Finding The Perfect Sailing Gift
Finding the perfect sailing gifts for sailors is a pretty hard task, especially if you’re not a sailor yourself. One of things Adam and I get asked the most is ‘What can we buy you for the boat!?’
Having very little space and having spent a lot of time trying to sacrifice luxuries makes gift choosing for sailors particularly hard.
We’ve lived on a boat for a year now and we have a pretty good idea of what some of the perfect gifts would be, depending on the type of sailor you’re buying for. We’ve put together a list of some of the most practical sailing gifts for those people who don’t like fuss, some techy sailing gifts for people that love a new toy to play with and some ‘luxury item’ sailing gifts that would be a real treat to receive!
Hopefully there’s a sailing gift in this list for everyone – happy shopping!
Quick Guide To Sailing Gifts
Practical Sailing Gifts For Sailors
We have selected these sailing gifts for their pure usefulness. No one wants to buy someone a length of dyneema or a shackle for their birthday, so these are things we wouldn’t have bought for ourselves but now couldn’t live without! We’ve tried to make sure that some of them look nice too, as receiving a ‘pretty’ gift is always that bit nicer!
Trust us when we say sailors love practical sailing gifts-anything to make life at sea a little easier!
Victorinox Skipper Knife
This knife is an incredible useful sailing gift. Perfect for rope work and splicing, this knife is a ‘cut’ above the rest! We use the marlin spike a lot to get us out of tricky knot situations, and it’s tough and durable (no rust yet!)
Apparently the marlin spike on this knife isn’t as sharp as normal ones, but we’ve actually found it works out knots incredibly well, and it’s probably the most used tool on this knife!
A Small Sailing Gift With An Important Job: A Floating Keychain
If you’re looking for a stocking filler then look no further. These floating key chains are awesome!
Part of the reason sailing is such an expensive hobby is because everything ends up in the sea. Not anymore! These floating key chains are an absolute must have for any boat owner, and we think they’re pretty cute too.
A Quality Dry Bag Rucksack Sailing Gift
Getting a decent dry bag was a game changer for me. After several months of wrapping up my laptop and phone in plastic bags, inside another bag, inside another bag just for good measure, I found this completely waterproof dry bag that doubles up as a rucksack.
I now use it for everything-grocery shopping, taking my laptop to shore for work, I even take it into the cockpit every time we go sailing so that I can store essentials in there when it’s rough, meaning we don’t have to go below as often. I had never seen the rucksack design before but it is SO useful.
We use the Aqua Quest Mariner, but there are a huge variety out there in all sorts of budget ranges. Above are some options that have great reviews. Most come in 10l, 20l and 30l sizes depending on what you’ll use it for (and more importantly a choice of colours!)
Holdpeak 866B Digital Anemometer
This might not look that exciting to the untrained eye, but this funny looking gadget is a lifesaver at sea. If this sailing gift is for someone that goes offshore sailing a lot then it is the perfect present! It gives you accurate wind speed readings as well as temperature and wind chill, and it also provides fast measurement for analysis of critical environment conditions, meaning you’ll see that storm coming a mile off.
Hot Water Bottle Sailing Gift
This was an item I never even thought of having until I did a night passage on someone elses boat and he had one! It’s such a simple thing to have on board that is a life saver when it’s cold. I use it all the time, even in the summer, as the wind can get pretty chilly on a sailboat. They’re also great for soothing muscle aches, as there’s obviously no bath on board a sailboat! The ones with pretty covers make for great sailing gifts. Top tip: Reuse the water inside it once it goes cold to save on water use!
The Boat Cookbook: A Favourite Sailing Gift Of Ours
We use this cookbook so much that it looks like we bought it second hand from a fishmongers. It is FULL of delicious recipes, but more useful than these are the little tips and tricks given throughout the book, such as how to fillet a fish or how to catch a crab. There is also advice on buying ingredients that last and an all important drinks section (not the reason we bought this book-promise!)
Another lovely thing about this book is that it actually looks like a gift. It’s got pretty graphics and interesting pages, and is just really nice to look at! I know that’s not necessarily the makings of a good book, but it’s nice to give a sailing gift that’s actually a little bit pretty!
