Holiday Gift Guide 2015

Find the best gifts for boaters this holiday season.

November 12, 2015
Bass Pro Shops Big Bobber Floating Cooler
The boater on your list will be the coolest person at the cove with the Bass Pro Shops The Big Bobber floating cooler. It keeps 12 cans ice cold for hours while fitting right in out on the water with its bright red-and-white bobber design. It’s made of high-impact polypropylene with UV stabilizers. A handle flips out of the top for easy carrying. Dimensions: 14-by-14 by 153/4 inches. $29.99;
Bass Pro Shops
Columbia PFG Boatdrainer II Deck Shoes
What boater wouldn’t love a new pair of deck shoes? Boatdrainers from Columbia offer Omni-Grip rubber soles for traction and draining ports to shed water. They’re also blood-and-guts stain resistant. A Techlite insole offers extra support and cushioning, while the Nubuck leather and mesh upper offers style and durability. $100;
Columbia Sportswear Company
Hoven Argonaut Floating Sunglasses
This is a gift that will be tough to lose overboard. Hoven’s Argonaut sunglasses feature an exclusive temple design that wraps completely around your head. Not only does this keep them secure on your face, flotation in the back keeps them afloat should they go over the side. A magnetic connector between the lenses lets you easily put the glasses on or take them off. Available in a wide range of lens colors. $139.99;
Hoven Vision
Leatherman Tread
Leatherman tools are invalu­​able for boaters. Now the functionality comes in the form of a handy bracelet with rugged style. Looking like a high-end watchband, this stainless-steel multitool performs dozens of functions. The boater on your list will really use this gift — and will be amongst the first to own what’s sure to become an “old favorite.” $165 (stainless steel), $220 (black anodized);
Mustang Elite Inflatable Life Vest
A new Mustang Elite inflatable vest might be the gift of life for the boater on your list. Available in gray or black, it features Mustang’s 3-D chassis to reduce drag and stay put at high speeds. This lightweight vest has an automatic hydrostatic inflation system. With 28 pounds of buoyancy, the vest is bright fluorescent yellow-green when inflated. $204.88;
Mustang Survival
Icom M-25 Handheld VHF Radio
A handheld VHF helps ensure commun­ication, even if the boat loses all electrical power. So nothing makes a better gift than Icom’s new M-25 handheld VHF. It’s waterproof, floats, and has an automatic “Float ‘n Flash” red flashing LED that helps you locate the radio if it goes in the drink. Weighing just 7.8 ounces, it features a speaker and large LED display. $136.95;
Icom America
Polk Ultramarine Audio System
If the boater on your gift list is an audiophile, he will like the Polk PA4A Ultramarine audio system from ASA Electronics that allows for control via a free app on a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device. The 200-watt PA4A also includes a compact, stylish control/display for the helm in case you forget your smartphone. The unit is SiriusXM ready and includes a NOAA weather band. $579.99;
Polk Marine
Tucket Giller Boat Shoe
This lightweight boat shoe features 24 “gills” on the sides and outsole that funnel water out of the shoe. The slip-resistant sole is nonmarking so it won’t scuff your decks. The made-in-the-USA shoes come in five different colors. $60;
Bill Doster
Gage Midway Softshell Kryptek Rain Jacket
Keep the boater on your list warm and dry with a Gage Midway Softshell Kryptek rain jacket. Available in two Kryptek camo colors — brown and black — each jacket features a zippered front and adjustable Halo hood system. The water-resistant fabric offers four-way stretch to keep you comfortable. Zipper side pockets and a front Napoleon pocket help keep your hands warm. Available in men’s sizes XS to 5XL. Starting at $103.99;
Okuma Nomad Camera Stick
POV video cameras are the rage, and camera sticks let you get some great shots aboard the boat and even under water. That makes the Okuma Nomad camera stick the best gift ever for boaters. The 6-foot-3-inch pole is lightweight fiberglass with an anodized aluminum screw-in connector for the camera. It features nonslip grips and a wrist leash for security. A gimbal butt cap keeps it locked in a rod holder. $89.99;
Okuma Fishing Tackle
Quick Cleat Mooring Device
