Are you looking for last-minute gift ideas for yourself or that special boater in your life?  Then you have come to the right place.   I’ve put together my top 13 boater gift ideas based on items that I currently have, or would like to get, for my boats.

Selection Criteria

In assembling my list of boating gifts, I used the following selection criteria:

  • Wants, Not Needs. I looked for things that boaters like myself would desire but are not essentials that they likely already own.
  • Good Ratings. For each type of product listed, I identified a specific product that I either had a positive experience with or gets good reviews (if listed).
  • Under $100. Yes, boating is expensive but gift giving should not be.  I’ve identified a list of items that kids and other families could afford to give.

Top 13 Boating Gifts

Here are my top 13 ideas, in no particular order.

1. Portable Flashlight (~$10)

Whenever I go fishing, I typically leave the dock 45 minutes before sunrise.  To keep me from falling into the lake, my wife bought me this handy little flashlight that I absolutely love and use on every trip.  It helps me to walk to the dock and load my gear, untangle my lines or unhook a fish, and I can even use it as a work light to tie on a lure.

This particular model has seven modes, including a spotlight that you can zoom in or out, a lantern, a red light, and a couple of flashing modes in case of a hazard.  There is even a black light that I recently discovered comes in handy for spotting pet stains.

The bottom is magnetic which I suppose would give you hands-free mobility if you were working in the boat bilge or under the hood of your vehicle.  And its rechargeable.

The Hayvenhurst LED Tactical Flashlight currently retails for around $10 at and makes a great gift or stocking stuffer.

Hayvenhurst LED Flashlight - EDC Flashlight - Tactical Flashlight - 3 in 1 Lightweight, Compact and Rechargeable Pocket Flashlight with Lavish Black Body for Emergency Power Outage

2. Portable Toolset (~ $30)

When you are out on the water, your boat often takes a beating – whether from pounding waves, intense heat, underwater obstructions or the corrosive environment.  Things could shake loose and breakdowns can occur.  Noone wants to be that guy that has to flag down another boater or call Sea Tow to get slowly dragged back to the dock.

That is why it is a good idea to bring along a set of tools whenever you go out.  What I love about this 38-piece tool set is that it is compact (because space is always a premium on a boat), comes in a fabric zipper case (so it won’t rattle around), and even has a wire brush and some electrical tape in case you need to do a temporary electrical fix.

This set from Performance Tool retails for around $305 at Amazon and scores a very solid 4.5/5.0 satisfaction rating.

Performance Tool W1197 38 Piece Compact Tool Set with Zipper Case

3. Marine Binoculars (~$103)

One of the things I absolutely love about being out on a boat is that it is always an adventure.  Whether it is a flock of pelicans and cormorants teaming up on some baitfish, a pair of Eagles circling overhead, an Osprey taking a high-speed plunge or a school of bass blowing up in the back of a bay, there is often a lot happening around you.  And one of the best ways to take it all in is with a quality pair of binoculars.

The Celestron Outland X is a very popular and highly rated (4.5 out of 5) pair of binoculars sold on Amazon.  It is a 10×50 binocular meaning that the magnification is 10X, and the outer lens is a sizeable 50mm.  With this larger lens size, more light is gathered which is helpful in low light conditions.  It is also waterproof and fogproof – both of which are helpful in a marine environment.

The current retail price is around $120.

Celestron – Outland X 10x50 Binoculars – Waterproof & Fogproof – Binoculars for Adults – Multi-Coated Optics and BaK-4 Prisms – Protective Rubber Armoring, Black

4. Floating VHF Radio (~$100)

If you are an offshore boater or boat on large bodies of water such as the Great Lakes, then safety is a key concern.  Having a VHF Radio is a must in case problems arise.

The Standard Horizon HX210 handheld VHF radio features a large LCD screen, floats, is waterproof, and comes with a 3-year warranty.  And if it should happen to fall in the water, an emergency strobe light is automatically deployed.  Current price is around $97 at Amazon with a customer rating of 4.6/5.0.