Cockpit Companion Sailing Gift
We were recommended this handy little flip book when we took our sailing exams, and we are so thankful to our instructor for showing it to us! It might not seem like the most exciting of sailing gifts, but we use our cockpit companion ALL the time (we keep it in our dry bag in the cockpit while we’re sailing).
In it you’ll find all the important bits of sailing information that you probably don’t have to recall on a daily basis but need to know just in case. For example, it lists all your sound signals, the meanings of different flags and of course the all important collision regulations. We wouldn’t sail anywhere without it!
Sailing Headlamp Gift For Sailors
Both of the above are great practical sailing gift options. We got a little obsessed searching for a great headlamp – one of those rabbit holes you go down when you live on a sailboat! Subsequently we did a tonne of research and bought several different types to try, and here is our ultimate review! A decent sailing headlamp is so useful, and something that most sailors would love as a gift, as they’ll use it all the time.
Sailing Buff Gift
I have a little growing collection of these sailing buffs and I think they make the perfect sailing gift – especially for something like a stocking filler or work secret Santa. They come in all shapes and sizes for different purposes, so you can choose what you like.
Personally I get the most use from the thinner ones as we’re usually sailing in warm weather (look for the UV protected ones as above). I use them for keeping the hair out of my face (and the winches!), I keep them round my neck to protect it from the sun, and I even wrap them round my wrists for a bit of extra warmth. They’re so useful.
You can get nice fleecy ones for cold weather sailing too, these would make the perfect sailing gift for anyone that loves going out in all weather.
Ukes Floating Sunglasses Strap
Before Adam I found these we lost so many pairs of sunglasses. It was bad for our eyes, the environment and our bank balances! That’s why these floating sunglasses straps make the perfect sailing gift – plus they come in loads of different fun designs which you can check out here! If you’re after something a little more ‘gift’ like then keep reading!
The days of ugly sunglasses lanyards are gone. Sun Soul Sisters have combined fashion and practicality with these sunglasses chains in unique designs. These make the perfect gifts for women sailors as they’re useful but also special. Something you wouldn’t buy for yourself but would love to receive.
My favourite is the Langkawi shell design pictured above, but they have a range of individual chains for all tastes. The goa rope designs are great for any sailor that’s into their watersports, and for something a little more dressy for sunset cocktails, check out the Gili stone design.
Techy Sailing Gifts For Sailors
Sailing gifts for that tech savvy person in your life.
Adam is obsessed with gadgets, and I have to admit that they do make sailing easier and more fun. Most sailing gadgets aren’t the cheapest, but it is possible to find some budget options!
We’ve included some where we can to help those who are trying to save money, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and pay for quality when it comes to techy sailing gifts!
Go Pro Hero 8
This is VERY high on our sailing gifts wish list (update-we have now bought one, and it’s the best thing EVER! See our review for the full low down). A long time ago we had the newest Go Pro but it got lost. Ever the money saving enthusiasts we bought a cheaper action cam hoping that you just buy the Go Pro name but can find just as good quality elsewhere.
Several cheaper versions down the line and we are still lusting after that old Go Pro. You can’t beat this quality product, and we have given up trying. This would be the ultimate sailing gift for anyone wanting to record their adventures.
A Sailing Watch: The Ultimate Sailing Gift Gadget
Rugged and stylish, these watches are the perfect gift for the tech savvy sailor. The Suunto Elementum has a built in compass and measures weather trends along with a load of other cool stuff. It also tells the time, which is one of the things I always look for in a watch.
Unfortunately sailing watches aren’t cheap, but if you’re looking for something with a bit of a more reasonable price tag then this Timex watch should do the trick. It looks good, and has a built in compass, tide tracker, and digital thermometer.
If the sailor you’re buying for loves the latest techy gadgets then they will love this watch! It’s the perfect thing to play with after you’ve opened all your presents.
Waterproof Speakers: The Ultimate Sailing Gift For Music Lovers
Waterproof and rugged, these JBL Charge 4 portable speakers are actually the perfect sailing gift for anyone that travels or likes life outdoors. This is a speaker you can keep in the cockpit while you’re sailing or take to the beach in the dinghy, and you don’t have to worry about it getting splashed by waves or rolling off the table. You can read our full review of the JBL Charge 4 here, and find out why we absolutely love it!
