Top 10 Gift Ideas for Boaters

In today’s world of personalized Instagram ads and limitless Amazon Prime options, shopping for a loved one may be more convenient than ever… but it can also feel overwhelming. With so many items to discover, how can you narrow it down to that one perfect gift? It always helps to pick a gift that while inspire your friend or family member to do more of what they love. And for us, that means boating. Who doesn’t love more reasons to get out on the water?

Boaters wearing Sunglasses

We put together a list of the top ten gift ideas for boaters and sailors. With options ranging from $20 to $200, there are plenty of choices to fit any budget.

Gifts for $20+ 

  • Rigging Knife: A sharp knife is a sailor’s best friend, and a good boating knife doubles as both a utility tool and safety gear. A knife with a serrated blade makes it easier to cut rope (one of the knife’s primary purposes), while a straight edge knife will be easier to sharpen. Folding knives are compact and easy to carry, which means your boater is more likely to keep the knife handy. Check out the Deluxe Rigging Knife from Davis Instruments for an affordable and high performance option.
  • Waterway Guide or Book: One thing a boater or sailor will always need is a good destination. Whether your boater is an avid angler looking for their next fishing spot or a weekend cruiser looking for longer travel routes, a local waterway guide will inspire their boating bug. For a boater who thinks he’s seen it all, check out Judith Schalansky’s Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will.” This beautiful book is visually stunning and captures the magic of some of the most remote islands in the world.

Gifts for $50+ 

  • Polarized Floating SunglassesAnyone who spends time near the water needs a pair of floating shades. How many times have you watched a pair of expensive sunglasses slip off the deck (or your face) and sink to the depths below? You can help your boater stop sinking money on shades by buying a pair designed to float in water. Choose a frame with high quality polarized lenses that will protect against UV damage and reduce glare.
  • Quick Dry Towel: For ocean spray, sudden downpours or dips in and out of the water, having a quick dry towel on board will help your boater (and passengers) stay dry. A shammy-style towel is lightweight and compact, so it’s easy to stash in your boat’s dry storage. Quick dry towels are super absorbent, extremely soft, and – as the name would indicate – they dry very quickly.

Gifts for $100+

  • Engraved Compass: For an elegant keepsake and functional gift idea, look for a precision engineered compass. Grand Voyage makes beautiful engraved compasses that you can personalize for your loved one. With stunning craftsmanship and hand-polished stainless steel, your boater will love to show off his new compass. Just take note that if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, this compass is not the one for you.
  • Sea Tow Membership: Give the gift of peace of mind. A Sea Tow membership will give your loved one 24/7 on-the-water assistance. This includes fuel drops, jump starts and even free towing. Let’s be honest, this one is a gift for you as much as your boater. For inland boaters, the “lake card” is just $119 per year. For marine boaters, the “gold card” will cost $179 for an annual membership.

Gifts for $150+

  • Digital Sonar: For boaters who enjoy fishing, a digital sonar device will help them spot and catch more fish. Just touch the handheld device to the water’s surface, and the powerful sonar beam will give you a depth reading on an easy-to-read digital screen. These devices are often compact enough to fit in a tacklebox, so your fishing fanatic can take this along for shore or dock fishing as well. Just be aware that many boats already have built-in depth finders, so this may not be necessary for your loved one.
  • Floating Binoculars: Just like those pesky sunglasses that have a way of falling into the water, you can protect your binoculars by choosing a floating pair. Look for 7x magnification, which can help keep the viewer’s image steady even in rough sea conditions. Check out the Barska Deep Sea Floating Binoculars, which also includes a compass. The binoculars are made with non-slip rubber for a secure grip to further protect against rough waves, rain spells, and of course, butterfingers.

Gifts for $200+

  • Water & Windproof Jacket: The weather can turn pretty quickly when you’re out on the water. Every boater needs a high performance jacket that will protect against water and wind. West Marine’s Third Reef Jacket is a great choice, with styles for both men and women. The jacket is made from a breathable material with multiple pockets for all your boater’s gear. The waist drawstring and bottom drawstring help to further seal the jacket from water and rain. If it sounds like this jacket couldn’t get any better, it’s also made from a quick-dry material.
  • Smartphone-connected Gauge: Have information at your fingertips with a smartphone connected information portal, like the Mercury Marine VesselView Mobile. This device displays all the data you need on your engines (up to 4 total). These include speed, fuel efficiency, rpm and fluid pressure levels. This will also help your boater keep her craft in ship-shape by notifying you when maintenance is due. All this digital data connects to both Android and iPhone.

Whether you’re shopping for a birthday, Father’s Day, Christmas or any other special occasion, you really can’t go wrong with this list of boating gift ideas. Just make sure you’re also outfitted and ready to go, because you may have a few boating excursions in your future when all the excitement is unwrapped.

Is there anything missing from this list? We’d love to hear about it! Give us a shout at