Gift Ideas for Cruisers & Sailors


Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by Amy

Finding the perfect gift for a cruiser is hard! We live in tiny homes, so we only have things onboard that serve multiple purposes or that we use frequently. They have to be compact and practical, space saving and low-maintenance.

Before you buy that Amazon giftcard, let me walk you through more than twenty ideas I have for gifts. Some of these items are things that I’ve used over my seven years living aboard and some of them are things that I’d wish I’d had while I was out circumnavigating the world.

For the Active Sailor

Dyneema is incredibly useful around the boat, and though it’s expensive, we often need small amounts for projects. Soft shackles and eye-splices are common projects.

One of the most common items we lose or break on our boat is our sunglasses! A good pair of polarized sunglasses is a great gift for any sailor.

For Happy Hour and Entertainment

I love these nautical wine charms my mom gave me. They fit perfectly on our plastic wine glass stems and help us tell drinks apart when we have sundowners.

The Bar10der is a great tool to make sundowners and hardly takes up any space. It’s a 10-in-1 bar tool!

We might get invited over to another boat for sundowners and want to bring a pre-made cocktail. Having a spill-proof, insulated tumbler for the dinghy ride over is perfect. Here’s a 10-oz travel cup for sipping or a 16-oz tumbler with a straw.

A waterproof Bluetooth speaker is a great idea. The speaker can be taken to shore for a bonfire or put in the dinghy for a raft-up.

There are plenty of reference books that are great to have onboard. Or, you can give digital or physical copies of our favorite cruising memoirs or sailing fiction books.

For the Fisher

Every fisher loses lures, and they are constantly on the lookout for good ones. Try a cedar plug or a squid jig.

A pair of cut resistant gloves will keep your favorite fisher’s hand safe while processing their catch, as well as a good quality sharp fillet knife with a case.

Cutting up your catch makes EVERYTHING smell. I used to just scrub really hard and use a lot of soap and water until someone gave me a special fish-scent-removal soap to get rid of the smell. Now clean up takes so much less time!

Digital Gifts

For an avid reader, a subscription to Kindle Unlimited means access to over a million titles – including many cruising memoirs. Here’s the link to gift a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

For an American, Global Entry is a gift that says ‘come home more often’. Next time your cruiser is in the airport they can apply for Global Entry, easing their flights back home.

How about a subscription to Skillshare, Masterclass, or another online learning service? Or a subscription to Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime Video? For sailing-specific gifts, The Boat Galley and Sailing Britican both have online courses, books, and checklists available. Perhaps your cruising friends would like to learn a language? You can give them a Duolingo Plus membership.

Personal Products

Sailors with long hair will appreciate having a microfiber head towel. I have always had long hair on the boat, and using a head towel like these allows me to wrap my hair up after a shower. My hair won’t drip onto my clothes or the boat. My hair and the towel dries faster than a bath towel, and it’s not as heavy or long as a bath towel, even a terry cloth or turkish towel. I prefer the ones with the button, which will still work even when the elastic has stretched out.

Sunscreens are products that have been well-tested, since David and I both have fair skin. My sunscreen of choice that I use everyday is Tizo 3 mineral sunscreen. It’s slightly tinted with a matte finish, perfect for everyday wear.

A classic gift, jewelry can be a great gift if done right. The perfect piece isn’t extremely valuable, and I like pewter because it doesn’t tarnish. I have some lovely jewelry I enjoy wearing that I got as gifts.

Many cruisers opt not to wear wedding bands while cruising, as it can lead to dangerous situations and potentially losing a finger. Now, persons in professions with the same danger often wear silicone rings. You don’t have to choose a color; they come in packs!

Physical Gifts

Galley equipment is always fun and useful. David gave me this amazing color-changing sailing mug for my birthday one year!

A classic weather station is a very generous gift, but it is also practical and nautical. We have one onboard, and it’s the only place we have a barometer.

One of my friends in Australia, Alison, changed my life when she gave me a bottle of eucalyptus oil. I use it all the time for cleaning now. The oil removes sticky residue and leaves behind a pleasant smell. Whenever I need to clean the trash area or food storage lockers, I always end with a wipe down of eucalyptus oil.

When traveling around in our dinghy or running errands, it’s entirely possible we’re going to get wet, either being splashed in the dinghy, falling in, or some good old fashioned rain. We keep our valuables and electronics dry with UGO Wear waterproof cases. Use code OCSugo for 10% off your order.

We also have basic drybags: small one for the necessities and a big drybag backpack.

Another small, handy gift is a solar-powered portable light. Again, this can be taken to shore for picnics or used on the boat to light up any space.

Most sailors wouldn’t have a vase aboard because they are heavy and take up a lot of space. I adore my Modgy vase through; it packs flat when not in use but stands steady when filled with water.

Need More Ideas?

Here are blog posts with gift ideas based on topics:

What are you buying your favorite cruiser this year?

Pin it!


  1. Hi Jeff,

    Happy to share some of our spreadsheets with you and congrats on your Helia. We’re jealous that your wait is shorter than ours! Where are you going to be keeping your boat?

  2. Starry Horizons,
    Merry Xmas . It’s been a lot of fun following your adventures so far , we also are picking up a FP Helia 44 end of April
    2014 , well done and keep the spread sheets rolling ( I may need to see them sometime , spreadsheets are not one of my strong points)
    Have a fantastic new year and happy sailing
    Re: Jeff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.