There’s something for everyone, from affordable to big budget and super stylish, in our Christmas gift guide, all guaranteed to put a big smile on your festive faces...
Seawater & Sawdust
MBY contributors Tom and Lorraine Owen don’t like to make things easy for themselves; rather than buying a second-hand motor boat, they built their own new one from scratch.
Now they’ve written a book about the experience, recounting every painstaking step on the journey from stack of raw timber to 30-foot wheelhouse cruiser in such detail that you can smell the sawdust on every page.
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Gill OS2 Offcut Edition boating jacket
We’re big fans of Gill’s range of wet weather gear and this new limited edition Offcut version of its best-selling OS2 jacket is a case in point. Made from off-cuts of material that would normally be discarded, it not only reduces waste and its impact on the environment but the patchwork of different colours also results in a rather striking design.
Featuring the same waterproof, windproof and breathable material as the regular OS2 jacket, just 50 of these Offcut Editions are being made with 20% of the sale price going to Plastic Oceans to help the fight against plastic entering our seas.
Spinnaker Dumas watch
Named after the diving pioneer Frédéric Dumas, this handsome vintage timepiece is inspired by dive watch designs of the 1970s. It features an adjustable mesh bracelet and chunky octagonal chassis with sapphire crystal lens and clear, unfussy dial with an oversized minute hand and date window.
It’s not just designed to look like a dive watch; water resistant to 984ft (300m) it will serve the serious scuba enthusiast as well as those who just fancy the odd dip off the bathing platform. It comes in a variety of colours and, considering the quality, is impressive value for money.
RRP: £399 / $399
Nothing says Happy Christmas quite like a subscription to your favourite boating magazine, except perhaps a fat bloke with a white beard, roast turkey with all the trimmings, pine needles all over the carpet and a corny advert for John Lewis.
But, whereas most of them will be done and dusted by 26 December, a subscription to MBY will keep your boat-mad husband/wife/partner/child/friend entertained all year for less than the price of a 12lb Norfolk Bronze.
RRP: From £22.49 for six months
Riva Backgammon Set
No MBY Christmas gift guide would be complete without a spectacularly expensive piece of Riva branded product design and sure enough the Italian yard has outdone itself with this beautifully crafted mahogany, maple, stainless steel and leather or fabric backgammon set.
It’s the kind of set you expect to see being played between 007 and a Bond villain to decide the fate of the western world on a throw of its turquoise dice.
Helly Hansen W Copenhagen boat shoes
Not everybody is into the look of traditional deck shoes so these low profile sneakers from Helly Hansen are a good compromise. The rubber outsole should prove grippy enough for work on deck but, available in pink, navy and off white with a signal flag motif on the heel, they’re more stylish than your average deckie.
The tumbled leather uppers with suede trim won’t enjoy a sloshing from a rogue wave but these trendy trainers won’t look out of place away from the boat.
For more options, from deck trainers to leather moccasins, check out YBW’s guide to the best boat shoes available right now.
Harbour Hounds Drying Robe
Dog-loving boat enthusiast Sarah Engerran set up Harbour Hounds specifically to cater for our nautical four-legged friends and this cosy looking drying robe would make the perfect Christmas present for any pampered pooch.
Not only will it keep your mutt warm and dry after a dip in the briny but it will save your boat’s upholstery from a salty soaking. Other canine gifts include nautical themed collars, leads, toys and even bandanas!
Muggi drinks carrier
Back in the days when we were actually allowed to work in an office together, our Muggi was a key member of the MBY team. Perfect for ferrying the team’s piping hot brews in one hand and a fistful of custard creams in the other, it really took the sting out of the logistical nightmare that was the office tea run.
It also works rather well on boats, where its deep drinks holders and grippy feet ensure the risk of a spillage is kept to a minimum. Even better, all Muggis are now made out of 100% recycled material, including recovered marine plastic.
RRP: £14.95 / $29
Artist Suzanne Chisnell is a boat enthusiast with an eye for detail and a dab hand with a brush. She will paint a portrait of your boat in oil or pastel at a size to suit your intended hanging space and pocket!
