Functional and fun gifts for boat owners that they’ll love as much as they love their boat.
Let’s be real; die-hard boaters love spending time on the water more than anything else. That’s why the best way to a boater’s heart is through boating accessories and items with a nautical theme.
If you feel a little stuck, I’m here with some great ideas to help you find the best gifts for your favorite boaters.
I grew up slathering on sunscreen and jumping off the back of speedboats every summer. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents lounged on floaties day after day. Meanwhile, my sister and I dove for fishing lures and lost sunglasses.
We spent late nights peering over the side of the boat as garfish appeared from the depths like monsters from horror films.
At around 11 pm, dad turned the ignition, and we sped back to the dock. My sister and I wrapped ourselves in towels and fell asleep, dreaming of another day to come.
I’ve based this list of boat gift ideas on my personal experience and hours of research on boating blogs.
Whether you’re searching for the best father’s day gifts for boaters or the best Christmas gifts for boaters, this list is sure to have just the thing.
Best of all, you can order most of these gifts online and ship them directly to the recipient’s door.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Short on time? Here are my top three gift ideas for boaters
My Three Top Gifts:
#1 Captain’s Hat
The most crucial boat accessory gift is a captain’s hat.
Okay, maybe this is the third most important thing after life jackets and first aid kits. But you get the point.
Captain’s hats are funny gifts for boat owners with a sense of humor or, on the flip side, for captains who take their leadership role a little too seriously. These captain’s hats are one size fits all.
#2 Boat Guest Book
Guest logs are a great gift idea for boat owners who love welcoming new crew members aboard for parties or excursions, and they’re my favorite Amazon gift for boat owners.
This guest log is hardcover and has lines for a name, date, and short description of the outing. Your favorite boat captain will feel official handing this book to their guests and can look back at all of the happy memories.
#3 STRIKER Fishfinder by Garmin
If the special boater in your life is more dedicated to fish than humans, they will love this fish finder.
Using high-frequency pitches that echo back to the boat, the STRIKER fishfinder maps out marine life so that fishers can see where the fish are biting.
The STRIKER also has GPS and Waypoints for making personal maps of the best fishing spots. Fishfinders are best for lakes and rivers.
It is so compact that kayaker fishers can carry a STRIKER in their vest pocket.
If you have the budget and are looking for boat accessories that will help with deep-sea fishing, check out Garmin’s ECHOMAP Ultra 106sv. High-tech chart plotters are the ultimate luxury gifts for boaters.
Looking for more Garmin products? Check out our list of the best Garmin watches.
#4 Boat Scuff Erasers
Another set of must-have boat accessories is boat scuff erasers. They work like Mr. Clean erasers but are stronger and better at pulling up tough dirt, mildew, and stains on boats.
Scuff erasers are a handy tool that makes great gifts for boat owners who want to spot-clean before heading out. Boat scuff erasers activate with a little bit of water. They don’t have bleach and are safe to use on vinyl, leather, and Gelcoat.
#5 Boat Cover
Once the boat is clean, maybe it’s time to invest in a new boat cover. Covers protect the furnishings and electronics in a boat from direct sunlight and rain.
Vessels without covers are exposed to the elements and age rapidly, lowering their value.
#6 Spare Battery
I listened to a TedTalk recently about a professional fisherman whose boat died and left him stranded in the ocean as a storm rolled in.
No one looks or feels good stranded in a storm. A spare battery to store under the seats is a practical gift for new boat owners and weathered seamen.
It’s crucial to find out what battery their boat uses. The best way of doing this without ruining the surprise is by learning the make, model, and year. Then stop by a boating store and ask for help finding the correct battery.
Who knows, you could save their life in an emergency.
#7 Waterproof Pack
Sea to Summit dry bags make the best birthday gifts for boaters. This 20L dry bag is 420-denier nylon fabric reinforced with thermoplastic polyurethane.
In other words, wildlife photographers can feel confident packing camera equipment on their next kayaking trip.
This bag is known to keep contents dry despite dips in the lake and accidental drops from the boat dock during loading and unloading.
#8 Reef Safe Sunscreen
All boat captains need sunscreen, but whether or not they remember to buy it for themselves is another question. That’s why this sunscreen by Thrive should be on your gift list.
It is reef safe, and the packaging is plant-based to reduce plastics. Reef-safe sunscreens do not contain Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, and other harsh chemicals that contribute to coral bleaching.
Plus, the antioxidants in this sunscreen derive from ingredients grown on Costa Rican farms that work to replenish the soil with its natural nutrients.