However, for an extra level of safety and if you don’t mind spending a little more, go with something like the HX890 which also has DSC (Digital Selective Calling) and GPS capability.   These features enable you to easily place a distress signal and transmit your location in the event of an emergency.  $180 at Amazon.

Standard Horizon HX210 6W Floating Handheld Marine VHF Transceiver [HX210]

As a boater or angler, you need a quality pair of polarized sunglasses to cut down on glare and to protect your eyes from UV rays.  While there are several brands to choose from, what I love about Wiley X is that all of their lenses are impact resistant.  So when your fishing buddy swings and misses on a gorilla hookset, your eyes should be protected when that ½ oz jig comes flying towards your face at 100 mph.

And their special Captivate polarized lenses do a great job of reducing glare and even enable you to see underwater for sight fishing.

Regular sunglasses for men or women range in price from $100 to $200 at the Wiley X website.  You can also get prescription sunglasses and polarized lenses for an additional charge.

Wiley X Sunglasses

6. Performance Shirts (~$25 to $60)

I have several HUK (pronounced “hook”) performance fishing shirts that I wear year-round.  They are comfortable and provide UV protection which I prefer over bathing in sunscreen lotion.  For spring and summertime fishing and boating, I prefer the ones with vents along the side (like this HUK Pursuit) or across the back (like this HUK Icon X) to help keep you relatively cool even on the warmest days.

However, for cooler weather, they now offer the “Coldfront” line of hoodies and ¼ zip shirts that have fibers to help you stay warm.  Since I fish year-round, this would be perfect for the late fall through winter period here in East Texas.

The great thing about this gift, especially if you go with the Coldfront version, is that they don’t need to wait until the Spring boating season to use it.

Prices vary by item but generally range from $25 to $50 at Amazon.

HUK mens Icon X Coldfront 1/4 Zip | Wind & Water Resistant Shirt, Volcanic Ash Heather, Large

7. Inflatable Life Vest (~$100 – $150)

Bass Pro Inflatable Life Vest
When I fish, I like to keep my life vest on the entire time for added safety even though I know how to swim.  However, a traditional life vest can be a bit bulky and get hots in the summertime.  About a year ago, I upgraded to a “suspenders” style inflatable life vest and have never looked back.  It is so comfortable you almost forget you have it on…even on the hottest of days.

The Bass Pro Shops AM24 life vest retails for about $100.  It will inflate automatically if emersed in water or by pulling on the cord.

If you want an upgraded model and don’t mind paying a little extra, the Bass Pro Shops AM33 All Clear is the one I own and gives you extra buoyancy and provides a see-through window to make it easy to check the status of your CO2 cartridge.  $150 at Bass Pro Shops.

8. Battery Jump Starter (~ $100)

Did you know that heat is much harder on batteries than the cold?  When your battery is getting around 3 or 4 years old, you are basically playing Russian Roulette every time you take your boat out.  Problem is, you don’t want to waste money buying a battery while your current one is still good but you don’t want to risk getting stranded either.

The solution: a portable battery jump starter.  Charge it up and keep this lightweight unit on your boat just in case you turn the key and the engine fails to turn over.  Just connect the leads to your battery terminals and the 1,000 amp lithium battery should easily start you up and get you safely back to the ramp.

This NOCO Boost Plus is the #1 Best Seller on Amazon and has received an impressive 4.7/5.0 rating.

NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000A UltraSafe Car Battery Jump Starter, 12V Battery Pack, Battery Booster, Jump Box, Portable Charger and Jumper Cables for 6.0L Gasoline and 3.0L Diesel Engines, Gray

9. Personalized Nautical Gifts

Lake House SignA personalized gift is a great way to show someone you care about them and Etsy offers a lot of nautical-themed items to choose from.  Whether it’s Nauti Gal/Bad Buoy tumblers, a Welcome Aboard boat mat, or an embroidered Sherpa blanket, there are many options available.  But, as someone who lives on the water, this popular custom Lake House sign caught my attention.   Current prices range from $42 to $96 – depending on the size.