All you need to do is send her a suitable photograph of your boat and discuss your preferred dimensions and style – perfect for reminding you of sunny days on the water when you’re stuck at home in the depths of winter.
Kraken 10ft 6in All Rounder stand-up paddleboard
Paddle boarding is all the rage so why not get set for next season with this excellent SUP package from British company Kraken? This inflatable board packs away into a wheelie backpack style bag and weighs just 12kg with a maximum user weight of 130kg.
In the box you get the board, an aluminium paddle, double action pump, fin, leash and repair kit. We like the turquoise colour scheme but there is a grey version if you’re after something more subtle.
The OLAS Guardian works by wirelessly logging up to 15 crew members via small wearable transmitters that are worn on the wrist. If the transmitter is submerged or strays too far from the boat the engine is cut.
Being wireless, the skipper can move around the boat freely to attach lines and fenders, safe in the knowledge that the virtual kill cord is safely in place. Clever stuff and nothing says Christmas cheer like personal safety equipment.
MiRider One folding electric bike
Its 36v battery teamed with a geared brushless motor delivers a top speed of 15mph and a range of 35 miles on a charge. There are five assistance levels that can be dialled in either through the pedals or via a thumb throttle on the handlebars.
Designed and built here in the UK, it’s available in grey, orange and white.
RNLI Welly Boot Stocking
There’s absolutely no chance of Santa Claus missing this charming stocking in the style of an RNLI crew boot. Made from 100% cotton in bright yellow with a built-in hook for attaching to the fireplace, old St. Nick will easily spot this despite the effects of the night’s countless sherries.
Best of all, in buying one of these you are supporting the brave volunteers of the RNLI.
A Small Boat Around Britain
Philip Davies and Nigel Boutwood, the two plucky MBY readers who motored round the whole of the British mainland in a 28ft Rhea 850 and whose story we serialised in the magazine, have published a hardback book about their adventures.
All profits from the book will go to the two charities they supported on their circumnavigation – Brain Tumour Research and Prostate Cancer UK.
Marloe Coniston Speed Edition boating watch
Editor Hugo is obsessed with the Campbell clan of record breakers so this limited edition timepiece from British watchmaker Marloe is right up his street. It celebrates the world waterspeed record set by Sir Malcolm Campbell in Blue Bird K3 on Lake Maggiore (not Coniston as the name suggests) in 1937.
Each of the 500 limited edition watches comes in a beautifully presented box complete with a booklet celebrating his achievements. The watch has a high-quality mechanical movement visible through the glass window on the rear.
American Tourister Airconic suitcase
In the ongoing battle with airlines and their war on cabin luggage the Airconic is a secret weapon. Not only are its dimensions compact enough to keep your mind at ease if you’re unlucky enough to be the last on board but the 55cm version weighs just 2kg. Two kilograms!
It comes in a range of colours and thanks to that lightweight frame and four wheels, it’s a dream to whizz through the airport.
Garmin Quatix 5 Sapphire smart watch
The Quatix 5 is one of the toughest, most function-packed boating watches on the market. Alongside the usual sport and activity modes, thanks to built-in GPS the watch can be used for navigation and even to control your Garmin autopilot. It will also connect via Bluetooth to Fusion AV systems and Garmin Virb cameras. It comes with swappable metal and silicone straps.
RRP: £649.99 / $730
If your budget quite won’t stretch that far, read YBW’s guide to the best sailing watches available right now.
Nauticalia unisex Submariner sweaters
No Christmas would be complete without a woolly jumper nestled beneath the tree and this Submariner from Nauticalia is sure to keep you warm and cosy during winter nights on board. Available in ecru or navy, it’s made from Merino wool with interlinked seams for added strength.
PowerVision PowerDolphin underwater drone
The PowerDolphin’s rotating HD camera is able to shoot 4K video and high quality stills across a 215° arc above and below water level.
