Gift-giving is an art, and not everyone is good at it! So when it comes time to think of something to give a good friend or family member who just leaped off the dock and bought a new boat, a little thought is required.
The spirit behind a boat-warming gift is that you are happy that your friend or family member has joined the fraternity of boat owners and you want to acknowledge his or her ownership with something that will be useful to them as they begin to operate their new boat.
It might be helpful to first think about gifts you shouldn’t give:
- Anything mechanical, electronic or operational. Unless the new boat owner has specifically said “Boy, I wish I had one of those …” you should refrain from buying them something that helps make the boat work.
- Anything that has to do with cleaning, maintenance or upkeep. You know, and the new boat owner will soon know, that owning a boat often means spending a lot of time working at keeping the vessel ship-shape. Giving a new boater a set of scrubbing brushes, fancy brightwork polishes or sure-fire mold remover is, while well-intentioned, a reminder that there’s a lot of hard work ahead, which is somewhat contrary to the spirit of “Hey! You’ve got a new boat! What fun you’re about to have.”
- Anything really personal, like clothes, hats or shoes. Again, unless specifically requested, these types of gifts suggest the new owner doesn’t know how to dress themselves.
- Gag gifts. The new owner may have a great sense of humor, but these types of gifts (Captain’s hats, singing bass plaques, pillows embossed with funny sayings) tend to backfire.
The best gifts are things the recipient would never think of to buy himself, but are both useful and classy. Here are some suggested gift ideas that any boat captain would appreciate and treasure.
A good set of binocs would be welcome on any boat, and even if the owner already owns a pair, having extras is a good thing.
These USCAMEL 10×50 Marine Binoculars are waterproof, fogproof and the O-ring construction means they’ll float if accidentally dropped into the drink. This pair has a built-in rangefinder and illuminated compass and have a battery-operated night vision capability for low-light conditions. About $120 at Amazon.
PERSONALIZED POCKET COMPASS
Who needs an old-fashioned magnetic compass? Everything is electronic GPS these days, right?
Well yes, but this beautiful heavy-duty brass compass can be engraved with one of six pertinent quotations, or just personalized with name and date of gift. It’s two-inches in diameter and will work even if the power goes out…your captain will always know whenceforth is True North.
This compass from Aurelie & George is priced around $40, available from Amazon.
MARINE SMART WATCH
Garmin introduced its quatix smartwatch back in 2013, a device that not only tells time, but connects wirelessly to a Garmin autopilot system on the boat’s helm. The original concept behind the quatix was to use it to actually steer the boat from one’s watch, and as an emergency cut-off switch, so if the owner fell in the water, he could still control his boat from the watch.
We’re now up to quatix 6, which will control some Bluetooth stereos, keep track of the wearer’s heart rate, provide sailing and racing advice and much more. It comes in regular and stainless steel versions, with swap-out watch straps in a variety of colors.
The newest Garmin Quatix 6 is priced at $699, from Amazon.
If your giftee is an avid fisherman, as many are, both Garmin and Hummingbird make excellent devices to help them find more fish underwater.
The Garmin Striker 4 offers Clear Vu Scanning Sonar, a waypoint map, Chirp Sonar with a continuous sweep of frequencies and a built-in flasher. It’s easy to install and use. Priced at around $110, from Amazon
The Hummingbird.SmartCast 3.9-inch fishfinder has a four-level grayscale display with 160 x 132 pixels of resolution, 100-foot depth and 100-foot operating range, digital depth readout with backlight for night fishing and a rugged carrying case. Pierced from around $145 at Amazon.
OK, it’s not really a Bible…it’s the Big Book of Piloting and Seamanship. Now in its 68th printing, this 900-plus page compendium of how-to-boat information. Filled with photos and diagrams, the text will help boaters at all skill levels understand maritime rules, safety tips, boat maintenance, weather, tides and currents and so much more. If it’s not in Chapman’s, it’s not important! The hardcover edition is $49 at Amazon.
Of course, the most practical gift you can give a new boater is a gift card for service, maintenance or anything else from the Ship’s Store. Stop by Fay’s Boat Yard service department and we’ll help create a gift card in any amount that your new boater will be sure to appreciate!