Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and with it comes Black Friday the following day. Historically, this is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and it marks the beginning of a busy gift giving season for the holidays. What better way to show your favorite boater how much you care for them than to give them a thoughtful boating-themed present – and even better if you can save a few bucks and take advantage of some of the Black Friday deals. After all, any good gift should be based on what you know about a person, including their interests and passions. As always, it’s the thought that counts. So even if you aren’t looking to break the bank, we’ve rounded up some great ideas here to cover a variety of price points this holiday season.
Gift Certificates: Bass Pro, Cabela’s Or West Marine
Above: Black Friday Sale banner on WestMarine.com homepage. Image credit: West Marine.
Can’t decide? The great thing about a boating gear gift certificate is you don’t have to. And this one works out for everyone. You simply choose the amount, and your recipient chooses their gift. Another nice aspect for those who receive your thoughtful present is that a gift certificate to an outdoor store offers a wide variety of boating products, fishing accessories and marine gear to choose from. The top outdoor stores with boating gear in the country are Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and West Marine. Right now West Marine has a Black Friday sale with products up to 40-50% off.
Visit WestMarine.com for more info on their holidays sales.
Portable Water Desalination System
Above: The QuenchSea Portable Water Desalinator. Photo by QuenchSea.
In the realm of cool “Sharper-Image-style” yet still practical gadgets, lies the nifty QuenchSea water desalination and filtration system. The QuenchSea is a groundbreaking, low cost, portable, manually powered device that instantly turns seawater into drinkable freshwater. The product is lightweight, portable and can produce up to 1.6 gallons per hour, or 26 gallons/day. It features a triple filtration system that removes parasites, pathogens and other harmful contaminants, is easy to operate and includes a QS RO membrane and pre-filter. Talk about the ultimate survival tool for a boat, this is definitely a unique gift for any kind of ocean-going or saltwater boater. Sounds expensive right? The best part is, this handy life-saving emergency device is only $130.
Visit QuenchSea for product and ordering information.
Safety Gear: Personal Locator Beacons
Above: The Garmin inReach Mini 2. Photo by Garmin.
If the person you’re shopping for is a safety nut, consider getting them a Personal Locator Beacon. These products are a more portable and cheaper alternative to EPIRBs which are attached to a boat rather than an individual person. Similar to EPIRBs, PLBs operate on the 406 MHz and 121.5 frequencies and send an SOS via satellites to rescue agencies virtually anywhere on the planet. PLBs are offered with or without a built-in GPS. Those with a built-in GPS can shorten the time to rescue. Features to look for include a long battery life, emergency LED and digital status display, built-in GPS systems and the ability to float.
Garmin’s inReach Mini 2 or the Garmin inReach Explorer+ are both great options, that are lightweight, small and portable with great interfaces and a long battery life. The Explorer+ has the added bonus of a built-in messenger.
View the Garmin inReach Mini 2 on Amazon now
Boat Shoes: Performance To Casual
Above: Classic Sperry boat shoes on the company’s official online Sperry store. Photo by Sperry.
From sailing shoes to yachting attire, boat shoes are made for the yachting and boating lifestyles and can be designed either for specific boating activities such as offshore fishing or competitive sailing, or more for a certain aesthetic and style. Most good boat shoes will feature souls that are designed to not scuff up wood and faux teak decks and are manufactured using durable material that is designed to withstand harsh saltwater conditions and inclement weather. Boat shoes made more for style and looks may not be as durable as those designed to be practical, purpose-built performance boat shoes, such as heavy duty rubber fishing boat boots, sailboat racing boots, rugged deck shoes and durable rubber ankle boots.
Above: Sperry Top-Sider Men’s Billfish Ultralite Boat Shoe. Photo by Sperry.
If you’re looking for the right attire for a leisurely luxury sail on a Nantucket summer day, consider the traditional classics such as Sperry Topsiders, Tommy Hilfiger’s Bowman Boat Shoes, Dubarry Shoes of Scotland, Riomar Shoes, Fratelli Rossetti Yacht Loafers and Sebago Docksides. As the undoubted industry leader in terms of traditional boat shoes, Sperry Shoes have remained immensely popular since the brand’s introduction by Paul Sperry back in 1935, so you can’t go wrong with a pair of topsiders!
