Suggest a gift for new boat owner
September 16, 2021 11:58 AM   Subscribe

My brother in Hawaii recently bought a 24-foot cabin cruiser that he keeps docked at a marina. He has a significant birthday coming up and I'd like to buy him something for the boat. I haven't seen the boat, but I presume it already has all the typical things a boat needs. So, I'm looking for something that he likely doesn't have but useful. The budget can be a few hundred dollars. Any suggestions?
posted by Sock, Sock, Sock, Sock, Sock, Goose! to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total)
Best answer: It's really hard to buy something like this for someone in a hobby you don't share. Would a gift certificate to a nice marine supply shop near the marina feel too impersonal? Because I'm going to guess it would be a nice treat for him.
posted by bluedaisy at 12:06 PM on September 16, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: A custom boat flag! I bought one for my dad, and it was kind of disappointing so I won’t recommend the specific place I went with but the idea was a hit even if the flag itself was not.
posted by mskyle at 12:31 PM on September 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

Maybe a marine barbeque something like this
posted by night_train at 12:32 PM on September 16, 2021

Whatever else you get, throw in some floating key chains - maybe something custom from Etsy. You cannot have too many of these.
posted by Preserver at 12:36 PM on September 16, 2021 [8 favorites]

Best answer: So, a very traditional gift when a ship (generally naval ships, but whatever) was being commissioned was a silver service or punchbowl set, typically custom made with the ship's name on it. While those might be a tad extravagant for a cabin cruiser, you could do something fun like a set of coffee cups, tumblers, etc., depending on what sort of drinking he's into, customized with the boat name.

There are lots of places online where you can get laser-engraved tableware, ranging from lowball and wine tumblers, to coffee cups and can cozys.

Part of the gift might be getting a graphic designer to put together a logotype for the boat (Fiverr could be a good place to go for this), maybe featuring details based on what he plans to do with it. I.e., is it a fishing boat, is it for travel/passagemaking, watersports, just cruising around, etc. Or alternately, have someone vectorize a picture of the boat (or the same type of boat) and put it with the name.

> A custom boat flag!

This is also a good idea and in line with tradition; custom boat flags are referred to as "private signals" and there are companies around specializing in them. The traditional shape would be the swallowtail for a private signal, and if the price isn't extravagant you might want to get two or more (it's traditional to display one's private signal in one's home yacht club in addition to on the vessel itself).
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:46 PM on September 16, 2021 [9 favorites]

A model of the boat.
posted by bondcliff at 1:02 PM on September 16, 2021 [4 favorites]

My 1st choice would be a nice 1st aid kit. Maybe a box of marine flares. Safety gear, like a personalized flotation ring, nice life jackets, marine fire extinguisher, emergency signal flag.

Tools go overboard unbelievably fast; 3 or 4 cheap multitools(you can get useful ones for @ $10, you don't feel so bad when they're lost, esp. if you have another set stowed). Custom-monogrammed caps with the boat name or a private joke are traditional, Etsy lists tons. You can get floating keepers for glasses, floats for keys, etc. address tags for these are a good idea, stuff in the ocean is gone, fast. I live on a lake, someone's sunglasses with floating keeper just turned up on an Are these yours? post. Nice, engraved travel boat mugs(get ones that are low and wide) are nice. And solar or battery LED string lights are really pleasant.
posted by theora55 at 1:20 PM on September 16, 2021 [3 favorites]


Baseball caps embroidered with name of boat using the font on the transom.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:05 PM on September 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

If you like the idea of tools, get a set.

A small power boat is used for one or more hobbies: cruising, fishing, water skiing... A gift related to the use of the boat is better than one about the boat itself.
posted by SemiSalt at 3:28 PM on September 16, 2021

Custom beer cozies with the name of the boat on them, in the boat's colors! Get at least twice as many as how many people can be on the boat at once. (Can also be used for soda, of course)

Seconding floaty keychains and / or boat flag.
posted by ananci at 3:54 PM on September 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

A customized Log, to keep track of all the trips, guests, occasions, etc.
posted by SLC Mom at 5:29 PM on September 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

I received a beautiful leather ship's log for my first boat and I treasured it for as long as I owned the boat.

A welcome mat, canvas bag, pillows (sunbrella/UV resistant fabric), etc., with the boat's name on it.

Recipe books for easy boat-friendly meals/snacks.

Plastic, stemless wineglasses, or other similarly nice-looking plastic cocktail "glasses" if they partake.
posted by danapiper at 7:19 PM on September 16, 2021

I enjoyed receiving objects decorated with the name of the boat, including floating cushions (or a lifering). Practical gifts would include really good binoculars, a collapsible table for serving snacks and a cooler sized to fit one of the compartments.
posted by carmicha at 7:27 PM on September 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Nice binoculars. Maybe ones that are 'marine' waterproof, or even low light binocs.

I understand the Steiner Marine is a good one, for example.
posted by artdrectr at 9:45 PM on September 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

If he drinks, nice wine or champagne, Yeti cooler, anti-spill wine or champagne glasses.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:58 PM on September 16, 2021

A 24 foot boat will have very limited space to stow things in. I would not buy a gift to be used on this boat unless I had sailed with the owner on it, identified something specific that would be a good addition or replacement, and thought about where it could be stowed.

Without that insight, a gift voucher for a local chandlery at or near the marina is a much better suggestion.
posted by automatronic at 3:54 AM on September 17, 2021

For binoculars, 7 power or less. 7x50 for nighttime. 7x30 is great for daytime.

If he doesnt have one, a VHF hand held radio would be great.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:43 AM on September 17, 2021

Yeah, a cabin cruiser is tiny. A hatchback car has more space for stuff. Maybe a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)? Fits in your pocket, requires no subscription, works anywhere in the world, five year battery life. I don't own one, but this brand has been recommended to me. Resqlink 400 buoyant personal locator beacon.
posted by wnissen at 9:57 AM on September 17, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks all. Looks like the best bet will be a gift card from West Marine.
posted by Sock, Sock, Sock, Sock, Sock, Goose! at 8:44 PM on September 17, 2021

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