2017 Holiday Gift Guide

By Mark Corke

Looking for that special gift for the boater in your life? Here's a selection that will look great under any tree and fit every budget.

Less Than $50

It's In The Bag


Want to show your love of the water as you head off for the weekend? Then you need a Sailor Bag. Made from sailcloth material, these bags are both tough and practical. And it's not just bags. There's a range of products to suit almost anyone: wine-bottle holders, totes, iPad cases, and even pillows. Starting at $15 | sailorbags.com

 BoatUS members receive discounts from Sailor Bags. Visit BoatUS.com/Savings for info.

Low-Tech Necessity

Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book

Electronics, gear, and gizmos are great, but it makes sense to carry printed charts for the area in which you're boating. No chart is much good without knowing what the tides are doing, though. For that you need the latest update of the Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book. This indispensable reference, which has been in print for more than 140 years, covers all of the East Coast, gives the time/height of high and low tides, and time and strength of the current. $14.95 | landfallnavigation.com

Lock It Or Lose It


If Santa brings you some new electronics for your boat this year, you'll want to make certain that no light-fingered elves make off with them while you're away from your boat. The E-LOCK replaces one of the trunnion mounting bracket screws and ensures your shiny new fishfinder, chartplotter, or other display will be there when you return. Suitable for all major brands of bracket-mounted electronics, the E-LOCK seems like cheap insurance. Buy more than one at the same time, and the manufacturer will key them alike so you'll only need one key no matter how many pieces of equipment you need to protect. Starts at $29.95 | durasafelocks.com

A Swimmingly Good Time

Kids life jacket

Getting kids to wear life jackets just got easier thanks to this range from Swimways. From Finding Nemo to a Star Wars Jedi, there's sure to be one that they can't wait to slip on that will turn them into their favorite characters. In sizes to fit children up to 90 pounds, the type 3 life jackets are U.S. Coast Guard-approved. From $34.99 | swimways.com

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

As a BoatUS member, you already know how valuable your membership benefits can be. Share the love with a boating family member, friend, or colleague this holiday season with a unique gift that won’t break your budget.

Basic membership starts at just $24 per year. Add unlimited TRAILER ASSIST® for $14 more. And if you want to go all in, an Unlimited Gold Towing Membership is $175 ($72 for ­freshwater).

Go to BoatUS.com/Gifts for more info or to sign up. This is sure to be one gift that won't get forgotten in the back of a closet!

$50 To $99

Keep Your Cool

IceMule cooler

One of the biggest challenges with kayak camping trips has been how to keep food cold. A standard cooler won't fit in the kayak, and stuffing perishables in a dry bag is far from ideal. IceMule coolers are the answer. Looking like a standard rolltop dry bag, the insulated IceMule offers all the attributes of a hard cooler with the versatility of a soft bag. The manufacturer claims that it will retain ice for 24 hours, there are shoulder straps so it can be worn like a backpack, and the bag will float if dropped in the drink. From $89.95 | icemulecoolers.com

Relief Is At Hand (Or Wrist)


They say the best cure for seasickness is sitting under an apple tree — not much use when you're out at sea. For that, other remedies must be sought. The manufacturer of ReliefBand says the wristwatch-style device works by delivering gentle electrical pulses to a pressure point on the median nerve located at the wrist. The pulses transmit a signal to the nausea-control center of the brain to resolve the conflict between what you see and what you feel, which is the cause of mal de mer. Unlike typical seasickness meds, ReliefBand has no side effects. $94.99 | reliefband.com

In The Net

Large telescoping net

Is any one landing net really that different from another? Cuda's new Telescoping Net proves that all nets are not created equal. This one has an aluminum handle and hoop with a distinctive zip-off mesh that can be replaced. The mesh itself is coated to prevent harming any fish you want to release, the handle telescopes out, and a mesh-grabber holds the net against the handle so it doesn't blow in the wind and tangle around your fishing gear. Four sizes, from $35 to $115 | cudabrand.com

$100 to $399

Best Foot Forward

Men's and women's Sebago shoes

Spend any time on the docks or in the yacht club and you're sure to see someone wearing a pair of Sebago deck shoes; leather laces that go through eyelets around the cuff and keep the shoe in place in less-than-clement conditions. If you want to dress it up a little, check out their other styles, too. For women, there's the Plaza 2 and the Plaza Bit, both slip-on styles that could be worn to work without looking like you just stepped of the boat. And for men, there's the Smyth Wing Tip that looks like a dress shoe but with the nonslip and nonmarking sole that Sebago is known for. Plaza 2, $120; Smyth Wing Tip, $140 | sebago.com