Above: XTRATUF fishing boots for sale on the XTRATUF official Amazon store. These boots are known to be rugged heavy duty boat shoes ideal for commercial anglers. Photo by XTRATUF.
If you’re looking for shoes for a competitive sailboat racer, dinghy racer or avid bluewater sailors, you may opt to shop for boat shoes from brands like Gill, Zhik and Musto. Or if you’re buying shoes for a commercial fisherman or tournament angler, you may want to check out brands like XTRATUF, Grundens and HUK. These types of shoes are extremely rugged and waterproof, offering the ultimate in footwear for the rigorous conditions of the deep sea.
Visit the Sperry Shoes online store to browser Sperry Boat Shoes
For The Studious Boat Scholar
Even in a digital age, books still make some of the best gifts. That’s true on the water too, whether your favorite boater prefers to read on a kindle or an old fashioned paperback or hardcover, we have some great lists of best boating books to choose from.
Above: Into The Raging Sea book cover. Photo by Slade/Harper Books via Amazon.
One of my favorite more recent boat-themed books, Into The Raging Sea is an engrossing non-fiction book that tells the story of the sinking of the forsaken El Faro container ship in the Bermuda Triangle. Reminiscent of books like The Perfect Storm, A Night To Remember, Dead Wake, and In The Heart Of The Sea, Rachel Slade’s edge-of-your-seat nail-biter expertly recounts the sinking of the modern 800-foot, 31-ton cargo ship under the command of Captain Michael Davidson in October 2015. A national best seller that won a New York Times Editor’s Choice award, the narrative relies on hundreds of exclusive interviews with family members and maritime experts, as well as the words of the crew members themselves—whose conversations were captured by the ship’s data recorder. As an experienced journalist, Slade peals back the layers of the harrowing tale as she takes a hard look at America’s merchant marine fleet and the cut-throat world of modern shipping. Readers learn the struggle of 33 hardworking American men and women who lost their lives to Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 3 hurricane, when they encountered 40+ foot waves and 100-mile-per-hour winds near the eye of the historic mega storm.
See Into The Raging Sea for sale by Harper Books on Amazon (print or audio book available).
For Real Anglers: Fishing Rods And Gear
Above: The Penn International VI fishing reel. Photo by Penn.
Got bait? Rods or reels getting old? These gifts are specific to the type of fishing your favorite angler is doing and the type of fishing boat they’re running, so make sure you pick the right gear. We have helpful articles about the best fishing rods for certain species and the best fish finders on the market to help you in your search for the perfect holiday gift for any fishing enthusiast.
If you’re looking to get a new reel for a boater you know, check out the Penn International VI fishing reel. Some fishing rods meet standards, and others set them. The Penn International VI is the latest iteration of a long line of Penn’s offshore fishing rods which set the standards others are judged by. Butts and reel seats are aluminum, guides are Fuji Silicon Nitride, roller guides are Aftco, grips are EVA, and the backbone is nearly unbreakable one-piece tubular fiberglass. These rods are designed to stand up to battles with blue marlin, tuna, and other denizens of the deep, and they’re available in line class ratings up to an eye-popping 130 pounds. Bent-butt models are also available.
View the official Penn online store
For Wake Sports Lovers
Above: The Hyperlite Broadcast Wakesurfer Sz (5 ft. 4 in.) wake surfing board. Jump into the wakesurf lifestyle with the Broadcast, a board with a shape that provides great performance for any ability level. Photo by Hyperlite.
From wake surf boards to wake boards and water skis these can be great gifts for the athletic boaters in the family! If you have competitor in the family, look to go with a more professional product like a wakeboard or wake surfing board from Hyperlite, Ronix or Liquid Force. Other leading wake boat board brands include Connelly, Slingshot, Doomswell and Phase 5.
For those just looking to have some sporty fun, a towable inflatable boat tube or a floats can be the way to go, offering fun for the whole family. Overtons has a great selection of towables and tubes for the whole family where you can choose from popular brands like Jobe, O’Brien, Airhead, Sportstuff, Aquaglide, Connelly, RAVE and more. If your boater already has a tube, consider getting them a new heavy duty tow rope, as those can wear out over time.
Visit the Hyperlite Wake Company’s official online store to shop for wake boards
Boat Clothes: Attire For The Water
Above: An O’Brien Men’s Traditional Neoprene Life Jacket with eco-conscious BioLite construction. Photo by O’Brien from the official O’Brien online store.
