From the pages of Practical Boat Owner magazine – our pick of the best Christmas gift ideas for the boat owner in your life

Finding decent Christmas gifts for boat owners on a budget is an unenviably tricky task, but luckily Practical Boat Owner is here to help!

Below are our recommended Christmas gifts for boat owners – including top reads, stocking fillers and plenty of kit that we’ve had hands-on experience with over the past year.

Best Christmas gift cards for boat owners

Stuck for ideas? Running out of time? A gift card ensures your loved one can get exactly what they want (even if it’s not exactly the most thoughtful gift in the world!)

Here’s where you can currently buy Christmas gift cards for boat owners:

Buy Gael Force Marine gift vouchers
Buy Amazon gift cards
Buy Decathlon gift cards

Note: we may earn a small commission if you click on links but this doesn’t affect our editorial independence

Christmas gifts for boat owners: Our pick of the best reads


Stress-Free Engine Maintenance

Duncan Wells’ series of books aimed at helping boat owners take stressful situations in their stride is deservedly popular. He produced the most recent title in conjunction with marine engineer Jonathan Parker, who dealt with some 3,000 breakdowns as Sea Start’s operations manager.

This volume takes boat owners through all aspects of engine maintenance in a straightforward and jargon-free manner. It includes sections covering how to spot problems at an early stage, before they result in a breakdown, as well as troubleshooting, routine servicing and more major repairs.

The information is presented in an accessible, manageable way, with the use of diagrams, quick reference tables, QR videos, tips and checklists. There are also plenty of amusing anecdotes and useful lessons learned.

Buy it now via Amazon

Buy it now on


Quirky History: Maritime Moments Most History Books Forgot

A billing of ‘maritime moments most history books don’t mention’ promises a treasure trove of long-forgotten facts.

Quirky History looks at 25 nautical events ranging from Henry V’s invasion of France in 1415, consisting mainly of chartered French ships, to World War II episodes including the Somali Camel Corps capturing a German U-boat.

Historic figures covered include Horatio Nelson, Napoleon, Rudolf Diesel and Lawrence of Arabia. The book is illustrated with 100 of author John Quirk’s cartoons.

Where possible he relates the historical happenings to the present day, tracing the history of the screw and war-time misinformation (fake news).

Buy it now on Amazon


The Lochs of Scotland by Stuart Fisher

Christmas is a great time to ponder potential future sailing destinations and where better than some of Scotland’s stunning scenery?

Lochs of Scotland is a comprehensive guide showcasing 50 of the most captivating sea and inland lochs, written by keen kayaker and editor of Canoeing magazine, Stuart Fisher.

It’s packed with photos, maps and information on local facilities. Each chapter is beautifully illustrated and contains detailed information about the local landscape, wildlife and history.

Coverage includes iconic locations such as Loch Ness, Loch Lomond, and Loch Long, plus less well known destinations, including the fjord-like Loch Goil, just 30 miles from Glasgow city centre as the crow files.

Buy it now on Amazon


PBO subscription

Do you know any young boaters or people who dream of owning a boat one day? A recommendation from you to start reading PBO could save them money in the long run and means our experts can continue helping all boat owners with their problems.

Subscribe to Practical Boat Owner for just £21.50 for six months and get a free 20lt waterproof packaway backpack worth £27.99. Visit or call 0330 333 1113 and quote X773 (red), X771 (blue) or X772 (grey) for the backpack.

Buy it now on

The Boatyard book – a boatowner’s guide to yacht maintenance, repair and refitting

The Boatyard Book by Simon Jollands

This lovely, nicely illustrated book on boat maintenance has been a true companion throughout our PBO Project Boat restoration. With topics on everything from hull work, electrics, rigging, sails and propulsion, right down to the tool kit you should keep onboard, paperwork, costs and laying up, it covers everything you need to know as a boat owner.