Just remember that if you are ordering a personalized gift, you will have to allow for extra time to have it produced and shipped.

10. Folding Cart (~$100)

If your boat is kept at a dock or in a marina, there is a good chance that you need to lug a lot of stuff down to your boat every time you take it out.  Having a good cart can make life much easier and spare your back.

What I like about this particular cart from Overmont is that it is heavy duty, has a lot of room for a cooler and other items, features wider tires which would be helpful on grass, gravel or soft ground, and it collapses into a small size.  The advantage of this last feature is that you can stow it aboard your boat to make it easier to unpack at the end of the day.

Current price is around $100 on Amazon – which is a lot cheaper and easier than buying a Pack Mule.

Overmont Collapsible Wagon Cart with Wheels - All-terrian 3.2in Wide Wheels - Foldable 150L Large Capacity with Side Pockets for Camping Sports Garden Grocery Shopping - 265lbs Load

11. Digital Scale (~$54)

Anglers are known to exaggerate a bit but with this digital scale, you can keep them honest.  I purchased this Rapala because it is highly accurate, uses a clamp instead of a hook which is easier on the fish, and can weigh up to 50 lbs.  Though I am not a tournament angler, this one also allows you to store and cull your catch.

And I am not the only one who loves this scale.  The Rapala Touch Screen 50 lb scale has received an impressive 4.8/5.0 rating and retails for approximately $54 at Amazon.

Rapala Touch Screen Scale 50lb

12. Lure Retriever (~$16)

This is one of those “why didn’t I get that sooner” type of gifts.  When I first moved to the lake, I lost a LOT of lures.  Then my fishing buddy told me about this Bass Pro Shops lure retriever.  I was amazed at how well it works.  Just slide your fishing line inside the two metal rings and then lower it down to do its magic.   And to make it more convenient to retrieve, I spooled the cord onto an old fishing reel and broken rod.

At approximately $16, it pays for itself in 1 or 2 trips.  Plus, if someone buys it for you, your breakeven is even quicker 😉.  It also makes a good stocking stuffer.

Bass Pro Lure Retriever

13. Reel Maintenance ($~13-$40)

During fishing season, most people (myself included) often neglect their equipment.  But over winter, taking apart your reels to clean and grease them can be very therapeutic.  This Fishing Reel Maintenance Kit, which retails for approximately $40 at Amazon, has all the key tools you need to do “surgery” on your reels.

And to complete the operation, the PENN Grease and Oil combo pack is only $13 and is what I use on my gear.  It also makes a good stocking stuffer.

QUA'ANNYU [Upgraded Version Fishing Reel Maintenance Kit | Reel Cleaning Kit | Fishing Reel Care Kit | Fishing Rod Repair Kit | 24 in 1 Screwdriver (Basic Set + 24-in-1 Screwdriver)

Last Minute Options

If you still can’t decide or are running out of time, a gift card for boating or fishing gear is always welcomed.  Plus, many vendors such as Bass Pro Shops, Tackle Warehouse, TackleDirect, West Marine and Overton’s allow you to send an ecard so you can deliver it the same day.

I hope you found some of my suggestions helpful.  Let me know which ideas you liked best in the comments section below.

Please note that I provided links to the products above for your convenience.  These are things that I personally use or would like to own as a boater.  If you click on a link and buy the listed product or any other, I will receive a small commission that will help offset some of the costs for this site.  Thank you for checking out my article.

Jerry Mona - BoaterInput

About the author

Jerry Mona is an avid boater and angler and long-time boating industry insider. With over three decades of experience, he is often considered to be the leading research expert with boaters and has helped numerous manufacturers and trade associations to understand the needs, wants, attitudes and behaviors of boaters. He now shares many of his insights about boats and boaters for free on his website.

One Comment
  1. Doug Bolles December 3, 2023 at 7:24 am - Reply

    This is a great list! A few of these I may gift to myself…

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