#9 Ray–Ban Sunglasses
Sunglasses are excellent gift ideas for boaters.
I find broken sunglasses on river banks and ocean beaches all the time. Just last month, I lost my favorite pair of sunglasses while paddleboarding on the Columbia River.
Gift your favorite boater a new pair of polarized Ray–Ban sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses reduce glare and water reflections so boaters can see through the water’s surface while fishing or anchoring.
#10 Wine Cooler Tote
Items that help to get the party started make excellent gifts for boaters.
With this wine tote, your friends can chill their wine at home or pick up a bottle at the store and chill it in the bag. The seams and insulated lining are leakproof.
No need for a bulky ice chest. This adorable bag has a cross-body strap for secure carrying.
The blue and white stripes with leather details are a classic combo that looks cute on the boat or while picnicking at an open-air concert.
#11 Wine Glass Charms
These nautical wine glass markers are great boat-warming gifts for keeping track of whose glass is whose late into the night.
Offer these as a host gift when you stay at a friend’s lake house or spend an evening on their boat.
I like this set of charms in particular because each glass will have a different color, and there is no need to squint at tiny words or symbols on the charms.
You can create personalized boating gifts by beading your own charms with a jeweler’s wire.
#12 Nautical Whiskey Decanter
If wine isn’t their thing, how about whiskey?
This glass ship-in-a-bottle decanter is the perfect gift and talking point for boat owners who regularly entertain at home. It will add a nautical touch to any study.
#13 Charcuterie Board
Maybe you need a Mother’s day gift that combines her love of boating and entertaining. Charcuterie boards will bump her display game up a notch.
Serving tools tuck into an internal drawer, compact for carrying onto the boat. This set has two ceramic bowls that fit into the corners and hold dipping sauces like olive oil or hummus.
Bamboo is also more sustainable than hardwoods because it grows back quickly, and the water resistance makes the board sure to last for years to come.
#14 Spill Proof Tumbler
Sun tea, anyone? Anything spill-proof makes a great gift for boating enthusiasts—no more worrying about spilling the tea on dad’s precious boat.
When you take the straw out, a spring closure on the underside of the lid automatically seals the straw hole.
The user gets the convenience of a water bottle and the satisfaction of drinking from a reusable straw. I don’t know about you, but I think it feels weird to drink smoothies and coffee from water bottles.
This tumbler is the perfect container for making boat sun tea. Drop a few tea bags into a tumbler full of water, screw the lid on, and set it in a sunny cup holder. After a couple of hours, stick a straw in, and Voilà.
#15 Eucalyptus Oil for Cleaning
Boating and fishing can be messy, and sometimes the best gifts for boaters are practical cleaning supplies.
It’s a little-known secret that eucalyptus oil will help clean sticky messes and fishy residue.
Eucalyptus is a natural essential oil, and will the smell will also help freshen the cabin of a boat after sitting all winter.
Essential oils are great gifts for a new boat owner who wants to remove scents from previous owners.
#16 Fishing Pole Organizer
Alright, this is a gift for anyone with “too many” fishing poles. You will also be helping out their loved ones who are tired of tripping over the fishing equipment.
This fishing pole organizer requires no wall attachments and can easily tuck it into the corner for easy access.
#17 Square Drain Plug Wrench
Looking for a practical gift for someone with a bad memory? This drain plug, wrench, and plug holder is bright orange.
It attaches to their keychain as a reminder and convenient tool for draining and replugging the bilge, so the boat doesn’t sink.
#18 Magic Fisherman Soap
Bar soap always makes for great gift ideas, but this fisherman soap cleans lures of human scents and cleans humans of fish odors.
Fish absolutely love the scent of anise— which is similar to the smell of black licorice. Washing lures with this soap attracts fish by replacing human odors with anise.
Anise soap also makes a great gift for him to use after fishing. The anise fragrance cuts through fishy odors without using bleach or other harsh chemicals.
#19 Floating Key Fob
Alright, this one is for the friends who are bound to drop their keys in the lake. Do some damage control by gifting them a floating key fob.
It comes in 9 different colors with a cute nautical emblem like an anchor or a palm tree.
Turn this into the best floating gift for boaters by personalizing it with the person’s name or a personal message. I might write a silly phrase like “Don’t Lose” or “Keep Swimming.”
#20 Bait & Filet Table
The design of this filet table drains the fish guts directly into the water. It mounts on a fishing rod holder and swivels over the boat’s edge.
Any angler who prepares bait or fish on their boat will be eternally grateful for the easy cleanup and convenience.
