If there's a boater on your holiday gift list, we can offer all kinds of great gift ideas, but often, the best solution is a gift of boating gear not specific to a particular boat. It will be hard to go wrong with these great gear gift ideas. Each will enhance any boat or any day on the water.
10 Boating Tech and Gear Holiday Gift Ideas
1. Foul Weather Gear
Not every day on the water is blue skies and sunshine (see How to Keep Rainy Weather From Ruining Your Boat Day). You'll want inclement weather gear on board when wet weather or gusty winds pop up.
Foul weather gear is an excellent gift for the angler who, when the fish are biting, won't be chased off the water by a little rain.
Foul weather gear is available in a wide price range, with many options in material technology.
See all Soft Goods, Gear & Gifts Accessories.
2. Propeller Wrench
An experienced boat owner always carries a spare propeller and the tools required to change a damaged prop on the water (see Packing Your Boat's Toolkit). You can use a standard socket wrench to loosen that prop nut, but the better bet is a propeller wrench.
Because it's made of polymer plastic, a propeller wrench floats if you drop it, and most have a wrist lanyard, so it can't float away. A plastic prop wrench also won't rust in the marine environment. It's a tool every boat should have, along with extra prop nuts and washers, because those will not float!
3. Stainless Steel Propeller
One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve the performance of any boat is by switching from an aluminum to a stainless steel propeller.
Because they have thinner blades, a stainless prop produces less drag in the water. A good marine dealer can help you pick the best stainless prop for any boat-and-engine combination.
4. Upgraded Audio with Bluetooth Capabilities
For the owner of an older boat, an upgrade to the audio system can improve any day on the water. New marine audio units have Bluetooth capability to play music stored or streamed from any device on board the boat. Want more of that boom-boom bass? Add a subwoofer, or two! Modern marine audio can be installed on any boat, from a ski/wakeboat to a pontoon.
5. POV Camera
Factory-installed POV cameras have become standard equipment on high-end watersports boats, where one can capture the fun going on in the wake and act as a safety device that allows the captain to see better what's happening behind the boat.
There are several POV camera systems designed for marine use. Some capture action for later download or streaming, while more elaborate set-ups can be connected to a display at the helm.
Find a Waterproof Camera for Your Boat.
6. First Aid Kit
A good first aid kit is an essential piece of boating gear that's often overlooked, and it's easy to give as a gift because it does not need to be boat-specific. A good kit has first aid essentials packed in a water-tight—often floating—case, usually in a bright color so it's easy to see.
A large boat likely to have more passengers on board should have a more extensive first aid kit. For further helpful gift-giving, pair the kit with a selection of sunscreens and motion sickness bands.
Learn More About Marine First Aid Kits
7. Motion Sickness Band
If you spend enough time out on the water, you may experience the misery of seasickness. This is why motion sickness bands are a great addition to any boat first aid kit and an easy-to-buy gift for a boat owner or their crew.
There are many types of motion sickness bands. Some apply pressure to a spot on the wrist, but the latest designs are electronic and, when worn like a watch, send mild pulses to the nervous system, said to calm the reaction to seasickness.
8. Premium Cooler
A new premium cooler can be an excellent gift for the boater on the water for long weekends or multi-day fishing expeditions. These coolers may be priced as luxury items but are worthwhile investments. Ice can last for days, even in tropical heat, keeping drinks and food cold.
Those designed for marine use often have tie-down sports that can be used to secure the cooler on deck.
The biggest models are the size of a bathtub, but there's a premium cooler just right for a boat, from runabout to pontoon to offshore center console.
Learn More About Selecting a Boating Cooler.
9. Marine Sunglasses
With so many styles and features available, selecting a good pair of boating sunglasses for just about any boating fan is possible.
Features include polarized lenses to cut glare off the water, which is especially important for anglers who want to see what bait or the fish are doing.
Great marine sunglasses have non-slip material on the nosepiece and temples, are lightweight, and ideally float. A good case will protect the glasses when stored on the boat. Consider buying extra sunglasses for guests who come on board.
Read Next: Polarized Sunglasses for Boating and Fishing
10. Handheld VHF Radio
A good VHF radio is a piece of crucial gear that should be on board any boat.
A handheld VHF can be the primary radio on smaller boats but is a crucial backup to a built-in VHF on larger boats.
Because it's battery powered, a handheld VHF will function with the boat's electrical system or batteries are out, and if you have to abandon ship in an emergency, you can take the handheld with you. For this reason, only consider a handheld VHF that floats and is waterproof. A nice feature of the latest models is a UBS charging port and positioning capability.
Learn More: How to Avoid VHF Radio Mistakes