Here’s a handy item for your boater. The Quick Cleat is a low-profile, cam-action device that won’t stub toes like a traditional cleat and allows novice boaters to secure your line while you complete docking maneuvers. Available in two sizes to fit up to 3/8- or ½-inch-diameter lines and in several material and finish color choices. $25.95 to $49.95;
Bill Doster
Star brite Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment
Give the boater on your list peace of mind. Ethanol-blend gasoline can wreak havoc on boat engines, and the fuel in boats stored for any period of a month or more needs to be stabilized. For these reasons, boaters with gasoline engines should use a stabilizer like Star brite Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment. $18.74 (16 ounces), $26.99 (32 ounces);
Bill Doster
ArmourLite Isobrite Valor Series ISO100
The boater who receives this watch as a gift will know it’s time to say, “Thanks!” Rugged-looking, it’s rated water-resistant up to 200 meters and its dial is up to four times brighter than standard tritium displays. Includes a polycarbonate case and silicone wristband. Comes in a box. $499;
Bill Doster
Urban Operators TI Bonefish
There’s nothing fishy about this 7-in-1 multitool. It is made from titanium, and it includes both flat and Phillips screwdrivers, a pry bar, bottle opener, box opener and an earbuds cord wrap. It comes packaged in a felt pouch and is also available in anodized yellow, blue, pink or purple, as well as the nonanodized titanium shown. A great item for anglers and boaters who need another tool in the arsenal. $34.95;
Jon Whittle
FLIR Ocean Scout Handheld Thermal Imager
Giving the boater on your list a FLIR Ocean Scout Handheld Imager will help keep him safe while boating at night. The high-resolution thermal cameras let you see boats, buoys and other hazards in the dark, and the rechargeable scopes can spot a swimmer at 600 yards. There are two models: the 240 (240×180 resolution) and 320 (320×240). $1,999 and $2,999 (respectively);
FLIR Systems
Big Kahuna Portable Shower
Not every boat has a built-in shower, but Big Kahuna portable showers solve that problem. Available in 4.7-, 8- and 13-gallon models, these water dispensers plug into a 12-volt marine receptacle and have a coil hose with shower nozzle that lets you rinse off the salt or freshen up after a long day on the boat. They are the perfect gift for boaters who like to stay clean. $129.99 (4.7-gallon model);
Big Kahuna Portable Showers
Sirius Signal SOS C-1001 Distress Light
Give boaters the gift of enhanced safety with this alternative to pyrotechnic flares. There’s no slag or flame, and it complies with all U.S. Coast Guard requirements for “Night Visual Distress Signals” as detailed in 46 CFR 161.013. Battery-operated and buoyant, the Sirius Signal SOS C-1001 Distress Light is visible for up to 10 nautical miles. Comes with an orange signal flag for daytime use. $100;
Bill Doster
Shurhold Rope and Cord Brush
This gift is as unique as it is functional. The Shurhold rope and cord brush keeps boaters’ dock lines and shore power cords shipshape clean. It is the perfect thing to clean ½- to 1-inch-diameter rope. Simple to use and easy to store, the flexible rope and cord brush is ideal for use on twisted and braided lines and rope. Try it on bow rails and hoses too. It even floats; a perfect stocking stuffer. $14.98;
Bill Doster
Aquatic AV AQ-MP-5UBT Marine Stereo
Here’s a sturdy marine-grade, waterproof stereo with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Stream music from your smartphone or attach your MP3 player to enjoy quality tunes on board. Features a 3-inch color LCD display. The USB port charges your plugged-in device. $399;
Aquatic AV
Weego Battery Charger Bundle
The Weego Jump Starter Battery+ is a great tool to keep on board for charging dead cellphones and tablets, and it even has enough juice to start your boat’s engine should the battery die. The holiday bundle includes a Weego battery pack, ideal for charging smartphones. $129.99;
Jon Whittle
Fusion Signature Series Marine Speakers
Bumping the sounds is as much a part of boating today as bathing suits and water sports. So give the boater on your list the gift of music with Fusion 6.5-inch Signature Series marine speakers. Designed for harsh marine environments, these aggressively styled 230-watt coaxial speakers feature a silk-dome tweeter and large voice coil. Diffused LED lighting (blue or white) sets the mood while you crank up the tunes on board. $349.99 per pair;
BumFloat A Seat for Your Bum