#21 Cut Resistant Glove
Let’s keep all of those fingers intact. Pair the filet table with a cut-resistant glove. These gloves come in packs of one, so order two for a set.
#22 Survival Kit & First Aid Kit
When you need it, you need it.
This kit contains the minimum necessities for marine emergencies: a 60-foot throw rope, stainless steel 12-in-1 multi-tool, water-resistant LED strobe light, survival whistle, thermal blankets, and a first aid kit.
The storage bag is the size of a school backpack and can easily slide under a seat.
#23 Life Jackets
While we are on the topic of safety, make sure that the new boat owner in your life has a set of life vests.
Traditional orange emergency life jackets are cheaper, but people are less likely to use them unless it’s a true emergency.
I recommend investing in this sportier, more comfortable set of 4 Stohlquist vests. These are suitable for water sports like stand-up paddleboarding and staying afloat with an afternoon cocktail.
Keep in mind that new boaters with small children need child-sized life vests. Here is a comprehensive Coast Guard-approved video explaining the proper life jacket fit:
#24 Nautical Sundial Compass
Go retro and gift a boating enthusiast this nautical sundial compass. This compass is brass and fully functional–-even though most people will use it as a decoration.
Is the boating enthusiast in your life less retro and more high-tech? Get them a handheld GPS device instead.
#25 Marine Bar Caddy by Docktail
Who’s ready to party? Docktail marine bar caddies are the perfect gifts for boat enthusiasts who like to show off their drink-making skills.
This caddy mounts into standard fishing rod holders and folds flat when not in use.
The caddy has six cup holders and bottle cutouts. It also has a cutting board insert for slicing limes and preparing snacks.
#26 Bungee Dock Lines
Simplify the docking process with a set of 4-foot bungee dock lines with a boat loop on either side.
The bungee is concealed inside the rope and has a tension strength of 2,150 pounds, meaning it is rated to withstand just over 2,000 pounds of force.
To tie up using this dock line, thread the boat loop up through the chalk of the cleat. Then fold the loop over the top of the cleat and secure it under the left and right points of the cleat.
#27 Portable Spotlight
LED spotlights are awesome gifts for boaters who enjoy a relaxing evening cruise.
Growing up, my dad used the boat spotlight to anchor in the dark, avoid underwater tree stumps, and catch the attention of other boaters. My sister and I mostly pointed it into the water and tried to catch minnows.
I particularly like the BUYSIGHT light because it has a 10,000-lumen high beam, an S.O.S. strobe for emergencies, and a flood lamp for eating dinner in the dark. The light is compatible with universal tripods and serves as a battery pack for recharging phones.
#28 Boat Tote Organizer
The boat tote organizer is a popular gift for boaters that will come in handy for the boating enthusiasts in your life.
The tote fits over any gunnel with a maximum width of 2.5 inches; it comes with cup holders, fishing rod holders, predrilled holes for mounting fishfinders and chart plotters, and a magnetic plate for organizing lures.
#29 Custom Classic Life Preserver
This nautical decor is a United States Coast Guard-approved flotation device. Customize it with the boat name for a perfect custom gift for a new boat owner.
If you are looking for a good laugh, customize the text to something funny like “Don’t Let Go” or “Retirement Fund.”
#30 Wine Bottle Gift Pouch
Never show up to a party empty-handed. Gift wrap a bottle of wine in this adorable reusable pouch. The materials are an eco-friendly blend of cotton and jute fibers that add stability.
#31 Personalized Buoy Decor
These cute wooden buoy decorations bring a casual nautical touch to beach and lake houses. Each buoy is handmade with custom longitude, latitude, and house number.
#32 Personalized Anchor Hand Towels
Need a nautical holiday gift idea for your favorite boat captain? Have their boat name embroidered on this set of 100%cottonn hand towels.
#33 “I Love You” Nautical Flag Decor
These oyster shells read “I Love You” in the universal language of nautical flags. Too cute.
This gift is a meaningful piece of art for a desk, dresser, or bookshelf. Gift it as an earring holder or candy dish.
Each shell is hand-picked from Cape Cod Bay and hand painted. The edges have gilded gold rims, and the inside is finished with multiple layers of a top coat.
#33 Sun Hat
This hat is an all-around friend to anyone who spends time in the sun. The cute leather drawstring will keep it from flying away as the wind picks up. It has a 3-inch brim and offers UPF 50+.
No matter how much sunscreen we slather on, sunhats add that extra layer of protection for noses and cheeks. Give this hat to a loved one who always comes home sunburned.