The Stuff Of Legend

St. Croix Legend Tournament series fishing rods

The St. Croix Legend Tournament series fishing rods took top honors in the Best New Saltwater Fishing Rod category at the ICAST fishing tackle show. Legend Tournaments are made with top-notch components, including Kigan zero-tangle guides with aluminum-oxide liners and titanium frames, SCIV Graphite blanks, Fuji Blank-Touch reel seats, and two coats of Flex-Coat. When we handled them, we felt the sensitivity couldn't be beat, and it was literally impossible for someone to tap the rod tip lightly enough that you didn't feel it in the grip. $280 to $340 | stcroixrods.com

Reel Easy

Sustain C3000HG Fishing Reel

Sustain Fishing Reels from Shimano are high-powered spinning reels with rigid Hagane bodies, cross-carbon drags, and the ability to put out between 20 and 24 pounds of drag pressure (depending on size). One turn of the crank brings in 35 to 41 inches of line. Sustains are available in 2500, 3000, 4000, and 5000 size models. Line capacity ranges from 150 yards of 10-pound braid, to 220 yards of 20-pound braid. We got an early hands-on with these reels at the ICAST tackle show and found them shockingly smooth yet quite sturdy. $330 to $370 | fish.shimano.com

Time And Time Again

Seatek Argo dive watch

If you don't want to miss happy hour at the yacht club, you'll need to know when to head back to the dock. This stylish SEATEK ARGO dive watch features Swiss components, water resistance to 650 feet, a sapphire crystal, and is built by hand in the USA. Three colors available. $289 | seatekgear.com

$400 And Up

Sittin' On The Box By The Bay

Waterside Lounger

Dock boxes are great for storing all sorts of boating bits and bobs, but what if that big box could serve another purpose? The Waterside Lounger could be just the thing. The top is molded as a love seat so you can hang out on the dock while taking in the view. Constructed of fiberglass with a smooth finish, it's just a tad over 5 feet long and boasts more than 14 cubic feet of internal storage. Gas lifts hold the lid open, a lockable latch keeps valuables safe, and beefy hinges ensure long life in the marine environment. Available in white, gray, and tan. $898 | dockbox.com

Now I See You

Garmin VIRB 360 camera

Smartphones are great for taking snaps or videos and posting on social media. But if you want to take your videos and pictures to the next level, consider the Garmin VIRB 360, a 360-degree camera that immerses the viewer in the total experience. Take shots on your boat, share them on YouTube, and the viewer can use his or her mouse to scroll around and enjoy the entire scene in high-definition color. Other features include image stabilization, the ability to add data overlays, and in-camera stitching of videos for a seamless look. The camera can be controlled remotely via an app from your smartphone or from a series of three buttons on the camera-mounted top LCD panel. There's a bunch of mounting options available at additional cost, including a water-resistant boat mount that also supplies power so you don't have to worry about the battery running out at the wrong time. $799.99 | garmin.com

Sounds Good To Me

AQ-MP-5UBT-S marine stereo

It's great to get away from hustle and bustle out on the water, but cranking up the tunes from time to time can be fun, too. Although not an easy name to remember, the oddly monikered AQ-MP-5UBT-S checks all the boxes. It's waterproof to IP55, is Bluetooth- and SiriusXM-ready, and includes an internal USB for device charging and a surface USB socket to connect USB flash drives and smartphone or MP3 player cables. The built-in amplifier will power up to eight speakers or a combination of speakers and subwoofers. The AQ-MP-5UBT-S connects wirelessly to a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or MP3 player and allows for wireless audio streaming between Apple and Android devices and the player. View track information, songs, artists, playlists, and genres on the 3-inch color LCD display. Album artwork is available when paired via Bluetooth with Apple devices. $419 | aquaticav.com

What's SUP?

Vida standup paddleboard

We all know about standup paddleboards, or SUPs, but carrying one on a smaller center-console or bowrider can be a challenge. An inflatable board could be the answer if you're strapped for space. Caribe SUP makes a range of inflatable boards, but the one that interests us is the Vida. Tipping the scales at just 19 pounds, the board measures 7-feet 5-inches long by 34 inches wide with a thickness of 6 inches when inflated. The Vida would be great as a work platform when performing boat maintenance on the mothership afloat. Then you can paddle over to the beach when you're done! $799.99 | caribesup.com 

— Published: December 2017

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