15 Great Boating Gifts

Searching for something to give a boater this holiday season? Check out this selection of great gift ideas.

1. Searock Baby Swing

Here’s a clever product that we saw at the Newport Boat Show last August. Called the Searock, it’s a baby seat/swing designed to be suspended from the frame of a T-top or Bimini. Made of sturdy, easy-to-clean, injection-molded plastic, the Searock features a removable tray, safety seat straps, padded seat and back (with marlin motif, no less) and adjustable 4-point harness for easy installation. It even comes with a rod holder! Ideal for the boating baby in your crew, the Searock is suitable for children from 6 to 36 months. Price is $120.

2. Smart Boating DVD Set

Smart Boating is a comprehensive 4-DVD box set that offers recreational boaters professional-level training in boat operation, navigation and safety procedures. Host Capt. Steve Larivee walks the viewer through the fundamentals of boating (fresh- and saltwater), including rules of the road, navigation, boat handling, docking procedures, safety and much more. And even though Smart Boating is aimed at novices, even experienced boaters can glean useful information from the program. The set is compatible with PC or Mac, and sells for $79.95—a bargain for the boatload of information it contains.

3. V-Lock Mounting System

The V-Lock is a strong, secure, low-profile mounting system that can hold just about any accessory you might need on a boat. Made of marine-grade aluminum, the V-lock consists of a receptacle, or base, that mounts on a flat surface with 4 screws or bolts and a separate locking insert plate that can be adapted to hold most boating accessories, including electronics, grills, drink holders, rod holders, bait trays, floodlights, antennas and more. A V-Lock set (base and insert) sells for $48. Additional inserts are $15, and separate bases sell for $35 each.

  • Order direct through V-Lock.

V-Lock Video


4. “Dory Story”

Written by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by David Biedrzycki, “Dory Story” tells the story of a young boy who sets off in a wooden dory from an undisclosed Northeast beach to explore the ocean (against the wishes of his parents, of course) and gets more than he bargained for. But the book is more than a tale of youthful independence and adventure; it also teaches young readers about the marine world and its unsentimental, sometimes brutal web of life. No anthropomorphizing here. The story is entertaining and educational, and the illustrations by Biedrzycki are beautiful and display a careful study of Northeast ocean creatures (not to mention wooden dories). Price is $17.

5. “The Lighthouses of Maine”

Jeremy D’Entremont, one of New England’s foremost maritime historians, continues his definitive series about the storms, shipwrecks, and heroic lighthouse keepers of the Maine coast. “The Lighthouses of Maine” is the fourth book in D’Entremont’s “Lighthouse Treasury” series, following volumes on Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. More than 60 lights are detailed here, from those at the New Hampshire border all the way to West Quoddy Light, which, despite its name, is the easternmost light in the U.S. Each chapter features a treasury of historic photos and all the stories of the keepers, the storms they battled, and the lives they helped to save. The book sells for $14.95.

6. “The Fish House Door”

Set on an island off the coast of Maine, The Fish House Door (written by Robert Baldwin and illustrated by Astrid Sheckels) is a story about the value of tradition and history, as well as the relationship between a father and son. Shawn comes from a long line of island lobstermen. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather have all hauled traps, painted buoys and cleaned their brushes on the door of the same fish house for decades. To Shawn, the door is just a weathered old piece of wood with broken hinges—until an art dealer comes to visit and gives Shawn a new perspective on the old door and a fresh look at the people and traditions that have shaped his past and will chart his future. Price is $16.95.

7. ZipVac Portable Vacuum Sealer

Fishermen and boaters are sure to love the ZipVac, a handy, portable system that removes the air from sealed plastic bags to keep fish tasting their best and protect valuable electronics from exposure to air and moisture. Simply place your fish fillets or other items in the special ZipVac bags, close the bag and apply the portable pump (both a rechargeable battery-powered pump and a manual pump are available) to remove the air. A basic ZipVac system with rechargeable pump and 5 bags sells for $35. Additional bags are available for $10 per dozen gallon bags, or $20 per 20 large-fillet bags. Pint-size bags are also available.

8. Argonauta Fish Bracelet

Kim Catalano is a former commercial fisherman based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, who started designing jewelry 12 years ago on a part-time basis. Three years later she left the fishing industry and opened Argonauta Jewelry Designs in Orleans. The company offers numerous designs, but the classic Fish Bracelet really caught our eye. It sells for $44 and can be ordered direct.

