Well, the holiday season is upon us dear boaters, and before you receive a glazed ham from the in-laws or yet another holiday sweater to try to improve your appearance, take matters into your own hands. Print this list and place it somewhere subtle, perhaps duct-taped to your spouse’s forehead. Then when Santa comes down the chimney, he’ll have something for you that will be useful.

Boat and rock and splash. Photo: Onne van der Wal

Onne van der Wal's book Sailing is filled with stunning images like this one. Photo: Onne van der Wal

1. Multi-tool: Every boater should have at least one. The Leatherman SideKick is available on grandma’s favorite website, LL Bean. It comes in at $49.50 and sure comes in handy in an emergency.

2. You can never have too many Nitrile Medical Exam gloves. With all of the little painting and gluing projects any boat requires, they sure come in handy. They’re a great stocking stuffer at $18.99/box. Find ‘em here

3. And speaking of painting, there are times when it's just no fun to clean the brush, especially for a small job. If you have a case of foam brushes on hand, you can throw it out when the job is done. Jamestown Distributors is a great source for all things boating, and foam brushes are no exception. $10.99/box

4. But: every now and then, you're going to do a varnishing job that deserves the ultimate brush, the kind of brush where you hear the angels singing when you pick it up. That’s the Epifanes brush. Keep it clean and it will last you a lifetime. $37.99

5. You need to cut a lot of things when you work on the boat. How about adding a pair of sheers to your tool collection that are a joy to look at, to hold, and to use? Wiss Shears (don’t call them scissors) are the ultimate. This is a family heirloom tool. Once you own them, you won’t know how you lived without them. $42.67

6. Sure, a diamond is forever. But so too is a Harbor Freight tool chest for the garage. It comes with plenty of drawers to organize all of your tools, so you can find what you need when you need it. And it’s on wheels so you can push it out to the driveway next to the boat while you do a project. It’s $388.89, but similar tool chests from other providers cost ten times more.

7. There are a lot of nasty chemicals involved in boat maintenance, so protect yourself with a 3M respirator. Jamestown Distributors has plenty, including a model for just $33.99. It’s a great stocking stuffer as well as a lung saver.

8. Hand held VHF radio. The technology is getting higher and the prices are getting lower. This solid middle of the line model is just $139.99 and could really come in handy during an emergency. Copy that.

9. If you can’t be on the water for the winter, you might as well be looking at beautiful photos of people on the water. Onne van der Wal's book Sailing is filled with buttery, beautiful boating imagery from around the world. $100.

10. Gift certificate to West Marine. You just can’t go wrong with this one, as there’s always something more you need from the marine super store.

Now, don't forget: print this list and duct-tape it somewhere obvious. Happy shopping!




Written by: Joe Berkeley
Joe Berkeley has written for The Boston Globe, Fine Homebuilding, Hemmings and other publications. He was the captain of the Tufts sailing team and won the International 110 Nationals twice, in 1992 and 2014. He has also completed the Laser Master's Worlds without assuming the fetal position. As a Creative Director in advertising, he has penned noteworthy campaigns for the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts, Fidelity, John Hancock, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Liberty Mutual, Bank of America and Sail Newport. His blog is at freelanceisgood.com.