For many years I wrote for Nor’Westing Magazine. When writing a column called Tips and Tales Afloat, every year at the holidays I offered gift ideas for boat lovers. I decided to do that for us.
Nautical Holiday Gift Ideas
Emergency dinghy bag (Ditch bag)
Why not put together a custom ditch bag for your boat or a friends? Consider an air horn, battery operated running lights, and flares, a hand-held VHF and, if you cruise a lot, a portable EPIRB (EPIRBs, Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon). These ideas are just basics, Here is a link to an article with many more ideas you could include in a ditch bag. https://www.boatingmag.com/photos/ditch-bag-essentials
Northwest Women in Boating Embroidered Burgee or Hat
Here is a link to a gal who has our logo and can do custom embroidery. I have a burgee that is red and very attractive. https://nwwb.wordpress.com/logo-embroidery-resource/
A flexible, clear thin plastic cutting surface
They can be rolled up or stored flat taking up no room but greatly expanding limited cutting surfaces in galleys or on deck. You can find them at supermarkets or cooking shops.
A microwave rice cooker
An eight-cup plastic bowl with a steamer lid. You’ll use the microwave for more than leftovers and won’t steam up the boat boiling things. Perfect for speedy rice, no soak beans (20 minutes from hard beans to useable), artichokes (rinse off and cook 15 minutes with no water). Add a good microwave cookbook to expand creative use of this speedy but often under-used appliance.
Fewer amps, less time and amazing versatility in cooking: An Instant Pot
There is a 3qt. size re. space, but I live aboard on a 42’ with a small galley and couldn’t live without my 6 qt. I do most cooking in it these days. There are some great Black Friday deals coming up at Walmart, Kohls, Amazon et. al.
Custom made T shirts or sweat shirts
It’s not complicated to surprise someone with a custom shirt with their boat name, a nautical design or even a picture of their boat! If you are a late gift buyer, I’ve used the Ram Copy Center on University Way and 42nd. They have white T shirts available, if you bring your own, for best quality buy white shirts and make sure the material is 50% cotton and 50% polyester. Wash and dry them to pre shrink. They will take your picture or a zip drive with it and make a copy of it onto special transfer paper. You will then trim the edges close to the design and show them where you want it on the shirt. They will lay the shirt on a transfer machine and transfer design to shirt. If you have time, there are many online companies that will make custom shirts, hats, etc.
Welcome Aboard Notices
Another gift idea came from a neighbor who has a bristol Grand Banks down the dock. He had his son design him an attractive sheet of instructions to be given to all onboard guests. It welcomes them and instructs them where life vests are stowed, garbage locations (nothing overboard) and head instructions (nothing but paper and how to flush). It has a nautical design in the background. He makes copies of the sheet and keeps them onboard. A sheet could be customized for your boats procedures. Create your own or use a large copy centers like Staples. Their desktop publishing personnel could quickly put it together attractively, even adding some nautical clip art.
Add tradition, festivity and color to your boat or a friends bot this year with a complete set of signal flags, an organization burgee, sports team flags or even an attractive wind sock.
Navigation lovers, history buffs and kids
Consider the book: Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel.
For a history buff Avalon Hill puts out a computer game called Wooden Ships and Iron Men involving battles with square rigged ships. You could combine that with one of the great books of the Patrick O’Brian series chronicling adventures aboard square-rigged sailing ships in the Napoleonic era.
Introduce little ones to water birds with a colorful, plush Puffin puppet, combined with a book about Puffins called Nights of the Pufflings by McMillan.
Foss Tug Calendar
Every year, Foss puts together a beautiful calendar with original art prints by local artists of Foss tugs. www.foss.com