Do you have a sailor to two on your holiday shopping list? Then you’ve got the perfect gifting opportunity this Christmas season. Sailors are gear-intensive and are always looking for gadgets from safety items to good books to curl up with during the long winter.
Whether it’s safety items, warm sailing gear, helpful tools, or even an outfit for the dog, there’s something here your sailor will love.
1. Sailing Sunglasses
Reflection and glare off the water and sails can be tough on a sailor’s eyes so good sunglasses are a must. There's plenty of glasses on the market to choose from, including EveryDayBoater (EDB) Cuda sunglasses. These glasses provide just the right amount of eye coverage without taking too much space on your face and they have quality gloss TR-90 plastic frames and premium polarized glass lenses. They provide 100% UVA and UVB protection and come in four tint options. They also have a case, a strap, a microfiber cleaning cloth and a limited lifetime warranty.
2. Emergency Leak Plugs
The company Forespar came out with their foam cone emergency plugs years ago, and they were a handy way to plug leaks and irregularly shaped hull breaches. The company has since introduced a minuscule version called the Sta-Plug Mini for smaller jobs. These plugs have “riblets” so you can twist and push them into place and they stay put.
Perfect for temporary use, these plugs fit better than traditional wooden plugs and can save the day if a seacock fails. They also won’t mold or swell and can be tucked into the smallest of lockers for future use.
3. Handheld Satellite Communication
With inReach satellite technology from Garmin and an active satellite subscription, you can stay in touch with family as well as rescue services via the Iridium satellite constellation. Your sailor can send and receive messages, track and share the voyage, and trigger an SOS from anywhere 24/7.
With the inReach, offshore races and cruising just got a lot safer and even if it’s not an emergency, keeping in touch has never been easier or more affordable.
Learn more about marine communication in Basic Boat Electronics for Beginners.
4. Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs)
Spinlock’s Deckvest VITO is an inflatable PFD and harness in one. It was designed for the Volvo Ocean Race and it’s a lifejacket that’s light so everyone can be comfortable and agile on deck. No more sore shoulders from wearing a heavy PFD on watch even if it lasts all night. For added safety, purchase a tether so your sailor stays attached to the boat no matter what the sea is serving up.
5. Sailing Gloves
If you have a racing sailor in your family, show them you care about their hands that get sore or damaged by all the different lines that are on a sailboat.
Made of Dura-Grip fabric, Gill Championship Gloves provide an uncompromised hold. Better still, they’re durable with improved abrasion resistance. But unlike stiff bulky gloves, they stay flexible with 4-way stretch fabric across the back of the hand. They’re water repellent and also provide UV 50+ protection for the hands. They even come in men’s and women’s sizes so you know they’ll fit.
A sailor can never have enough tools at hand, so put the Davis Instruments Snap Tool Multi-Key in their stocking. This pocket-sized, stainless steel gadget is a tool chest that fits in a pocket. It has a deck plate key for water, fuel and waste caps, and a cutting tool to get through fishing line, cord or webbing. There’s also a zipper pull for stubborn zippers, a snap tool for corroded canvas attachments, hex wrenches in popular sizes, two screwdrivers and even a bottle opener. Now that’s a tool everyone needs.
7. Sailing Apparel
A dinghy racer will appreciate what's called a "skiffsuit" for many reasons, but many because they're designed for easy movement. For example, the Ronstan Skiffsuit CL270 is basically 2mm neoprene sleeveless overalls that are stretchy, comfortable, and have reinforced knee pads and an embossed chest panel. They’re durable but soft and lightweight so you know they’ll be worn often to keep your sailor warm.
8. Marine Navigation App
A leading marine navigation app, iNavX LIVE, added AIS functionality so boaters can track the movement of nearby ships on their phone or tablet without the need for a separate onboard transponder. Now, your sailor will have a chartplotter in hand that delivers heading, speed, location, COG, waypoints and routes, but now it also shows position and heading of nearby ships that could become a real hazard.
It’s available for iOS and Android devices and is supremely affordable. Detailed chart overlay prices vary.
9. Dog Life Jackets
Now there’s no reason to leave Fido at home because you can keep him/her safe with a personalized life jacket. With extra floatation around the chest to keep the dog’s head above water and a convenient handle, a Baydog Monterey Bay LifeJacket Offshore will make sure your pooch floats until you can pull him out of the drink. It comes with reflective trim and is available in highly visible orange or yellow. Available in four sizes, this vest is sure to fit any furry companion.
To find other accessories for your four-legged companion, read 4 Must-Have Accessories for Your Boat Dog.
10. A Great Sailing Book
With light in the cockpit, your sailor can relax in the evening with a book. There are so many good reads for sailors from reference books like the Annapolis Book of Seamanship to how to's including Nigel Calder’s tomes on electrical systems and diesel engines.
Your sailor can even get wrapped up in real-life thrillers like Voyage for Madmen or Godforsaken Sea, both of which also make great entertainment by the light of a toasty winter fire. For additional titles, be sure to check out 10 Best Sailing & Boating Books for Your Reading List.
Holiday shopping can be tough but having sailors on your list makes it stress free and easy.
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