Experienced boaters know the trick of using a life jacket as a floating seat. BumFloat brings chilling out while anchored to a new level. The patented design is comfortable, floats and allows a complete range of motion in the water. Available in standard blue and optional camo, or blue or pink camo. $50, $60 (camo);
Buddy Pouch Magnetic Wallet
Splash! Whether dockside or at “the sandbar,” it’s always distressing to lose your cash, keys or whatever in the water. But the magnetic Buddy Pouch provides a belt-free, chafe-free way to keep your items secure. It protects with water-resistant construction. If your boater’s swimsuit or attire has a waistband, he can use the Buddy Pouch. $22.88;
Jon Whittle
Anchor Nutrition Bar
Preventing seasickness never tasted so good. The Anchor Nutrition Bar is a tasty treat that uses natural ingredients to ward off nausea caused by motion sickness. It combines protein, ginger and several vitamins into a tasty bar that takes effect 15 minutes after eating and reportedly lasts three hours. $11.99 for pack of three;
Jon Whittle
Stormy Kromer Cap
Made in the rugged Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Stormy Kromer hats signify true outdoorsman status. They keep your head warm in frigid temperatures, and the pull-down earflaps help protect you from the elements. $39.99 for the Original Cap;
Jon Whittle
AO 24-Pack Carbon Cooler
Gift the gift of chilled drinks and fresh snacks with this 17-by-10-by-12-inch soft cooler. It comes with a detachable carrying strap and is said to have twice the insulation of other coolers — it’s rated to hold ice for 24 hours at 120 degrees F. Includes a leakproof ­liner and side pocket for dry storage. $89.95;
Jon Whittle
Hobie i11S Inflatable Kayak
The i11S is an inflatable kayak featuring Hobie’s MirageDrive ­technology and a pedal-driven propulsion and steering system. The kayak hull is made from rugged PVC and is easily storable when deflated. $1,999;
Hobie Cat
Taco GS-170 Grand Slam Outrigger Kit
If the boater on your holiday shopping list likes to fish offshore, Taco Marine’s GS-170 Grand Slam outrigger kit is sure to please, giving him the trolling spread he needs for success. The kit includes everything a boating angler will need, including a pair of 15-foot aluminum telescoping poles, adjustable pivoting bases and rigging. $999.99;
Taco Marine
Mighty Mug Go
This is the perfect coffee thermos for boaters. Set it on a counter and try to tip it over; you can’t. When you’re ready to drink, lift it vertically and the suction on the bottom releases, no problem. The 16-ounce Go should take care of your ­caffeine fix. $19.99;
Mighty Mug
C.E. Smith Transom Rod Holder
You can never have too much money or too many rod holders. That’s what most fishermen believe, so the C.E. Smith investment-cast, polished stainless-steel rod holder makes the perfect gift for the boating angler in your family. It through-bolts to the transom to serve as the perfect holder for trolling, drifting or just plain stowage. $149.99; ­­
Jim Hendricks
Spot Gen 3 Satellite Messenger
SPOT GEN3 Satellite Messenger
FREE! (for a limited time) Give the gifts of peace of mind and enhanced safety. SPOT GEN3 lets family and friends know you’re okay or sends emergency responders your GPS location, all at the push of a button. Send predefined texts and emails. Select tracking intervals from 2.5 to 60 minutes. Long battery life plus plug-in power option. Free with rebate for a limited time MSRP $149.99;
Dot Dot Dash Hook and Rigging Bracelet
This Hook and Rigging Bracelet from Dot Dot Dash is handmade using Boat rigging components for its unique ant-slip mechanism. The Marine grade stainless steel makes for a strong and rugged look and feel. The bracelets are Customizable and fit any wrist size. You can choose from 14 European Leather colors and 6 Wired Hook colors including 9ct Gold and Sterling silver . £25 ( about $36 US)

Being boaters ourselves, we know that selecting gifts for boaters can prove frustrating. There are subtle, but significant, differences between products that might look the same to the uninitiated. Yes, we boaters are a picky lot.

This collection of gifts is designed to minimize post-holiday returns or an ignominious gift death at the bottom of a dock box. We have used many of these gifts ourselves. Those we haven’t used have been inspected and approved by us. You can count on our gift guide.



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