If you’re after something a little cheaper then we have included these as a very reasonable alternative. These waterproof speakers are the perfect gift for any sailor. This speaker is rugged enough to be taken anywhere and the sound quality is excellent. We use our waterproof speaker to listen to audio books while we’re on longer passages or while we’re relaxing at anchor!
Kick Back And Read Your Kindle
I was really against getting a kindle when I lived on land. I’ve always loved having books and turning pages. But when my best friends bought me a waterproof kindle as a leaving present I knew it was going to be one of the most used items on the boat-and it is!
There is no room on a boat for libraries of books, but all the time in the world to read them. The charge on the Kindle lasts forever and they are tiny. An added bonus is that these ones are waterproof, so you can literally take it anywhere, and you don’t have to worry about those rogue waves sneaking up on you while you’re reading in the cockpit!
Projector And Screen – A Great Tech Gift For Sailors
Our friend bought us this projector for a sailing gift this year and we LOVE it! We don’t actually have a screen, we just use a bedsheet (though a screen would obviously be better). We use it to watch movies outdoors and we’ve had so much fun with it, it’s really added to our sailing experience. I would thoroughly recommend this as a sailing gift!
Luxury Sailing Gifts
My favourite selection of sailing gifts! All those things you dream about having as a sailor but can’t justify buying. Owning a sailboat is expensive enough, without kitting it out with lots of fun toys.
Before we moved onto a sailboat we didn’t think we would need any luxury, but really all you want to do when you have a sailboat is play with lots of fun toys! So treat the sailor you love to one of these real luxury items!
Some of these items Adam and I have already splashed out on (or been gifted), but some of these are still high up on our wish list because we’ve been lucky enough to meet people that have them, and have been dreaming about owning them ourselves ever since.
Audible Membership Sailing Gift For Sailors
Personally, this would be the ultimate sailing gift for me. Sailing isn’t all about huge waves and thunderstorms, there is a lot of down time on a sailboat. Reading is great when your hands are free, but with constant DIY projects, audiobooks are just perfect. Before I met Adam he had never listened to an audiobook, now he’s hooked as much as I am and we listen to them through the speakers while we’re doing anything from cooking to sanding to chilling out with a glass of wine watching the sunset.
We like fiction best (it’s like watching a movie but without needing to have your eyes glued to a screen) but there is also a huge range of non-fiction and kids stories. Sign up for a free trial using this link and you’ll get a free audiobook of your choice. Sign up someone special for only £.7.99 a month and they’ll get a book of their choice every month, plus access to numerous podcasts.
Nomandia Microfibre Towel
These microfibre towels are fun AND practical. They are super lightweight and take up hardly any cupboard space. They dry really quickly and they don’t ‘soak up’ the sand like so many towels do. A sand free sailing boat is a happy sailing boat!
We also love the fun range of designs these come in, they look great as picnic blankets, hung up to create some shade or wrapped around you a bit like a sarong. This is the perfect sailing gift for someone that’s practical but that deserves a little treat too!
Paddle Board/ Kayak: Sailing Gifts For The Energetic Sailor!
The ultimate sailing boat toys! Adam and I lust after one of these to explore in. They’re fun to use, good exercise and a peaceful mode of transport (especially compared to a noisy outboard engine!)
The inflatable kayaks pack up so small that they’re are easy to store on smaller boats, or if you go for a hard paddle board then they fit nicely against the life rails of the boat. Perfect.
Hammock Sailing Gift
I actually just bought this hammockas a sailing gift to myself, because Adam couldn’t take the hints! I love it, and use it all the time in the summer. A hammock is just perfect for sailboat life. If the boats too rolly then lying in a hammock makes it much easier to relax -I’ve even slept in it from time to time! These fabric ones are much more comfortable, and Adam and I can both fit in this one to watch the sunset.
A Cozy Blanket Sailing Gift For Sailors
This one’s a perfect winter gift for any sailboat owner, and the great thing about a warm blanket is that you can never have too many on a sailboat! Adam and I started with just one, but we’ve gradually added to the collection over the years. They’re among my favourite things on board because they’re practical (great for cold winter nights snuggled in front of a movie or summer evenings watching the stars) and they also add interest and colour to drab old boat settees. These would make a great sailing gift.
Foldable Yoga Mat
If the person you’re buying a sailing gift for is into their fitness then you can’t go wrong with these folding yoga mats. With space at a premium on a sailboat, these folding yoga mats are so easy to store just about anywhere, and easy to transport too so you can take them to the beach or hiking.
