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Christmas is almost here and if there are yachting and sailing enthusiasts among your relatives and friends, or just someone with a passion for the sea, well, let me say that the chances of you getting the perfect Christmas gift are really high. In the bag of Santa there are gifts for all pockets. Here is a range of successful gift ideas split in two categories: for those who do not own a boat but are often invited for a sail on a friends’ boat or rent a boat themselves and gifts for those who already own a boat and would be glad to receive a new gadget, a new device or simply update the existing equipment.

Personal gifts

Sailing winter clothing, such as thermal tights and long sleeve shirts, warm and tight-fitting, are highly recommended as perfect for cold climates, to be worn both under high-tech clothing and under waterproofs trousers or salopette. Also on clothing, the traditional blue woollen turtleneck jumper is always great for a vintage sailor look. However, fleece sweaters are extremely popular as they are light, warm and dry quickly. I recommend those with turtleneck and zip closure to keep your throat warm. Better if with zipped pockets like e.g. this one HH Chelsea Evo pile jacket ( What about something so useful and necessary like a beanie? They are available in thousands of types and materials, however, make sure the one you choose is warm and tight fitting so it can be worn also under the waterproofs hood. Here is an example: HH Lifa Merino Beanie ( Now let’s move to sunglasses, even if in winter they don’t seem to be of any use. And yet they are a must have, better if with polarized lenses. The most affordable models cost only a few dozens euros, but don’t forget to add a lanyard, to be matched in colour, or at the first gust of wind your present will be thrown to the fish!

Still on clothing, let’s say a word about waterproofs, both necessary and unmissable for those who sail. A wide variety of choices is available, so you can focus on brands, water-resistance (and therefore price) and types. The MARLIN Regatta Breathable professional waterproofs ( is a high-quality product combined with competitive price. If you prefer a highly technical waterproofs especially designed for harsh weather conditions, the HH Storm Rain ( salopette is a useful present both for sailors and fishermen. Or, there are models combining full watertightness and high comfort for leisure time, such as this jacket: HH Haag Jacket ( On the subject of cold and bad weather, do not forget reliable sailing boots and deck shoes (with anti-slip sole). Proper sailing footwear is essential for comfort and safety. An extensive range for all budgets is on the market, from these Skipper Pro Boots ( to top-of-the-range models made of goretex or leather.

A sailor’s knife is actually a must-have once on board. No matter if you are a ship owner, if you have rented a boat or if you are a guest on a friend’s boat. Look at this classic one with fid and shackle-opener: Sail stainless steel knife with plastic grip ( And what about a pliers like this Multipurpose pliers ( These are – no doubt – small, affordable tools, and yet they are extremely useful. But now let’s change scenario and move to high-tech equipment, like a portable GPS. This is highly recommended on board, even in case of boat rental, as indispensable in case of failure of navigation instruments , difficult but not impossible, whatever the reason may be. Some portable devices are as small as a mobile phone, like e.g. this one: GPSMAP 86 GARMIN ( They not only provide maps and coordinates but trigger a SOS alert and share your track, like Garmin Inreach, very useful and slightly bigger than a packet of cigarettes.  

Gifts for boat owners

Still focused on safety, if the person receiving your gift is a new ship owner still providing his boat with all the necessary equipment, a lifeline is certainly the right present for him. Lifelines are straps stretched from the stern to the bow of a boat and used by crew members to hang the snap hook of their harness lanyard on it to be firmly connected to the boat in case of bad weather to prevent falling overboard. To complete the picture, no sailor can do without an auto-inflatable life jacket provided with snap hook for attachment to the lanyard. Or, as an alternative, a harness with snap hook to be worn over the waterproofs to ensure complete safety.

If you are oriented towards technology and personal safety, a PLB device is probably the best gift idea. This is a satellite emergency locator to activate in case of man overboard during search and rescue operations. To be activated also on dry land in manual mode. Man Over Board on AIS transmission ( and similar devices communicate the MOB position via AIS transmission. It is a piece of gear no sailor should do without.

Let’s move now to a more ecological issue: solar energy. A wide range of low consumption solar lamps is available. Efficient and affordable, they seem to be thought specifically for the nights spent in the cockpit. During the day they are hung to lifelines and at dusk they provide some hours of free and ecological lighting. Some models have a silicone waterproof case useful to protect mobile phones or other devices from moisture and sprays. Still on this subject, solar battery chargers are very useful. Low-cost and low-consumption devices for eco-friendly mobile phone and tablet charging. Also having an emergency energy supply always available on board is more than a necessity. In case of a navigation instrument blackout a (charged) power bank will be essential to charge mobile phones and tablets for map information. They are quite cheap and some models are provided with emergency starter function in case of motor battery failure.

Let’s focus now on leisure time and relaxing moments on board. A barbecue to be hung to the pulpit to grill the fish caught of the day is a gift that won’t be left unused. The best models, like this  MAGMA Marine Kettle barbecue/gas burner (, ensure safety and durability and promise gorgeous barbecues in the serene calm of a roadstead. However, if the ship owner suffers from boat separation anxiety, the right gift is no doubt one of the countless 12-V or solar battery powered cameras. Images can be viewed from hundreds of kilometres away via a PC or a Smartphone. Cameras can be installed on the mast, the pulpits or the deck and watch your boat 24 hours a day. In short, to find a suitable gift for our beloved ones is easy as you are only spoilt for choice! Merry Christmas!

Stefano Sergi
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