Coming home from grandma’s house with a car load of presents is awesome, unless you live on a boat and don’t have anywhere to put those presents.
We’ve had to humbly ask our family to limit the volume of presents this year to one per kid. That’s one of the upsides to living on a boat; it forces us to have less things.
As for you and yours, I want to give you some ideas for great gifts for your liveaboard-loved-ones. Because, honestly, it’s probably tough to come up with gift ideas that fit the lifestyle and needs of someone who lives on a boat.
Feel free to forward this blog post to your parents to help them out. 😃
What NOT to Give a Liveaboard Loved One
First, let’s get a few things out of the way. Your liveaboard friends and family probably don’t want something decorative that has a picture of a boat on it; like a throw pillow or a painting. That’s not going to be super helpful on a boat.
Second, a lot of the stuff on boats is expensive. This list focuses on the things that bring the most value to the boat life without forcing you to get a second job.
Let’s jump into 8 awesome gifts for people who live on a boat.
I love head lamps because their multipurpose. I can hold it in my hand like a flashlight or strap it to my noggin for handsfree illumination. Don’t get clever with rechargeable head lamps. The charging cable adds to the clutter and complexity. Opt for a head lamp that uses batteries that are easy to find and buy in bulk in any store. I prefer AAA batteries.
This one might sound weird, but if you’ve ever dropped a screwdriver in a marina or when you’re at anchor in 10 feet of water, you’ll know how valuable this oddity can be. Ours is literally a magnet on a 20 foot string and it’s saved me twice in the last 4 months.
Although I get teased from time to time, I always carry a multitool on my belt. It’s a Leatherman Skeletool that I’ve had for a few years. The tools on my Leatherman that I can’t live without are the knife, screwdriver, and pliers. Other features are gimmicks.
Many liveaboard boats don’t have a big sound system and installing one isn’t worth the cost or headache. We had a Jambox for several years that recently gave up the ghost. We used it to stream music or amplify the sound of a movie we were watching on our phones.
Most liveaboards I know have a basket of various sunscreens for different occasions. Having one more never hurts. If you want to get fancy, look for sunscreen that’s hypoallergenic, includes bug repellant, or is all-natural (no harmful chemicals); bonus points if it has essential oils.
West Marine is the Walmart of the boat world, albeit far more expensive. While $50 won’t replace a sunk dinghy, it could be very helpful the next time your liveaboard loved one needs to de-stink their head or replace a length of hose…or any of a thousand other small needs.
Our smartphones are our lifeline to the rest of the world when we’re out cruising. We keep them on us at all times. That means we need a way to keep them dry and out of the salt air. A smartphone sleeve is a handy way to keep your smartphone accessible and useable without exposing it to the elements.
This is the only one on the list that’ll most likely put you over the $50 limit. It is, however, an incredibly valuable tool. Most boats have a built-in VHF radio to hail nearby boats, talk to marina offices, or call for help. Dinghies and tenders don’t usually have one built-in, so a handheld VHF could literally be a lifesaver.