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Twelve Gifts for the Boater in Your Life

The holidays are getting near, and in just a few days it will be Black Friday. So, what do you get the boater in your life? Here are 12 personal suggestions from the Soundings magazine and staff.

Soundings senior editor Gary Reich:

Leatherman WAVE + multi-tool


Always on my belt when I’m aboard a boat is the Leatherman WAVE + multi-tool, which I use to do everything from unhooking fish, cutting fishing line and even tightening up loose fasteners. I added a plier leash, which can be easily found at any tackle store. You can order the tool here for $99.95

Patagonia Stormsurge Wet/Dry Duffel Bag 65L


Something I never leave the dock without, whether I’m heading out to fish or sea trial a boat, is Patagonia’s Stormsurge Wet/Dry Duffel Bag 65L. The 65-liter bag has two compartments with enough room for a DSLR camera, tackle box, fishing flies, inflatable PFD, personal EPIRB and more. I have a small fleece blanket I put in there to pad everything and never have to worry about anything getting wet when I’m running an open boat. You can order the bag here for $249

Soundings editor-in-chief Jeanne Craig:

Danforth S-160 Standard Anchor


After we bought our first family boat for cruising Long Island Sound, we got in the habit of setting a stern anchor. We spent a lot of summer afternoons moored bow to shore in pretty anchorages, but some of them had poor holding with soft mud and shifting currents. We’d drop it three or four boat lengths out and then gently motor in using the stern line as a brake. When choosing an anchor, consider the size of your boat and the bottoms where you’ll be using it. Because the stern anchor is not going to be doing most of the work, as a general rule, choose a hook that is one size down from the anchor used at the bow. You can order the S-160 here in varying sizes for $24.99 to $424.99

Plastimo Marine Safety Whistle


We always carry PFDs, which are required by the USCG, but in addition, each life jacket gets its own whistle. Marine whistles have no peas (the ball you'll find in a police whistle), which is why they work even when slightly submerged. And they typically have a range of a half mile or greater. Why is that important? Because your voice will never be heard over waves and the wind. I put the whistle on a lanyard, so if I drop it while I’m in the water it won’t get lost. That’s the way the Coasties do it. You can't beat this as a stocking stuffer. You can order the whistle here for $1.99

Soundings editor-at-large William Sisson:

Boye Knife


I’ve had a blunt-tip folding Boye knife for close to two decades. Slim and sharp and easy to open, it gives me a bit more peace of mind to have it aboard. If I have to go into the water to cut something away from my prop, the Boye will be in my hand. Speaking of going into the water, I also carry a US Divers mask and snorkel on my boat. The use is two-fold: I enjoy snorkeling for fun, but if you have to go beneath your boat or fool with the prop or shaft, you’d be well advised to wear a mask and snorkel. You need to clearly see what you’re looking at. You can order the Boye knife here for $219

Cocoons Polarized Fit-over Sunglasses


I’ve worn a pair of prescription polarized sunglasses for several years, which has made life on the water a lot more enjoyable, but I also own a pair of Cocoons, which are fit-over polarized glasses. If looks aren’t a concern and you’re on a budget, they are a good alternative or backup to prescription sunglasses. I wore a pair over my progressives on a fishing trip to Alaska a few years ago and they made all the difference. You can order the Cocoons here for $59.95

Soundings associate editor Carly Sisson

Sperry Bionic Boat Shoe


I have owned just about every variation of boat shoe Sperry has ever released, and I wear them year-round, on and off the dock. They break in immediately, mold to your foot, and are the most versatile shoes I have ever worn. But I especially love my Bionic boat shoes, because they are made from recycled plastic recovered from marine and coastal environments, so they are as sustainable as they are comfortable and durable. You can buy them here for $59.99 

Columbia Windgates Jacket


This Columbia jacket has kept me warm and dry from the rainy Pacific Northwest to my home waters in New England. My favorite thing about it is that since it is so lightweight, it doesn’t restrict my movement at all like some other watertight jackets I have tried, and it mitigates windchill very effectively. Ventilation under the arms also prevents you from getting chilled if you work up a sweat while onboard. This is a great, cost-effective option for my fellow open boaters. You can buy the Windgates jacket here for $99

Soundings art director Briana Smith:

BrüMate Hopsulator Slim Koozie


These koozies from BrüMate are amazing at keeping slim cans cold. Since I don’t drink beer, they are great for spiked seltzers on the boat. The koozie doesn’t condensate, the push-lock gasket holds your drink inside and they fit the cup holders on the boat! You can order it here for $19.99

XtraTuf Ankle Deck Boot


My husband and I both love our XtraTuf boots. I bought them for an 8-hour fishing charter, and they were comfortable without breaking them in. They keep your feet dry and never slip on the deck. You will catch both of us wearing these on and off the boat. You can order them here for $95

Soundings executive editor Pim Van Hemmen:

Helly Hansen Crew Hooded Jacket


The Helly Hansen Men’s Crew Hooded Jacket has become my go to jacket for almost all my boat rides. It’s windproof, waterproof and breathable. It’s thin enough that I don’t overheat on warm days and roomy enough on cold days that I can comfortably wear multiple layers beneath it. It also does a great job of making my not-so-svelte body look 20 years younger. Just for that, I’d pay twice the price. You can order it here for $160

ACR ResQLink 400 Personal Locator Beacon


Because I sometimes go offshore alone, I needed an emergency beacon in case I fell off the boat. To give my wife peace of mind, I bought the ACR ResQLink 400 Personal Locator Beacon. I hope I will never end up in the drink, but if I do, I bet I’ll be happy to have this PLB on my PFD so the USCG can find me. You can order it here for $349



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