Unfortunately I’ve found that with regular use in the sun yoga mats don’t last as long as you’d like, so having a few is actually really useful. And I’d choose these folding ones every time!
Corelle Dining Ware To Make The Boat A Home
This sailing gift is especially good for sailors who have just recently bought a boat, as they will most likely be wanting to make it more of a home. Corelle dining ware is not only really pretty, but it’s practically unbreakable. It feels like real china and it’s super lightweight. It’s such a luxury not having to eat from plastic plates, it’s little things like that which make actually living on a boat more comfortable.
I had never heard of it until we moved onto our boat and the previous owners left it to us. They raved about it, having had it for years and years. It is in perfect condition, despite being made from glass. Guests always comment on what a luxury it is to eat from plates that aren’t plastic-though I think they wonder how on Earth we haven’t smashed it all in heavy sea yet-little do they know the plates have flown across the boat several times but are still in perfect condition!
Cobb BBQ: A Sailing Gift For Hungry Sailors!
I’d never seen anything like this until we went to our friends sailboat for dinner. They had the BBQ out-ON THE TEAK! This BBQ is the perfect sailing gift for anyone who spends time on their boat in the summer. It is small and easy to stow away, takes minimal fuel to keep it alight for hours and the best thing of all-the base stays cool to the touch so you can cook on almost any surface. It’s also small enough (just about) to fit into a bag and carry to the beach, so you can escape from the rocking and enjoy your burgers with a new view.
If I haven’t managed to convince you yet that this is the perfect sailing gift then you can check out our review on the one we bought ourselves for Christmas! We’ve used it at least once a week this season and couldn’t be without it!
Books – The Perfect Sailing Gifts
Books make great sailing gifts because they can be useful and exactly the sort of thing you’d never buy for yourself. Books have always been one of my favourite gifts to receive – there’s just something special and beautiful about them. Plus you can make them extra meaningful by writing little messages in them for the person you’re gifting them to! We’ve listed some great options below.
Adam and I read this book cover to cover before we set sail, and it’s one of the best we’ve seen as an all round guide to the cruising lifestyle.
A gripping read about the first ever round the world race, where only one out of nine contestants actually made it.
Sailors need note books for all sorts – I like to keep a written record of everywhere we’ve been and Adam uses a nice notebook as a dedicated radio log.
Funny Sailing Gifts
These are the perfect gifts for a work secret Santa, something to sneak into your Dad’s stocking or to give to the sailor that already has it all. These funny sailing gifts are things every sailor will just get!
I’m Sorry For What I Said While We Were Docking The Boat
This has become an iconic sailing caption and I can totally see why. Tensions are high while docking the boat and it’s when you can witness some of the funniest sailing interactions! Or maybe just funny in hindsight. All captains need a t-shirt like this!
You can never have enough t-shirts and these are perfect gifts for sailing enthusiasts! Most that you’ll find are designed for men, because I guess there’s more men out there that wear silly t-shirts!? But there are also some awesome designs for women that I’ve got my eye on!
Sailing mugs are actually funny and practical gifts. The best thing after a cold day on the water is a warm mug of tea, coffee or hot chocolate (perhaps with a little kick!) Get them a mug that will make them laugh while drink!
Miscellaneous Funny Sailing Gifts
There’s so many great funny sailing gifts out there are above are a few of my favourites. The tote bags come in several different designs and I love them as bags and not just funny gifts!
Sailing Gifts For Babies
Need a baby gift for an avid sailor…check out these cute little sailing gifts for babies! I think any new Mum or Dad that’s into sailing would love some of these baby sailing gifts and they’re a little different to the usual new born presents they’ll probably receive!
Cards And Wrapping For Sailing Gifts
If you’re anything like me, you’ll want the presentation to be perfect. Make your gift a delight to open with these great cards and wrapping paper ideas for your sailing gifts!
My personal favourite is this world map wrapping paper. If I received a present wrapped in this then I would be saving the paper for future craft projects for sure! Plus I think it would look super cute wrapped with some simple cord.
Hopefully this has given you a little sailing gift inspiration. Let us know if you end up buying anything from this list, and what the receiver thought of it! If you found this post useful then please consider sharing it on social media to help us, and follow our adventures for more sailing tips!