Whether filming surfing, sailing, diving, or scouring the best fishing spots, the drone relays its footage to a smartphone via the Vision+ app. It’s capable of 8 knots flat out with a battery life of up to 2.5 hours.
This simple device uses insulation rather than power to create wonderfully rich slow-cooked stews. You just bring the pot to the boil, pop it in the bag and let it simmer for up to 12 hours, saving energy and reducing emissions. The company also provides subsidised Wonderbags to African communities.
Nauticalia Royal Navy Glasses
Keep track of your festive tipple and make sure no one’s drinking the captain’s gin with these attractive engraved tumblers, inspired by the emblems used on the sleeves of Royal Navy uniforms. Choose from ‘Captain’, ‘First mate’, ‘Skipper’ and ‘Crew’. Cheers!
Lifeventure compact changing robe
Banish that awkward moment, when you stagger around the cockpit trying to slip off your wet trunks with one hand while holding up your towel with the other, with this unisex changing robe.
Made out of super-absorbent microfibre, it rolls up into a pocket-sized holdall or there’s a chunkier, warmer version if space allows.
Riva scented diffuser gimbal
Fed up with nasty niffs on your boat? Riva has the answer in the form of this beautifully engineered stainless steel and mahogany gimbal. Designed to hold one of its own scented candles or reed diffuser bottles, it will swing with the boat’s motion to ensure they stay upright at all times.
It’s not cheap – the diffuser is another €95 extra – but it’s less expensive than a full stabiliser system!
AnySharp knife sharpener
Is it just us or do knives lose their edge faster onboard? The AnySharp Pro is a very effective knife sharpener that will work on anything from a serrated sailing knife to the finest Sabatier carving blade.
A sturdy metal body with a powerful built-in suction cup means you can attach it to any flat surface and keep your hands well away from the cutting edge while sharpening. Perfect for the galley or tool box!
RRP: £8 / $14.99
Casio’s G-Shock range has been producing tough timepieces for years and the Gulfmaster is one designed specifically for maritime activity.
Suitable for professional diving with water resistance rated at 200m, it features a thermometer, tide graph, digital compass, and moon phase graph. For the money it’s an impressively capable bit of kit.
RRP: £260 / $199
Helly Hansen Lifaloft Hybrid Insulator
This lightweight jacket is designed for winter sports, but as long as you’re not heading out in harsh conditions, it’s a warm, stylish option.
It’s water resistant and windproof plus the stretchy fabric on the arms aids movement. It scrunches down for packing and comes in a range of colours.
RRP: £160 / $140
Lifeventure thermal travel mug
Every boat owner needs one of these to keep their cuppa warm at the helm when the rest of the crew are sheltering from the cold in the saloon.
The stainless steel casing has a matt finish for better grip with cold, wet hands, plus a flip-top lid to prevent accidental spills. The vacuum-insulated walls will keep your drink piping hot for up to three hours.
RRP: £13.99 / $15
Fusion Apollo RA 670 marine stereo
This neat little stereo system packs all the power and connectivity of the award-winning Fusion Apollo series into a more compact, waterproof unit that takes up less space on today’s increasingly cluttered helm stations.
It links to your phone via the Fusion-link app so you can control it by remote and fine tune the sound as well as stream your favourite music via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or the built-in AM/FM radio.
RRP: £440 / $449
Red Paddle Co Compact SUP
SUPs have become a must-have boating accessory but even when deflated they seem to take up an inordinate amount of space on board.
This Compact SUP from the Red Paddle Co folds down into a neat backpack that weighs only 12.7kg. A patented construction process means once inflated it’s a rigid, full-sized 9ft 6in board, suitable for riders of up to 95kg.
Gill Polar Jacket
There are fleeces and there is Gill’s Polar Jacket. Lined with a kind of soft faux fur on the inside but with a tougher, more densely knitted exterior, it is windproof and incredibly warm, but lighter and more comfortable to wear than a conventional boating jacket. It’s not waterproof, but as a mid-layer under a thin waterproof jacket or on its own in cold, dry weather it’s a great bit of kit.