Don’t forget about looking good while playing on the water. As fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg once said, “Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.” Helping find your loved one’s unique boat fashion style could be a great gift this season – and the fall/winter boating season allow for even more fashion options from jackets and pants to some stylish but functional foul weather gear.
Above: Helly Hansen’s Seven J waterproof, windproof and breathable rain jacket with hood. Photo by Helly Hansen.
Great waterproof clothing can include the practical wet suits to help keep your wake surfers warm in cooler water, or easy throw-on nylon tank tops and water trunks. O-Brien has some great boat outfits to choose from, while other boating clothing brands include names like O’Brien, Helly Hansen, Gill, Zhik, Nautica, Henri Lloyd.
Visit the official Helly Hansen online store for more
Protect The Eyes: Sunglasses & Shades
Being on the water can be tough on the eyes. That’s why we have compiled some helpful articles that round up some of the best boating sunglasses on the market, to help shield your valuable peepers from those harmful ultra-violet rays (UV rays). Top boating sunglass brands include names like: Costa, Waterhaul, Oakley, etc…
Above: Waterhaul Sunglasses are made from recycled fish netting and plastic captured from the sea. Photo by Waterhaul.
One of our favorites is Waterhaul’s Fitzroy Slate sunglasses. Italian engineered and hand-finished these rectangular unisex frames suit a broad range of face shape and are made from 100% recycled polypropylene. The matte slate grey finish that alludes to the materials origins as ocean plastic, meaning 0% of the plastic is “virgin plastics” thus helping to reduce plastic waste in our oceans. The frames have ultra-durable five barrel hinges and are covered by Waterhaul’s recycle and replace lifetime guarantee.
Visit Waterhaul for more product and ordering information
Baby-On-Board: Marine Grade Child Seats
SearocK is a brand that “manufactures the only marine-grade baby seat for boats and homes”. The company says it’s baby seat is, “designed to keep your child happy while on the water” and promises their product will withstand the harsh conditions of saltwater and foul weather. “Built to last for generations of kids and grandkids,” this child’s seat is easily transferrable to your dock and home too, providing several seats in one.
The SearocK Baby Seat is crafted to hang under any sturdy boat top including fiberglass T-tops, Bimini top frames, rocket launchers, tuna towers and more. The system uses a 4-point harness that attachs above the seat and an additional stabilizer below the seat. It is durable, versatile, safe and portable, making it ideal for trailerable family boats.
Visit SearocK for product and ordering information
Water Toys Galore
Most recreational boaters are on the water to enjoy themselves, so the more water toys onboard the better. Stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) have been all the rage for the past decade and make great gift ideas for boat owners as the perfect boating accessories. Other small vessels and accessories that can fit on trailerable boats or pocket yachts and day boats include kayaks, floating inflatable docks, water mats, sea scooters/water scooters, diver propulsion vehicles (DPV), SeaDoos/Jet Skis (PWCs), foils, electric surfboards (Fliteboards, JetSurfs, Waydoo Flyers), boogie boards, etc. The list goes on here, so choose your budget and explore the options!
How About A Whole New Boat?
Above: Boat Trader can help you find the perfect boat for any boater – such as this Lowe duck hunting boat. Photo by Lowe boats.
If you want to go big this holiday season – how about a brand new boat! Can’t get much better than that. Whether you’re buying a boat for a seasoned boat owner or a first time boater, we have articles that provide some great tips on what models, brands and makes to shop for, including the best starter boats for fishing, the best duck hunting boats money can buy, the best wake boats of 2022, just to name a few. As America’s largest boating marketplace, there’s no better place to find the perfect type of boat for whoever you have in mind.
Black Friday Name Origin – Did You Know?
According to Dictionary.com, “In the 1950s, factory managers first started referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving as Black Friday because so many of their workers decided to falsely call in suck, thus extending the holiday season. About 10 years later, Black Friday was used by Philadelphia traffic cops to describe the day after Thanksgiving because they had to work 12-hour shifts in terrible traffic. Visitors flocked to the city to start their holiday shopping and, sometimes this popular shopping day coincided with the annual Army–Navy football game. The term caught on among shoppers and merchants in Philadelphia, and from there it took off nationwide.”