#34 Etched Nautical Stemless Wine Glasses
Nautical-themed etched wine glasses make fun boat gifts for couples tying the not. Stemless wine glasses are less likely to be knocked over in tight quarters.
This set uses dishwasher-safe plastic that looks and feels like glass. Plastic is a safer option for boaters who don’t want to worry about cleaning up broken glass.
#35 Nautical Porthole Clock
Consider some decorative boat accessories if you’re looking for a great gift idea for a new boat owner.
Give your favorite boater this nautical porthole clock for their study, or hang it in a marine-themed bathroom. The clock is brass with a glass window.
#36 Nautical Leather Bracelet
This leather bracelet with anchor and loop closure adds a touch of personality for dinners at the yacht club. It comes wrapped in an adorable gift box, ready for birthdays, valentines day, and anniversaries.
#37 Custom Flag
Custom flags are another fun holiday gift for the family. When I was a kid, my aunt and uncle always had colorful flags flapping in the wind behind their boat.
Let your boat name or family name fly high with this flag that spells out words with nautical symbols.
#38 Portable Folding Boat Chair
Compact folding chairs make a useful birthday gift for a daughter who enjoys reading on the boat.
Instead of laying out flat on a beach towel, she can sit in the cushioned comfort of this waterproof folding chair.
#39 Clippy Battery Fan
Boating in the heat of summer is fun when you are in the water or speeding along. Once anchored, these clip-on battery-powered fans will keep the boat deck cool.
There are no cables, and the fan can hang from a pole overhead.
#40 Monogrammed Yeti Tumbler
Help your boat lover seas the day with a to-go coffee mug. Each mug comes with a laser etched helm design and personalized name.
These monogrammed Yeti tumblers are the perfect gift for a captain or first mate.
Yeti mugs have insulated walls for hot or cold drinks so that the crew can drink their coffee or rum and coke on the go. This mug will fit in a cupholder when the favorite fisher in your life needs two hands to reel in a big one.
#41 Rothy’s Shoes
A good pair of shoes can make a perfect gift for a boater.
Rothy’s are 100% machine washable and made from recycled plastic water bottles. How’s that for a party trick?
These aren’t your average boating shoes or water shoes. Your sweetie can look stylish and feel comfortable while networking on the yacht deck.
Then they can toss their Rothy’s in the washing machine for a “straight out of the box” look again and again.
#42 Inflatable Solar Lamp
Planning a romantic anniversary on the water? String these color-changing solar lamps to the side of the boat or let them float as you skinny dip and sip wine.
Afterward, deflate the lamps, slip them into the glove compartment, or set them in the dash to recharge when the sun comes up.
#43 Biodegradable Boat Soap
Growing up, my uncle cleaned his boat obsessively. My dad always commented on the number of harsh chemicals that were flowing into the lake where we swam.
Gifting eco-friendly products is a gentle way of encouraging sustainable habits. Help someone avoid harsh chemicals and use biodegradable soaps like Star Brite.
Just like sunscreen, it’s also vital to choose phosphate-free washes. Phosphates inhibit water oxygenation processes and lead to the suffocation of healthy marine environments.
It’s hard to go wrong with T-shirts. If you know the person’s size, order them a T-shirt they can enjoy on and off the boat.
The first shirt I’m linking to says “Lake Life” in cursive lettering with a sketched heart.
It’s simple for throwing on over a bathing suit or dressing up for a casual dinner in town. I like that this shirt comes in an assortment of colors and cuts. The navy V-neck is my favorite.
Looking for a good laugh? My second suggestion is for all of those sexy pontoon boat captains. Dad will get a kick out of this one and wear it with pride weekly. This shirt is 100% cotton and comes in S – 2XL.
#45 Deck of Waterproof Playing Cards
I carry a deck of playing cards on every adventure. These waterproof cards are the perfect gift idea for anyone who hangs out around the water. They’re a thin plastic that is easy to shuffle.
Drop a deck into dad’s stocking so he can play Go Fish when he can’t go fishing.
#46 Remote Control Speed Boat
This remote control boat reaches 20mph. Yeah, it’s pretty cool. My uncle had a model speed boat that zipped back around forth across the lake.
These boats have a range of 120 meters from the remote control and a recovery mode for flipping the boat right side up if it rolls. Get two for the family and hold speed boat races at the lake house.
#47 Underwater Camera Drone
Check out the underwater marine environment with this remote-controlled underwater camera. We can all look up at the sky, and now we can look under the water with “Dory.”
