PBO gear tester Rupert Holmes shares his best Christmas gift ideas for discerning sailors...

From enabling communication back home from remote anchorages with nifty satellite messengers, a device for easier drilling, tried and tested thermals, sunglasses, and a huge, lightweight weatherproof rucksack to coastal oilskins, non-slip drinks holder, children’s binoculars, inspirational calendars, or a monthly delivery of Practical Boat Owner straight to your door – we have a wide range of gift ideas for sailors to help you get this Christmas wrapped up.

11 of the best gift ideas for sailors

Satellite messengers

Garmin inReach Mini satellite communications device Gift ideas for sailors

Garmin inReach Mini is the small, palm-sized satellite communicator that lets you stay in touch around the world

When cruising in UK waters there’s a surprising number of anchorages and estuaries that don’t have reliable mobile phone coverage, which can pose a problem for anyone who needs to keep in contact with family or friends back home.

Fortunately there’s a growing number of low-cost satellite messaging devices available. The capabilities of these are very limited compared to full-on expensive satellite phones, but these tend only to be justified for longer distance sailing such as crossing oceans. Nevertheless, even the most limited of devices can be useful when no other means of communication is viable.

ACR’s Bivy Stick and Garmin’s inReach Mini 2 are black boxes that interface with a smartphone to provide tracking and two-way text messaging akin to the 160 character text messages of old. They are therefore a game changer when no other form of communication is available. They use minimal power and have a 5-7 day battery life, while subscription plans start from around £12-14 per month.

Buy the ACR Bivy Stick on Amazon

Buy the ACR Bivy Stick & solar panel survival kit on Amazon

Buy the Garmin inReach Mini 2 on Amazon

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KWB Drill Guide handheld drilling jig

KWB DrillBlock handheld drilling jig

Sometimes the simplest of devices can be incredibly useful. Drilling a hole exactly perpendicular to a surface can be hard to judge by eye at times, especially in the hard-to-reach corners of a boat’s interior.

The KWB Drill Guide has metal lined guide holes for 4, 5, 6, 8 10 and 12mm drill bits – simply hold the appropriate one over the hole you want to drill. Grippy pads on the underside help to keep it in place. It’s 40mm thick, so doesn’t take up much space in a tool box, though it’s not as effective as a pillar drill.

Buy the KWB Drill Guide from Amazon

EDZ Merino wool leggings and top

EDZ Merino wool top

EDZ Merino wool top

EDZ Merino wool leggings

Merino wool is the ultimate material for comfortable base layers – it’s breathable, soft and comfortable, quick drying and naturally anti bacterial.

These EDZ unisex thermals are made of a superfine yarn that’s good at wicking away perspiration.

The tops are available in scoop-neck and zip neck-styles and there’s a choice of 200gsm or extra warm 260gsm leggings.

Buy the leggings on Amazon

Buy the top on Amazon

Stubble & Co The Adventure Bag

Stubble & Co The Adventure Bag

We’ve covered dozens of dry bags in PBO, however, the 42L Stubble Adventure Bag impressed the PBO team thanks to sheer convenience and practicality.

It’s a rucksack sized to meet airline carry on requirements, but has multiple compartments, including a 16in laptop sleeve, hidden zipped pocket, outer easy access pockets and a waterproof shoe compartment.

It weighs only 1.7kg and is made of predominately recycled waterproof materials.

Buy the The Adventure Bag from Stubble & Co (US)

Buy the The Adventure Bag from Stubble & Co (UK)

Practical Boat Owner magazine, November 2023 issue cover

PBO subscription

When looking for the best gift ideas for sailors, sometimes the simplest solution is the best one.

Buy your loved ones a Christmas gift subscription to PBO for just £21.49 every 6 months and receive a free Spinlock 50N high agility personal floatation device (sizes: M-XL, colours: black, red and blue).

Buy now at magazinesdirect.com/PBOXMAS or call 0330 333 1113

Boat Maintenance Essential Manual (2nd Edition)

PBO Essential Maintenance Guide Gift ideas for sailors

A compilation of the best practical articles published in PBO, with added original content.

Buy it now from magazinesdirect.com

Typhoon TX3 Coast Jacket and Hi Fit trousers

Typhoon TX3 Coast Jacket and Hi Fit trousers Gift ideas for sailors

Advances in materials technology and product design mean that foul weather gear has been becoming lighter and more comfortable for the past couple of decades. Nevertheless occasionally we come across a product that seems to represent a step change in progress.

That was certainly the case with Typhoon’s first foray into producing foul weather gear for coastal and offshore use. Both these garments are exceptionally lightweight and pack very small, making them amazingly easy to carry.

Yet the specification hasn’t been compromised to achieve this and they are made of flexible three-layer fabrics with durable waterproof (DWP) coatings.

Recommended for anyone who travels a lot to go boating, the Typhoon TX3 Coast Jacket and Hi Fit trousers cost £199.95 each.

Buy the jacket from Andark

Buy the trousers from Andark

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Glass anchor non-slip drinks holder

Glass Anchor non-slip drinks holder

Dissatisfaction with using conventional cup holders on board led to the development of this neat gadget. While cup holders can be great for use at the helm there are plenty of other occasions where they don’t work, including when you’re sitting socially around a cockpit table, perhaps in a quartering sea, when there’s no guarantee a glass will stay still.

The Glass Anchor is a simple but neat idea that pins the base of up to six wine glasses in place. In turn, it has a non-slip base that resists movement even on relatively shiny surfaces.

Buy it now from glassanchor.co.uk

SunGod sunglasses

SunGod Classics Classics, pictured being worn by Vendee Globe competitor Pip Hare. Credit: Richard Langdon

Credit: Richard Langdon

These have quickly gained popularity across a wide swathe of outdoor activities and sports. Part of that is undoubtedly a result of the company’s sustainable ethos – recycled materials are used and they are built to last.

There’s also a lifetime guarantee, so if your sailing sunglasses break they will be repaired free of charge, and spare lenses are available, which means you don’t have to buy new sunglasses if one lens is badly scratched.

There are six different styles for different types of sailing, including the Classics, pictured above being worn by Vendee Globe competitor Pip Hare.

Buy it now from sungod.co

RNLI Junior Binoculars

RNLI Junior Binoculars Gift ideas for sailors

RNLI Junior Binoculars

These compact marine binoculars (11x10x4cm / 4.3” x 3.9” x 1.6”) have a modest 5x magnification and are designed for children to spot wildlife, boats and more when out and about.

There are rubber grips for comfort, the eye pieces are adjustable and both a carry case and neck strap are included. They also carry RNLI branding.

Buy it now from shop.rnli.org

Rick Tomlinson calendars

Rick Tomlinson 2024 calendar Gift ideas for sailors

Rick Tomlinson 2024 calendar

Rick Tomlinson 2024 calendar

Even after 35 years, Tomlinson’s calendars never fail to impress and add a touch of summer to long winter days. This year’s topics include include action from the Cape 31 class, Cowes Week and high octane racing in the TP52 class.

There’s also a beautiful sunrise taken at the Fastnet Rock and a canvas of sails showing the spectacular large yachts competing at the Richard Mille Classic regatta in the Solent this summer.

Buy it now from www.rick-tomlinson.com

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