Even if you don’t plan to do the maintenance yourself, it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into, and Simon Jollands’s friendly tutorials will appeal to beginners and experts alike.

Buy the Boatyard book on Amazon

Christmas gifts for boat owners: Stocking fillers


Seaweed and Samphire Gin

Traditional ship’s chandler Arthur Beale has launched a brand of gin with a definite flavour of the sea. It’s brewed in small batches that are expertly infused with seaweed and samphire for what the company calls ‘a signature sea-swept flavour.’

Buy it now on


All At Sea game

A family friendly card game in which players set out on a fast-paced cruise around the United Kingdom, this would make an ideal Christmas gift for boat owners who are bored of whist, rummy and poker.

Each player is dealt a voyage card that lists six ports to complete their journey. However, there are plenty of hazards and bonuses to encounter. Shipping Forecast cards may help or hinder your progress.

The game, developed by Hazel Cushion who learned to sail aged 60, is suitable for 2-6 players aged 8-plus and 10% of the sale price (£19.99) goes to the RNLI.

Buy it now from


RNLI-themed gifts

This year’s RNLI Christmas catalogue includes 76 Christmas gifts for boat owners ranging from a code flag mug (£6) and tea towel (£7) through to recycled sailcloth items such as bags, storage buckets and wash bags (£48), and a Flagship Weather Station (right) with barometer, thermometer, hygrometer and clock (£200).

There’s also a wide selection of family games, gift wrap and decorations.

Shop now on the RNLI website

Christmas gifts for boat owners: Our pick of the best gear


Garmin messenger marine bundle

A combination of mobile phones and AIS broadcasts are great for keeping in touch with family at home while cruising, enabling them to track your progress. However, there are many places around the coasts of the UK, Ireland and elsewhere in northern Europe where phone coverage is poor, or shore stations don’t pick up AIS.

The solution is a low-cost satellite messaging system. Garmin’s latest is the inReach Mini 2 Marine Bundle, which includes two-way text messaging of up to 160 characters (longer messages are possible, but these are broken up into more than one message).

The unit also offers automated tracking that friends and family can follow, as well as SOS functionality linking to the Garmin International Emergency Response Coordination Centre.

The unit offers up to 14 days of continuous run time in the default 10-minute tracking mode, so will continue to work even in the event of a complete onboard power failure.

Buy it now on


Allen hatch cover bags

Many dinghies and open dayboats have nowhere to stow snacks or water for a long day afloat. Allen Brothers has solved this problem with a neat idea that uses some of the space inside buoyancy tanks as a small stowage area.

Each bag has enough space for a 500ml water bottle and several snack bars. A build up of salt can cause even the best plastic zips to become seized, so instead Velcro is used to hold the bag closed and keep its contents securely in place.

They are designed to fit all Allen hatch covers and can be used with other brands of circular hatch covers with a moulded bump on the internal side of the lid.

Buy it now on


Zhik deck gloves

These top-end gloves are designed for use on cruising yachts and have a ‘Gecko’ style silicone palm pad for excellent grip.

High stretch outer panelling allows for easy movement of hands, while the low-profile wrist panels are designed to give free articulation of the wrists.

The outer panels are also perforated to maximise airflow and promote fast drying, while heavy-duty stitching and double reinforced panelling adds protection and durability.

Buy it now from

Luceco rechargable LED torch

best Christmas gifts for boat owners

The Luceco LED inspection torch is great for boats

Every boat owner needs a torch for poking around engines, bilges and other nooks and crannies. Since we got this one from Screwfix, we can’t live without it!

If, like us, you’ve got mountains of kit buried in bottomless lockers, you need an LED inspection torch to find what you’re looking for.

This nifty torch can twist around so you can stand it up or hang it down from hooks. It’s also magnetic, has three different settings, and you can recharge the batteries from your car or a 3-pin plug.

