisions, dragging anchor or man overboard situations. 

  • Safety first, boaters. Check out this Personal Locator Beacon that is a GPS-enabled rescue beacon, suited for all your outdoor adventures, but especially boating, because it floats! 

  • Last year boaters raved about these binoculars so we brought it back for 2019. If your captain is one to keep his eyes on the horizon, stabilized binoculars might be a game-changer for 2019. Two to try:  Canon's 10x30 or Fujinon's Techno Stabi TS1440.

On-Board Recording Tech

  • Remember how I sent the on-board GoPro 4 to a watery grave just outside Tampa? Of course not, because I left that part out of the delivery recap. The silver lining was getting to upgrade to the line of GoPro HEROs that are waterproof without requiring additional casing. Not only that, the new GoPro HERO 8 takes unshakable videos and improved TimeWrap video effects. 

  • Drones. Still so hot this year. Last year, Stuart on our Engineering team loved his DJI Mavic Pro's 12-megapixel camera, which can capture 4K video at up to 30 frames per second – perfect for taking awesome aerial shots of boats, marinas, harbors, and adventures. This year, a new Mavic Pro 2 is all the rage. This bad boy is newly improved with a 20 MP 1” CMOS Sensor, adjustable Aperture, f/2.8 – f/11, 10-bit Dlog-M, and 10-bit HDR Video.

Boating Tech Stocking Stuffers

  • If you go for the drone, get the corresponding stocking stuffer: a Samsung 128GB Micro SD Card to hold a day’s worth of aerial shots.

  • If you go for the GoPro, throw in a package of secondary tethers for when it's precariously mounted on the deck.

  • A good boat ride isn't complete without a jammin' music playlist. But first you'll need some speakers. Check out this waterproof JBL bluetooth speaker that provides great sound, plus we love any addition to a boat that doesn't require wiring work.

  • This next one is a tried and true gift that never goes unwanted. Because keeping a charge on board can be a challenge, I love these Anker products, and personally stow the Anker PowerCore II 20000 in my regatta bag to charge up to three of my crew’s iPhones at a time, and keep the smaller Anker PowerCore+ mini in my wallet. 


Personalized Boat Gifts

  • Although gift certificates have a reputation for being impersonal, what better way to celebrate your boating loved ones than by offering them more opportunities to get out on the water? Send them a Dockwa Dollars gift certificate, valid at any of Dockwa's marinas, yacht clubs, and boat yards!

  • Last year we gave ideas on ways to help personalize a boat gift for someone – from towels to tote bags, gear’s easy to whip up on CustomInk or BoatNameGear (same goes for crew shirts, vests, and other outerwear) if you have a high-res file of the boat name or know the font. You can also upgrade the boat life ring or dock welcome mat. Another classic touch: a ship's brass bell engraved with the name of the boat.

  • It's always nice buying gifts made in the USA as well. Sea Bags, a company that started out of Maine, also makes personalized totes, duffels, hand bags, and much more. If you give them an old sail, they'll recycle and make your bag out it at a discounted price. 

  • Quantum offers multiple gift options such as, onboard consultation, sail service gift card, or sail repair kit.

  • One tip we love: If a dock box floats away in a big storm, it's much more likely to return to you if it has the boat name on it. If the boat’s home slip is in need of one, buy dock box and add the boat name, and contact information on the inside.

Big Boat Gifts We Love

  • Whether paying divers to scrub your bottom or doing it yourself, a boat owner might be a prime candidate to test out this Keel Crab drone hull-cleaner. If you spring for this, please do report back. 

General Boat Gifts Everyone Will Use

  • Loads of fun that packs up small is a boater's favorite combo. New toys to try: the CreekKooler that is compact, floats, is tow-able, and provides cup holders. And the Subwing Towable Watersports Board for Boats, or the Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Portable Lightweight Kayak

  • I've said this before, but sleeping aboard is an often overlooked highlight of boating, in my humble opinion. Snuggling up in smaller quarters is even better when you're the perfect temperature, gently rocking to sleep. I'm psyched to try the new Buffy comforter, which uses 100% recycled plastic and I'm told are heavenly, on board and off. 
  • This one is for your four legged friends that accompany you on your vessel: at spill proof water bowl
  • Peace of mind is always a welcome gift! Give the whole crew a BoatUS Membership, which includes 24/7 dispatch assistance, a subscription to BoatUS Magazine, fuel, transient slip and repair discounts; and member rewards at West Marines. 

Gear & Garb

Boating and Sailing Gear Gifts

  • 2018 favorites that still make the list: A captain I know swears by his Shelta Seahawk Hat – which stays cool and comfortable, its stiff brim doesn't flop, repels water, and provides UV protection.

    • Dockwa crewmate, Reid still raves about Spyderco Knives that he saw at the Annapolis Boat Show last year, so on the list they go! 

