Perfect Gifts for Cruisers: 2022 Edition

Here’s Sailing Totem’s annual gift guide for all the cruisers on your holiday list.

Aqua Fox
The kid boat Aqua Fox racked up friends and memories with a water carpet. Behan Gifford

Special delivery: Sign up for the free Cruising World email newsletter. Subscribe to Cruising World magazine for $29 for 1 year and receive 3 bonus digital issues.

It can be hard to know what to get a cruiser for the holidays, especially during the dreaming and planning years. Here’s our annual gift guide for active and wanna-go cruisers.

For the gonna-go dreamer

Look for books that are practical and inspirational. Books help gonna-go cruisers imagine and prepare for the future. We’re fans of Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes and his companion book, World Cruising Destinations. The former is a shortcut to pilot chart planning; reviewing a recent edition the latter impressed me with destination accuracy. Look for more ideas in our extended list of books for cruisers, which includes everything from inspirational memoirs to practical books we use aboard.

For boats with kids

They’ll love a water carpet. It’s like a lily pad behind the boat. It does take space to stow, but gets rave reviews for facilitating good times. The 6-by-18-foot mat can sometimes be found on sale for less than the 9-by-5-foot version. For more ideas, see our list of kid boat gift ideas in this post a couple of years ago.

For crew who are counting down

Get them downsizing guidance. We organized our favorite tips for downsizing a few months ago. Our favorite for making it happen without tears is Melody DeCroce’s online course, Downsizing for Life Afloat. The digitizing service Legacybox is another one of our faves for downsizing. We also have a series of posts called What Do You Need (to go cruising)?. This links to the first post in the series.

For the DIY rigger

rig inspection
Jamie Gifford always has a loupe handy in order to check the rigging. Behan Gifford

Spoiler alert: every cruiser with faraway intentions needs to be their own rigger. My husband is often found with a loupe in his hand checking out rigging and other metal bits. A loupe, which is basically a small magnifier, is required because eyeballs aren’t enough to see the state of metal. This under-$20 model hangs neatly from a finger when aloft

For the sundowner siren

Cruising can be very social, and we love gathering in the cockpit with friends to find out if today’s the day we’ll see a green flash. When you visit another boat for sundowners, you bring your own glassware and beverages. So, get your favorite cruiser a personalized tumbler. This gift is a winner, no matter whether it will be filled with iced coffee, fizzy water or a margarita. It’s also hard to beat solar-powered LED string lights from MPowerd. The graduating brightness lets you create the perfect evening ambience. Our 2018 gift guide was all about ideas for the social side of cruising.

For the safety ace

Marien checks the current-generation ACR EPIRB on board Totem. We’ll replace it with the V5 model when it’s available. Behan Gifford

A smarter personal locator beacon and VHF radio just took prizes at the marine industry show METS in the Netherlands. We like Icom’s M510 VHF radio, which can pairs with three mobile devices (iOS or Android) as instant remotes. The top award went to a product still awaiting U.S. regulatory approval: Ocean Signal’s PLB3. This slim personal locator beacon transmits both AIS and satellite pings, as does ACR’s (also awaiting approval) new GlobalFix V5 EPIRB. Talk about an awesome safety boost by signaling both ways.

For the galley maven

Canning demonstration
Canning demonstration aboard the Seawind 1160 Jollydogs. DeeDee Christensen

The pressure cooker is an MVP on board. Instant Pot and other electric pressure cookers add convenience to functionality. We compared models here. Before cruising, we purchased a larger Kuhn Rikon to try out at home and wondered how we ever lived without one. Last year, I treated myself to an Instant Pot Max (because, canning!) and will never look back. Gift recipients might also like our favorite instant pot (and pressure cooker) recipes gathered from a range of cruisers. Runner-up gift idea: The handful of folks I know who have used a LeKue bread maker insist it has transformed breadmaking aboard. The silicon bowl is used for mixing, rising and baking. Might be what I treat myself to this year.

For the Shutterbug

nurse shark
Totem floats in crystal-clear Bahamian water while a nurse shark dozes on the sand below. These types of photos, showing above and below the water, require a specific type of camera lens such as an underwater dome lens. Behan Gifford

An underwater dome lens is the best $50 spent on camera equipment for cruising: a bit of kit that gets those super cool split shots where you can see above and below the water. 

More Gear