Stuck for a gift idea for the sailor in your life? We choose the best Christmas gifts for sailors which are guaranteed to put a smile on their face on 25 December
Stuck wondering what to buy for the sailor or sailing enthusiast in your life? Picking the right Christmas gift for a sailor can be tricky, so we’ve picked out the best gifts for sailors as chosen by the Yachting Monthly team!
We have searched through our best-on-test boating gear of 2021 and 2022 to pick the perfect gift for the sailor in your life. Everything included in this list is something the editorial team – passionate sailors all – would like to receive as a gift, so you can be sure that this is a list of truly useful and interesting gifts for sailors and cruisers.
Not everyone is on the same budget, so we have sectioned our gift guide by price, you can skip to each section below.
Best Christmas gifts for sailors under £100
Dock & Bay Cabana Beach Towel small
Modern travel towels are ideal for any sailor, especially as space can be at a premium on a boat. The Dock & Bay Microfibre towels are made from 100% recycled material, which makes them super absorbent and quick-drying. They come in five sizes or in sets of three, in various colours and designs, and in a neat drawstring bag. The company also has a charity range, for those who want to give something back.
Ticket to the Moon Original Hammock
What better way to get you through the winter evenings than imagining lazing in a hammock on your own boat? Made in Bali, Indonesia, Ticket to the Moon hammocks are free of PFCs and other harmful chemicals, and are ethically made.
Constructed using skin-friendly OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 parachute silk nylon, they are designed to be light and portable, and come with a 10-year guarantee, and their own pouch.
Gerber EZ Out Rescue Knife
The Gerber EZ-Out is one of our favourite sailing knives, and has featured at the top of our knife group gear tests due to its cutting ability; it scythed through Dyneema halyard, webbing or polypropylene line in seconds.
The 7.8cm-long single blade has a rounded tip, and is easy and safe to open one-handed. The blade locks well and is easily returned via a push point on the rear. At 73.7g, the EZ-Out Rescue is very light and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Tribord Floating Sunglasses Polarised UV Protection
Decathlon’s designers have developed these Tribord glasses for sailing and nautical activities.
Floating glasses with polarised category-3 lenses for 100% UV protection filter out glare from the surface of the water.
Practical if dropped, they float.
The wraparound style protects your eyes from all directions.
Available in black with electric blue lenses or with petrol blue frames and matt black lenses.
Saltee SPF 50
A nice little reminder that sunshine-filled sailing days will soon return, this new solar protection range is formulated specifically to eliminate the use of oxybenzone and zinc oxide nanoparticles, common sunscreen ingredients now known to negatively impact aquatic organisms, including fish, and to accelerate coral bleaching.
Instead, active ingredients, such as cucumber extract and birch water (both rich in amino acids) are used to help cool and hydrate the skin. Saltee say they’re determined that their products follow strictly sustainable principles and intend to continue monitoring and researching the effects their sun protection products might have on sea life.
Orca Bay Sandusky Leather Deck Shoes
Featuring a machine washable Nubuck upper and off-white rubber siped sole, that is non-slip and non-marking, this is a comfortable but stylish deck shoe from Orca Bay.
Other features include a cushioned EVA heel cup; hand stitching; rawhide leather lace and rustproof eyelets.
When washing, the technique is to put the shoes into a washing bag or pillow case, use a mild detergent – Maximum 30 degrees.
After washing, stuff with paper to retain shape and allow to dry naturally.
Available in a range of colour options, and both men’s and women’s versions.
Chatham Men’s Sperrin Boat Shoes
An autumnal twist to Chatham’s classic boat shoe, the Sperrin is made from soft leather and features antibacterial performance cushioning so you could wear them without socks when the weather gets warmer. The sole also has shock absorption, which promises comfort no matter what surface you walk over.
This rugged shoe has three-eyelet laces, side lace and contrast stitching detail. The heavy cleated sole has flex and grip, which is especially useful on wet pontoon surfaces or decks. It is available in tan or dark brown and in sizes 6-15. A women’s version is also available in tan, sizes 3-8.