RRP: £90 / $119
Nauticalia floating keyring
It doesn’t matter whether the boat is a £5,000 Fletcher or a £5 million Sunseeker, if you drop the keys in the water, they’re going down.
Unless they’re attached to a large piece of buoyant cork, of course. And if you’re going to have a cork keyring, why not make it champagne cork shaped?
Power Ray underwater drone
The idea of exploring the subaqua world beneath your boat can be very enticing, the reality of cold water and fogged up diving masks less so. Now you can explore it from the comfort of your cockpit via this underwater drone. It streams high res video as it dives at up to 4 knots to a depth of almost 100ft.
RRP: £1,699 / $999
Overboard waterproof duffel bag
We’re massive fans of this versatile dry bag. The 40-litre version is small enough to carry one-handed and stuff into most boat lockers but big enough to swallow cameras, binos, handheld VHFs and more. It’s also a very robust bag, totally waterproof, easy to find things in and peppered with useful pockets, straps and carry handles.
RRP: £59.99 / $49
Helly Hansen HP half-zip pullover
This mid-layer top is made from double-knit polyester for light protection from the cold. The lightweight material makes it quick to dry if you do get a soaking and it’s easy to pack into a small bag for short trips away. The high zip collar will help to keep your neck warm and it’s available in a good variety of colours.
RRP: £50 / $65
Standard Horizon HX40E VHF radio
This waterproof marine radio, which is about the size of a pack of playing cards, is compact but packs a punch. It boasts 6W of transmitting power, an FM radio and a bright dot matrix screen that remains clear even in direct sunlight. Chunky buttons on the simple fascia make it easy to use with gloves.
RRP: £129.95 / $119
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Moon Navigator
Limited to just 1,000 units this handsome looking watch combines premium quality and style with genuine usability for mariners.
It has an illuminated moon phase display and hour and minute hands powered by micro gas tubes so no light source is needed to read the face in the dark. It also displays high and low tide over a two-week period and is water resistant to 330ft (100m). Available with a black or blue face.
Lumishore underwater lights
Why do you need underwater lights? Because they’re cool and they turn your bathing platform into an aquarium at night. Lumishore offer a huge range of super bright LED lights suitable for RIBs through to superyachts, either through hull or surface mount and either single colour or colour changing.
JL Audio M Series speakers
M Series are JL Audio’s top-end speakers. Available in a variety of sizes and styles, they start at 6.5 inch (165mm) making them a straight swap for many existing pre-installed speakers.
However, while they might be the same size, they certainly don’t make the same noise. Expect crystal clear sound quality that doesn’t deteriorate as the volume rises.
Opticron Explorer WA-ED Oasis-C binoculars
A good pair of binoculars are essential on board ship. These Opticron Explorer bins are ideal for boating as they are fully waterproof and have a rubberised coating meaning that they’re easy to grip with wet hands, are less inclined to slide about when it’s rough and won’t scratch your precious woodwork.
For more options, check out YBW’s guide to the best marine binoculars available right now.
GoXtreme Rebel action camera
It may not have the big name appeal of better known brands but the GoXtreme Rebel looks cracking value for money. It shoots in 720p HD with a 140 degree wide-angle view and can take up to 16mp still images, too. Built-in Wi-Fi syncs to a free app allowing a smartphone to be used as a viewfinder and is waterproof to 30 metres.
Riz Recycled Board Shorts
These hand-tailored swim shorts are made from a light but comfortable fabric created from recycled plastic bottles. In a further effort to combat plastics in our oceans, the company also donates £1 from every pair sold to the Marine Conservation Society. Available in three different lengths and a wide variety of prints, they make exactly the right kind of fashion statement.
Papa’s Pilar rum
Because every seafarer enjoys a drop of rum, right?! Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s adventures between Florida and Cuba on his boat, Pilar, this rum brand was created in collaboration with Hemingway’s estate, and the family remains involved and donates a majority of its proceeds to charity.