Your friend or family member finally did it—bought the boat of his/her dreams. They beam like a proud parent while admiring that boat on the dock. They glow brighter than the stars when he/she shows you all the photos of his new boat—and when they asks you to watch all the videos (for the second and third time). Who can blame them for this unbridled display of complete joy?
Becoming a new boat owner is like becoming a new car owner, only better. For most people, a car is a necessity of life. A boat is all about having fun—it’s an ultimate grown-up toy.
Want to add to the fun for the new boat owner in your life? Give them a gift that will make their time on the boat even more enjoyable. Here’s a look at five great boat warming gifts for new boat owners.
1. Personalized Beach Towels
Sure, beach towels are great for going to the beach. But they’re also great for drying off after taking a dive off the swim platform, and they can serve as makeshift, wraparound protection against wind or sun. That makes them a perfect gift for new boat owners.
And why not have the beach towels look as cool as they possible can look? Everyone from Bed Bath & Beyond to Lands’ End makes beach towels that can be personalized with the name of the person, the name of the family or the name of the boat. (The name of the boat is probably the coolest option, but to each his own.)
Pro Tip: When giving personalized beach towels as a gift to a new boat owner, find out what color the boat’s exterior and interior are, and get the towels in a complementary color scheme. Some boat owners are like sports fans. They have their favorite “team colors” and want to fly them proudly.
2. Boat Shoes
A cool-looking, comfortable-wearing, sturdily built pair of boat shoes is one of the most prized possessions in every boat owner’s life. And since the 1930s, the brand name Sperry has been synonymous with exactly those types of shoes.
While there’s plenty of different brands to choose from, Sperry Top-Siders were the first boat shoes ever to hit the market. Today, the company makes an array of boat shoes for women, men and children alike. There are now multiple styles of boat shoes, from the classic design to versions made with mesh panels for extra airflow around the feet.
All the shoes can be purchased with non-marking soles—which are a key feature for keeping the boat pristine. And soles are now made with things like shock-absorption material for all-day comfort. Color combinations also abound, giving each pair its own personality.
3. Personalized Hat (or Captain’s Hat)
If there’s one thing that everyone needs out on a boat for the day, it’s a great hat—one that has a wide brim to protect the eyes from the sun, and that won’t go flying off into the water. All kinds of hats can be personalized with a boat’s name.
The standard baseball cap or visor is available at places such as Rush Order Tees and can be embroidered not only with the boat’s name, but also sometimes with a line drawing of the boat itself (that you can often get from the boatbuilder’s website). Rush Order Tees also makes bucket hats, which are great for protecting a boater’s ears against sunburn.
The White Invite makes personalized floppy beach hats that can be good on the boat as well as on the sandbar, while 4ImprintUSA makes Booney hats that not only are customizable, but that also have adjustable chin straps great for keeping a hat on while a boat is speeding through the water.
4. Marine Smartwatch or Sailing Watch
In 2013, Garmin introduced the quatix, a watch that made boaters drool in much the same way that the first-ever iPhone appealed to the masses.
What made the quatix (now in its latest iteration, the quatix 5 so exciting for boaters was that the watch connected wirelessly to a Garmin autopilot at the boat’s helm. That meant whoever was wearing the quatix could steer the boat from his/her wrist. And, if he/she fell overboard, the lost wireless connection would set off an alarm and use the autopilot to try and steer the boat back to get him/her.
It was truly stuff that felt like science fiction less than a decade ago. And today, the technology has advanced even further. The newest quatix also does things like control certain stereos, keep track of the wearer’s heart rate, provide sail-racing assistance and more.
Regular and stainless-steel versions are available, with swap-out watch straps in a variety of colors as accessories.
5. Chapman’s Piloting & Seamanship
This is the book that boaters call “the bible” of knowing what to do out there on the waterways. It is a doorstop-size 920 pages and is now in its 68th printing, boasting decades’ worth of knowledge that skippers have acquired while running boats on lakes, rivers and offshore alike.
Chapman’s is filled with photos and diagrams, along with explanatory text, to help boaters at all skill levels understand everything from maritime rules of the road to safety tips and maintenance. There are sections on weather, tides and currents, along with sections on navigation skills, anchoring and more.
Really, the beauty of giving Chapman’s as a gift to a new boat owner is not just that he’ll be thrilled to learn about becoming a better skipper, but also that you’ll be a whole lot safer the next time he invites you on board for a cruise.