BioLite Alpenglow Lantern
Designed to mimic natural light, the Alpenglow lantern produces a warm dimmable light. It is made using high efficiency ChromaReal LED technology, giving a decent burn time of five hours at full power, or 200 hours on low power.The light can mimic a candle’s flicker, or produce any colour you like.
It comes in either a 250-lumen intensity or 500 lumens, and takes 3 hours to recharge. It has an IPX4 rating so it can withstand rain and splashing. It also features a useful fold-out hook for hanging from the boom or inside the saloon.
Best Christmas gifts for sailors from £100-£500
Baltic Safety Athena Women’s Fitted Lifejacket
An inflatable lifejacket developed to achieve the best possible fit for women.
Placing the 33G CO auto inflation valve horizontally under the bust gives the slimline lifejacket a better fit.
This neat and flexible 165N jacket is fully adjustable. It comes with padding for extra comfort and an airy mesh lining.
Athena is also lightweight, easy to put on – you don’t have to thread it over your head – and easily closed with Velcro and a quick-release buckle.
Available in one size for 40-120kg, and a chest width of 70-140cm.
Colour options: white/pink, navy/white, and black/grey.
This is the sixth generation of Spinlock’s Deckvest design, and came top in our best lifejacket test earlier this year. At 1.3kg, it is heavier than some other lifejackets, but is comfortable.
It has a sprayhood and can be fitted with a small stowage pocket for a personal locator beacon or a knife. It is available to buy with a standard harness or with an easily reset harness release system, which enables the wearer to disconnect from the safety line by releasing a lever behind the soft loop safety line attachment point of the lifejacket harness.
Exposure RAW Pro headtorch
Great gift for the dark winter months, as reviewed in our headtorches group test (YM May 2023), with an outstanding red light function that offers three levels of brightness, so you won’t ruin the night vision of anyone onboard while reading in a darkened cabin or peering up into the rigging.
The charge status is easy to read on the end button as it will momentarily glow the standard traffic light green, amber or red to let you know its remaining power level.
The head band, meanwhile, has reflective lettering on it to help make it a great deal easier to find in the dark. USB rechargeable, robust and very waterproof.
Helly Hansen Foil Jacket
This sleek sailing jacket is made with recycled materials. The HP Foil Sailing Jacket is lightweight, at just 575g, with a 3-layer, waterproof/breathable Helly Tech Performance construction in combination with PFC-free, water- repellent treatment to keep sea spray out.
Extra features include a high-vis packable hood, adjustable cuffs, two hand pockets with brushed lining, a one-hand adjustable hem and a D-ring for a kill cord. All seams are fully sealed. It is made from recycled fabric made up of reused plastics that would have become marine debris.
Lewmar Epsilon Winged Anchor
Lewmar’s Epsilon anchor, awarded Super High Holding Power certification by Lloyd’s Register, boasts a unique winged design with a concaved fluke and ballast-tipped keel.
It has the same self-righting geometry as its predecessor the Delta, with self-launching characteristics and a sleek bow profile.
For 20-90ft yachts. In galvanised or stainless steel.
Cobb Premier Air Charcoal Barbecue Grill
The award-winning Cobb is a versatile barbecue as it can roast, bake, fry, boil and smoke food too. It has an insulated surround guard which means it is cool to
the touch and won’t damage sensitive surfaces, and gives peace of mind to anyone nervous about barbecuing onboard.
Just a few charcoal briquettes will give a cooking time of up to three hours. The Cobb’s design means fat and oil drain off into a reservoir so it doesn’t create the smoke and spit of conventional barbecues. It is completely portable and comes with its own carry bag.
Silva Eterna Navigator 3 Binoculars 7 x 50
A popular choice in our review of marine binoculars (YM Summer 2023), this bright and rugged nitrogen-filled pair proved to have excellent optics and a robust casing that will stand up well to being slung around whilst on passage then stowed away in a crowded locker.