    • I'm still in love with this Long Wharf Supply bag. I'm a big fan of the craftsmanship and low-key nautical style that go into their gear bags. Locally made in New England to boot. 
  • New to 2019: For the sailors in your life, we've heard great things about APS's selection of racing watches. Waterproof, durable, easy to ready, and offered with a variety of extra bells and whistles, we can't wait to try this one out. 

  • Although technically a diving flashlight, this Genwiss Dive Light, is great for any boater. Waterproof, fulling submersible, this super bright light with five modes of changeable brightness, is great when cleaning the bottom when the sun goes down, or to help navigate at night. 

Clothes & Accessories Gifts for Sailors and Boaters

  • Every pair of sunglasses costs the same when they're sitting on the bottom of the sea. Buy some spare sunnies (preferably polarized) for your loved ones at Sunglass Warehouse, which has amped up their already-great prices for holiday shoppers. Right now, it's buy one get one FREE site wide, so get shopping! 

  • Another company made in the USA, Lon Gundie makes great base layers that are light weight, UV protected, and come in a variety of fun colors for you and your young boaters. 

  • Sperry is running holiday deals, with 50% off a boatload (more than 300) of styles, no code needed. Sebago is my go-to, and I love this super comfy suede pair I got this season. 

  • With the tech we do carry on board, it can become obsolete if we can't navigate the screens in the cold. Check out these new, double insolated fleece-lined touchscreen gloves from Mujjo. 

Gifts For Your Galley

  • Gifts from years past that are still great options: I still love this gift! The GoSun Stove is a lightweight, portable, fast solar oven, that heats up in minutes (up to 550°F) and folds up into a slim 7.5 lb/ 3.4kg package. 

  • New to 2019: These Shazo Airtight Container storage containers are a must have for your galley in order to keep food fresh during your longer journeys. Not only can they store liquid and food, but they come in a variety of different sizes to ensure they can be stowed away in all sorts of galley spaces. 

  • The only thing better than rum, is frozen rum. Check out this counter top size Ninja blender. Not only will it have no problem crushing that ice into a perfect daiquiri, but it sticks to the counter! No need to worry about spilling while heeling.

  • Boaters, sailors, and fishing enthusiasts love YETI, and with good reason. No matter the product, these things maintain hot or cold temps for way long than any other brand on the market. Get a YETI customized to your loved one's boat at the YETI Custom Shop


Required Reading for Sailors and Sailboat Racers

  • A Voyage for Madmen is a great read about the first single-handed circumnavigation race, and the literal madness that went with it.

  • The racers in your sailing crew know the rules have changed, so help them get up to speed with Understanding the Rules of Racing, updated for 2018. (While you're at it, spring for the waterproof edition to help them avoid fights on board and in the protest room.) If you think they don't need these, start a new holiday tradition of putting their expertise to the test with 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes through 2020

  • For a more lighthearted approach: Swallows & Amazons, which is a British classic and an adorable read for kids of all ages. Messages from the Sea is a collection of letters and notes found washed ashore on beaches, bobbing in water, carved onto wreckage, and so on. For the creative types, Lost Ocean, An Inky Adventure is a coloring book for all ages, full of marine and maritime imagery.

Boat & Home Decor

If you're up for a somewhat DIY project, have a photo of their boat or harbor mounted and framed, or check out the list of customized projects highlighted earlier in this post.

  • We still love this gift from 2017! Gift a professional photo of their home harbor while supporting local photographers: In New England, two of our favorites include Cory Silken's Galleryas well as Kat Hanafin's The Nautical Collection! Representing the Chesapeake, check out the amazing sailing photos Ben Cushwa's Nautography

  • Nautical Chart Prints is a new favorite, with harbor-specific paper prints and barware for every region across the US. 

  • A custom model of your captain's boat might be just the ticket – one shop I've had recommended to me is SD Model Makers

By Boaters for Boaters

We love hearing from boaters who are out on the water and making a living doing it! A few Dockwa friends we have to name: 

  • SternLines not only reuses & recycles lobster rope from the shores of Maine, their doormats, coasters, dog toys and other products are Dockwa- tested and found to be truly well-made. 

  • 12 Degrees West is another true story of sailor ingenuity of gear created by a woman sailor for women sailors. Not a fan of the womens sailing wear she found on the market, Founder Julie Hylton started her own line!

  • You don't have to be a lobster man/woman to enjoy this present. Lobstah Rockah Furniture is owned by Sea Rose Trap Company, a Maine lobster trap company that has been building custom traps for fishermen since 1993. They build every piece custom to order to ensure you're getting the rocking chair of your dreams. 



To wrap it up... 

This is the season where we feel luckiest for what we have, a reminder that there are many with much less and causes in need. Whatever you choose, you can never go wrong with a gift in your loved one's named to a seaworthy charity.

We've got more great ideas coming in from boaters just like you, so keep this post bookmarked for new additions! 

Post by Becky at Dockwa

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