Buy the Luceco LED inspection torch from Screwfix

Zhik UV protective sailing top

best Christmas gifts for boat owners

Ali Wood testing the Zhik UV Active top at her Dorset sailing club

Zhik’s new UV Active tops are available for men or women, and are very comfortable for sports and hot weather. Ideal for shoreside as well as water activities they come in navy or grey with long sleeves (£39.95) or short sleeves (£34.96). They’re made with a fine-gauge, soft interlock weave and are antistatic and snag-resistant.

We’ve tested ours a lot this year and have been impressed. When compared to a regular cotton t-shirt, Zhik’s UV Active top keeps you noticeably cooler, and the soft fabric is luxurious against your skin.

Buy a Zhik UV Active top on Amazon

Slastik snap-on reading glasses

best Christmas gifts for boat owners

Slastik glasses are a perfect Christmas gift for active boat owners

Perfect for an active lifestyle, Slastik’s smart range of glasses snap open at the front with a magnetic clip but have a continuous strap around the back, meaning they don’t fall off.

No need to resort to contact lenses or squinting over numbers on a chartplotter, the anti-reflective reading glasses are a great cockpit companion for any cruising sailor.

Buy Slastik reading glasses on Amazon

best Christmas gifts for boat owners

Slastik also do a stylish range of sunglasses. We tested the Swing magnetic glasses at sea and were impressed with how comfortable and unobtrusive they are – you simply forget you’re wearing them. The lenses offer 400% UV protection and, being polarised, prevent harsh reflection from water or snow.

Buy Slastick magnetic sunglasses on Amazon

Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure

best Christmas gifts for boat owners

Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure – boat owners love it!

No boat should go without a bottle of Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure. An ailment for leaky windows and fittings, this liquid sealant/ adhesive travels deep into tiny hairline cracks and makes a waterproof seal.

We’ve used it on the PBO Project Boat, and boat owners swear by it, including  Louis Derry of Boat Renovation People. At just £7.95 it makes the perfect stocking filler.

Buy Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure on Amazon

Red Original eco-friendly laptop bag

Surprisingly, the tough, waterproof fabric of Red Original’s new laptop bag is made out plastic bottles. The process is interesting – it begins with rescuing used plastic bottles, which are broken down into pellets, melted and spun into a fibre, which is then woven into the fabric.

The Red Original waterproof backpack

The backpack has wide, comfortable shoulder straps and a padded back, allowing air to flow through and stop you getting too sweaty. There are two outer pockets for water bottles, and inside, a detachable padded laptop section and secret pocket for keys. 

We put this to the test in lumpy 2m seas whilst covering the start of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. It got a thorough pounding and soaking, but everything inside remained dry and intact.

Although the bag holds 30 litres, it feels a lot more spacious, especially if you don’t roll the top too much.

For anyone wanting to keep their tablet, laptop and pilot books safe in the cockpit for easy navigation, this is the ideal bag. 

Buy a Red Original Eco-friendly waterproof backpack

Red Original 40l and 60l kit bags

Also made from recycled plastic bottles is the Red Original kit bag. Sturdy and snag-proof, it’s is a great overnight holdall for taking to the boat, and  will keep your kit dry in damp environments.

The Red Original 40l kitbag

Like Red’s laptop bag, the kit bag is also waterproof, only this one has several different compartments so you can keep wet items separate from dry ones.

We like the fact it has a long zip, enabling quick and easy access (unlike traditional roll-top dry bags), and rucksack straps as well as carry straps, so you have a few different options for lugging it around.

You can read a longer review here, and see PBO Features Editor Ali put it to the test at her Dorset sailing club.

Buy a 40l kit bag from Red Original

Buy a 60l kit bag from Red Original

Gobesty collapsible travel kettle

Making a brew on the companionway of the PBO Project Boat Maximus

This neat little silicone kettle is great for use in the marina as it packs up small and runs on shorepower. It’s only 3.93in when folded and 7.08in unfolded, and can carry 0.6L, which is plenty for 4 small cups or 3 mugs of tea. The plug cord is detachable and can be removed when not in use.