The YM test team found that the anti-glare coating, in particular, worked extremely well on the water. Comes with an extra wide neck strap, lens cleaning brush, four protective caps, and a carrying case. Available with or without the option of a built-in compass.
Standard Horizon HX890E VHF
This waterproof (IPX8), floating handheld VHF with DSC comes with a built-in GPS receiver and FM radio. As well as transmitting at 6W, 2W or 1W, there is a Group Monitor feature for the continuous tracking of up to nine other vessels. The 66- channel WAAS/GPS receiver displays your current position, which it attaches to a DSC distress call automatically if activated.
At 2.3 inches, the display is large and clear, and the menu system is straightforward to use. It floats and has a water-activated, sequence programmable emergency strobe. A 1800mAh Li-ion battery comes with the radio for extended use, plus 240Vac or 12Vdc chargers, plus a pack for alkaline batteries.
ACR Resqlink 400 406MHZ GPS Buoyant PLB
Small but resilient, the ResQLink 400 is a buoyant Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) that does not require any subscription for use and fits into the palm of your hands.
With three levels of integrated signal technology – GPS positioning, a powerful 406 MHz signal, and 121.5 MHz homing capability – the ResQLink 400 quickly and accurately relays your position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites.
Additionally, a built-in strobe and infrared strobe facilitate night-time, or other low visibility, rescues.
The ResQLink 400 is easily activated in an emergency situation: deploy the antenna, press the on button, and the beacon will guide rescuers to within 100 metres or less of your position.
The unit is supplied with multifunction clips.
Features include a multi-constellation GPS receiver (GPS & Galileo GNSS); Strobe and Infrared Strobe; 5 year battery life; 24+ hours Operational Life; Self Test & GPS Test function.
Haswing Osapian 55 electric outboard
Winner of the best budget buy in our electric outboards gear test this year, the Haswing Osapian 55 trolling motor has five forward speeds, three reverse on a twist grip throttle, with a promised 55lb thrust. The motor is well engineered with an anode behind the prop, and a spare in the box.
The shaft slides providing for transom heights up to 62cm, 360° rotation, and 10 tilt positions. Excellent value for money for anyone wanting to do short trips.
Best Christmas gifts for sailors over £500
Musto MPX Gortex Offshore Oilskins
The Musto MPX Collection was improved with an updated fit for 2021, with the jacket getting a darted sleeve construction for enhanced articulation, whilst the trousers were redesigned with a 200g reduction in weight.
Articulated knee and seat reinforcements combine a full spectrum of motion with enhanced durability.
Constructed from cutting-edge 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro fabric for remarkable waterproof, windproof and durable protection, that’s also incredibly breathable to keep you comfortable in all weather.
The jacket features a heat retentive grid fleece lined funnel and hood pod with a highly protective, adjustable spume.
These offshore waterproofs are available in black, blue, red and ‘platinum’ grey.
Garmin Quatix 7 Watch
This is not a cheap option, but Garmin has added plenty of boat-specific features to its Quatix 7, making it appealing to those sailors who love the latest tech. As well as monitoring your heart rate, receiving screen calls and notifications, and streaming music, the watch comes with a multifunction display (MFD) control interface, an anchor alarm, autopilot control, and you can stream data including water depth, engine RPM, and wind speeds.
The watch is only compatible with Garmin marine instruments.
Ocean Signal rescueME PLB3
Small yet powerful unit combining AIS, GPS and a 406 MHz Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), which won last year’s prestigious DAME Award. Just 20cm long and light enough (190g) to fit into your lifejacket, it can project visible spectrum and infrared signal lights. Also sports Return Link Service (RLS) technology which provides the casualty with clear, morale-boosting, confirmation that their distress signal has been received and passed on to the nearest search and rescue services.
Comes with a well-illustrated instruction manual and Near Field Communication app so you can test it using your mobile telephone. Five-year battery life and no need for an additional subscription.
Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated sailing page for more marine products.