This underwater drone is the perfect solution for viewing deep water fish from the safety of the dock. Dory’s tether is 49 feet long, giving her plenty of room to explore.
If someone already has a flying drown, they will love adding an underwater drone to their collection. On the flip side, this is one of the best gifts that you can give a kid–marine–biologist.
#48 Floating Swimming Platform
Parents will love this swimming platform. The kids have their island to play on while the parents talk and relax. My dad used to tie a floating pad to the back of the boat while anchored. My sister and I played King of the Mountain for hours without running back and forth on the boat.
Swimming pads are also good gift ideas for people with disabilities or injuries who need reliable floaties.
This swimming platform is made of1.5-inch thick foam and has straps to roll one end into a pillow. Trust me, don’t bother buying the 9-foot pad.
Go straight for the 18-foot pad and enjoy your private island.
#49 Columbia Rain Jacket
Every boat owner needs a good rain jacket when the clouds roll in.
These Columbia raincoats have waterproof seams for lightweight protection in heavy rains, and the inner mesh lining prevents the material from sticking to damp skin on humid days.
When the sun is out, simply stuff the jacket into a pocket for easy packing.
#50 Suction Cup Organizers
Suction cup organizers are the perfect gift for anyone who cooks or sleeps overnight on their boat.
These suction cups are water resistant and keep clutter off of the countertops. Buy two sets; one for cooking utensils in the kitchen and another for toothbrushes or shampoo in the bathroom.
#51 Boater Education Card
Boaters in California must pass a boater safety exam and obtain a Boater Education Card. Gift a new boater an online course to prepare for their boater safety test.
Anyone over the age of 16-year-old can take the test. Law enforcement can ask to see a boater’s card at any time, just like a driver’s license.
#52 Corkscrew Wine Bottle Opener
Don’t mess around with novelty openers when opening a nice bottle of wine. Let me introduce you to the “waiter’s key.”
A waiter’s key is ergonomic and simple. It has all the necessities: corkscrew wine opener, bottle opener, and serrated edge for cutting foil.
Pick up a premium quality wood-finished handle for your cousin’s yacht. Save the day at an upcoming bachelorette party with wine openers for everyone.
#53 Portable BBQ
Portable grills are a popular gift for boaters. This magma BBQ mounts to the fishing rod holder. It swivels and is easily adjusted to take space on a small boat.
The handles have a protective plastic coating, and the lid opens on hinges to prevent it from blowing off. When it’s time to start the grill, the chef can adjust the lighter valve, so it is out of the wind.
#54 Waterproof Binoculars
Binoculars are a handy tool for wildlife-watching and figuring out what that Unidentified Floating Object is up ahead.
I like these binoculars because I don’t have to worry about splashing water on them.
Kayakers can easily toss them into a daypack or carry them on a lanyard around their neck. Give a pair of binoculars to someone going on a cruise so that they can spot dolphins and whales.
Balance practicality and style with this perfect gift for her.
These gloves will keep her hands warm and look fashionable as she sips a hot cup of mulled wine. The rubber grip on the palms and fingers means that she can keep a firm grip on glasses, cell phones, and metal railings.
The pointer fingers are touch screen compatible, so using her phone doesn’t mean having cold hands.
Is your friend a fan of winter boating? Check out our recommendations for the best heated gloves.
#56 Commissioned Painting of Their Boat
Still haven’t found the perfect gift for him this holiday season? Commission a custom painting of the family boat. Each watercolor painting is made to order.
Simply email the artist a picture of your loved one’s boat and special requests for background elements.
Consider surprising the gift recipient by hanging it on the wall on Christmas morning. Then see how long it takes for them to notice.
#57 Boat Maintenance Log
Every captain needs a maintenance book, whether they have a big boat or a small boat.
This boat maintenance log has four sections: Parts List, Vessel Information, Engine, Generator and Battery Specifications, and General Information.
No more scrounging through years of loose papers. Now they can write down everything and leave notes for the future.
Plus, an organized maintenance log can make selling the boat easier because it is clear how it has been cared for.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jodelle Marx is an artist and writer, adventure seeker, and collaborator. She hikes, swims, chases after her dog, and hums off tune. When Jodelle is not nerding out about traveling, she is probably working on a community project or performing spoken word poetry.
Are you shopping for gifts for a whole family of adventurers? Check out these related articles below!
Fun & Best Gifts for Long-Distance Friends
Best Travel Gifts for Every Budget
Best White Elephant Gifts Under $20
Best Gifts for Kayakers and Canoeists
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