Buy a Gobestry foldable kettle on Amazon

Red Original cooler backpack

The Red Original cooler backpack is great for picnics and boats without fridges

If you don’t have a fridge onboard, this cooler backpack is handy for keeping drinks and picnics cool on day-sails or longer trips. We tested this on the PBO Project boat recently, on a delivery trip recently from Chichester to Poole with an overnight stay in Yarmouth.

Using freezer packs we were able to keep the butter, ham, milk and cheese cool for the two days. Ice is said to last 48 hours in the bag, which comes with a padded back panel and removable chest strap. The backpack  is 15l and can store up to 24 cans.  For more storage, Red Original also do a larger 30l cooler bag.

This year, Red Original is offering a gift-wrapping service, too, to take the pain out of those frantic pre-Christmas sessions.

Buy 15l cooler backpack from Red Original

Buy 30l cooler bag from Red Original

Shakespeare emergency inflatable VHF antenna

An emergency VHF antenna is a great piece of kit to have on any boat, especially if going offshore. If the main VHF antenna fails for any reason, this is your backup.

Shakespeare’s new Galaxy Infl8-5 is an inflatable antenna, which, like lifejackets, inflates using a CO2 cartridge (though a smaller size than standard lifejacket ones). It pops up straight away from the high-vis bag, but you can also manually inflate it, before attaching it to the pushpit to enhance your radio signal.

Handy also for kayaks, jet skis and dinghies, the Shakespeare Inflatable & Special Purpose Antenna inflates to 5ft and is compatible with most handheld radios (check with manufacturers for compatibility with the SMA male adaptor).

Buy a Shakespeare Galaxy Infl8-5 VHF Inflatable Emergency Antenna on Amazon

Liberty Lifesaver Water filtration bottles

Boat water tanks require careful maintenance, but if you’ve let this slip, or simply don’t have a water source you can trust, the Lifesaver Liberty filtration bottle is a great, quick and easy way to get clean water. We should know – we used it to drink bilge water and lived to tell the tale!

Also, handy for hikes into the wilderness or remote anchorages where you might need to source water from a river or lake, this is the ultimate  Christmas gift for adventurous boat owners.

A larger, 5l, Lifesaver Cube is also available, which is ideal to keep onboard.

Buy the 5l Lifesaver Cube on Amazon

Buy the Lifesaver Liberty water filtration bottle on Amazon

Portable gas detector

A gas detector wand is an essential surveyor’s tool

Ok, so this isn’t the most glamorous Christmas gift for boat owners, but if we said this could save yours (or your loved one’s) life, then you’ll agree it’s worth taking a look. A gas detector is an essential tool for a marine surveyor, but it’s also useful for boat owners to keep on board, especially liveaboards. Gas will gather in the lowest parts of the boats – the bilges and engine compartments – so it’s important to inspect these areas from time to time.

PBO’s marine surveyor Ben Sutcliffe Davies uses a TPI 725L combustible gas detector from Screwfix. The battery-powered detector can be used one-handed and has both a visual indicator and an audio alarm that beeps as you wave it around. If gas is detected, the beeping speeds up.

Buy the TPI 725L combustible gas detector from Screwfix

Scanstrut Rokk Dual USB charger

The Rokk waterproof charger can be used inside or out

No more fighting over the charging points! Scanstrut’s Roxx Dual USB Waterproof Charger Socket can be used indoors or out, and can charge two devices at the same time.

It has an output current of 4.2A (total) and click and lock lid to prevent any water ingress into your USB connector.

Buy the Scanstrut Roxx Dual USB Waterproof charger socket on Amazon

Scanstrut Rokk Mini Universal Tablet Mount Kit

As well as having a cockpit socket to keep your tablet charged, it’s a good idea to get a mount to keep it safe. Scanstrut’s Mini Universal Tablet Mount allows you to fix the tablet onto any 19-34mm diameter rail.