9. eZee Bikes Quando

eZee Bikes is a Epping, New Hampshire-based company that sells a full line of electric-assist portable bikes. Boaters will be most interested in the Quando, a folding model that weighs 48 pounds and has a top speed of 15 mph. Part moped, part bike, the Quando’s rechargeable battery powers a brushless servo motor with a peak 500 watts at a continuous rating of 250 watts. The frame, handlebars, seat post, chainwheel, crank and guard are all made of aluminum alloy, while the chain is made of a corrosion-resistant metal. Folded dimensions are 36 L by 17 W by 30 H. Other features include stainless-steel brakes (Tektro V-brakes front; Shimano Roller brakes rear), a carrying rack, and a brake lever with electric cut off. Price is $1,995.

eZee Bike Video


10. Fish in the Garden

Tyson Weiss is a talented artist and landscape designer who creates beautiful ceramic and stainless-steel fish that can be used to decorate gardens, patios and glades (as well as indoor spaces). He offers a variety of colorful designs, including striped bass, trout, salmon and koi, all handcrafted in his Falmouth, Maine, studio. The trio of striped bass shown here sells for $311 and comes with garden rods and interior bases. Weiss also offers some great discounts on several of his designs; check out the site for details.

11. Down East Wooden Boat Models

Anyone who loves wooden boats will marvel at the work of Don Carter, an artist who specializes in building meticulous models of well-known wooden vessels, right down to the miniature planks, brass fittings, ropes, pulleys and stays. His pieces are museum-quality, and include the schooner Bluenose, Hemingway’s Pilar, the Crosby Catboat, Joshua Slocum’s Spray, the Grand Banks Rowing Dory, the Benjamin Latham, the Friendship Sloop and the Booth Bay lobster boat. As you would imagine, these exquisitely crafted works of art take months to complete, and as such they are not cheap. The models range in price from $1,200 to $20,000.

12. Airis Inflatable Kayak

The new Airis kayak from Walker Bay is a neat portable kayak that’s ideal for keeping onboard your boat or in a car or truck. Made of a 7-layer, polymer-coated, puncture-resistant fabric, the Airis can be inflated to more than 6.5 psi to create a very rigid, buoyant hull. The Aris weighs just 15 pounds, and comes with a mesh backpack/carrying case with adjustable shoulder straps, as well as a paddle and a manual air pump that inflates the kayak in about 7 minutes. In terms of design, the Airis features a bow keel and a rear skeg for straight tracking, and its wide hull makes the kayak easy to enter and exit from the water, dock or boat. Price is $999. Other key features include:

  1. adjustable backrest
  2. splash guard rail
  3. molded carrying handles
  4. cockpit drain valves

13. Playmobile Boating Family

A friend of mine recently gave this trailerboat set to my daughter for her third birthday, and she loves it. In fact, her older sister and brother also love it, leading to no shortage of familial strife. Either someone at Playmobile is a big fan of boating or the long arm of the boating industry is at work here. In any case, the set (called Family Van with Trailer) does strike a chord with young boaters. Sure, the tiny sandals, beach toys, lifejackets and picnic basket items are sure to wind up in the vacuum cleaner, but you gotta believe the kids will get some valuable life lessons on how to back the trailer. If only it came with ramp-side hecklers. Retail price is around $38.

14. Standard Horizon Floating VHFs

Standard Horizon has introduced a pair of new handheld VHFs that will float if dropped overboard and even come with a glow-in-the dark gasket and strobe (water-activated on the HX851) so you can find them at night or use them to signal for help. Both the HX751 ($160) and the HX851 ($270) are IPX7-rated for submersion at 3.3 feet for 30 minutes, and feature long-lasting, lithium-ion batteries that deliver 7 hours of operation, rugged die-cast housings, heavy-duty belt clips, 6 watts maximum transmitting power, NOAA weather alert and programmable channel names. Both radios also come with drop recharge cradles for both AC and DC power. The more expensive HX851 incorporates Digital Selective Calling (DSC), position request and position report, volume and squelch indication on display, NMEA output port on cradle for connection to a fixed-mount GPS, a preset key with 10-channel storage and a submersible speaker microphone jack that allows connection of optional accessories.

15. Arrigoni Custom Gift Box

The folks at Arrigoni design have created a unique gift box with an etched picture of a friend’s or loved-one’s boat (you provide the photo) and the name of the boat. The wood box has a rope handle and holds 2 bottles of wine (you provide the wine, too), and makes a great gift for the holidays or any other special occasion. Price is $99, although Arrigoni is offering a holiday sale of 15% off all purchases and free shipping.