There’s some great navigation software out there now, such as Navionics, which you can stream or download to your tablet, so now you have a full chartplotting solution without having to invest lots of money in electronic devices.

Buy the Scanstrut Mini Universal Tablet Mount on Amazon

Zhik drybags

The 30lt backpack (grey) and the high-vis 6lt pack

You can never have enough drybags and Zhik’s high quality kit always makes good Chrstimas gifts for boat owners. The new 30lt dry backpack is made from a heavy duty 100% waterproof fabric with welded seams.

Features include an internal zipped pocket, padded laptop holder, and water bottle pouch. Extra compression straps will help to reduce bulk when the bag is only partially full and can double to secure jackets and the like on the outside.

Buy it now on Amazon

Zhik has also launched a new 6lt high vis dry bag. Again this is 100% waterproof with taped seams and is supplied with its own pouch for easy stowage when not in use.

Buy it now on eBay

Scanstrut Rokk Wireless Nest charger

Scanstrut Nest – for recharging phones the tidy way

Tired of the tangle of wires and multiple phones and all too frequently clutter nav stations and other work surfaces on board? This Scanstrut Nest is a neat pocket with a built-in wireless charger in which to keep the phone when it’s not being used.

It’s designed for easy integration into voids within consoles and cabinets, behind seating and so on. A grippy mat stops the phone moving around inside the pocket, while the front lip acts as a further physical barrier to help keep it in place.

Buy it now on Amazon

Inesis 900 Laser Rangefinder

Designed for golfers, this is equally useful on any cruising boat that encounters crowded anchorages. Even the most experienced skipper can struggle to judge distances accurately enough to identify a safe spot to anchor between other vessels – the deck of a boat simply isn’t a good vantage point for this.

A decent laser rangefinder solves this problem – when preparing to anchor you can figure out exactly the distance to other boats. Equally if another vessel anchors close to you it can be used to figure out if there’s safe swinging space for both vessels. Maximum range of this unit is a whopping 1,200m.

Buy it now on

Spot Gen4 satellite tracker

This device completes a trio of relatively low cost Spot satellite tracking and messaging devices. The Spot Gen4 fits between the basic Spot Tracker, which only pings a position to your phone or email, and the Spot X that allows two-way email and SMS text messaging of up to around 500 characters. The Spot Gen4 allows your friends and family to track your location. In addition, you can pre-programme short custom text messages to indicate whether you’re OK or in need of a specific type of help.

There’s also an SOS function that sends an alert to the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center, which in turn can raise the alarm with the relevant coastguard agency. The unit uses the Globalstar satellite network which now includes almost all of the Americas (apart from the very southern extremities of Chile), the north Atlantic ocean, plus all of Europe, the Med and north Africa.

Yachts on passage across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean will, however, pass through a band with only fringe coverage.

Buy it now on Amazon

Buy it now on eBay

Helly Hansen Men’s Arctic Ocean Parka

best Christmas gifts for boat owners

Helly Hansen designed this for sailing in the harshest conditions and it’s perfect for winter days afloat. It has a waterproof outer layer, a breathable inner fabric, plus an insulating layer made of a high loft and quick drying recycled polyester material. Taped seams, a double storm flap and watertight cuffs are provided to keep the water out.

Buy it now on Amazon

Gill Penryn Hybrid Jacket

best Christmas gifts for boat owners

Gill’s new Penryn Hybrid Jacket is super lightweight and made from a four-way stretch fabric with a soft brushed interior. A down-like synthetic insulation is used, which provides excellent warmth and can be packed tightly for easy travel. It’s available in both men’s and women’s fits.

Buy it now on Amazon

Gill OS Thermal Neck Gaiter

Gill’s new Thermal Neck Gaiter made of a pill-resistant fleece, a four-way thermal stretch material and a soft brushed waffle interior.

Buy it now on Amazon

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated boating page for more marine products.