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Big Things, Small Packages

by Randy Woods
Gift Guide

Christmas stockings stuffed with goodies, just like our boats where every nook, cranny, or cubby holds something valuable, can help the captain keep a shipshape vessel. Plus, well-stuffed stockings can double as festive fenders, hung by the rub-rails with care. As the season of giving approaches, we’ve searched the Pacific Northwest for the best maritime-themed stocking-stuffer ideas—from outdoor gear to galley accessories to beach art—for all the avid boat-lovers on your shopping list. Be sure to get ’em before the yuletide turns!

That’s a Sharp-Lookin’ Fish!

You never know when you’re going to need a knife in the boating world—cutting tangled fishing line, prying open an oyster, fending off disgruntled crabs, etc. This handsome little stainless-steel chopper from Thatcher Ellery, adorned with a contoured brass fish design, comes with a carabiner to clip it to keys or a belt loop for everyday use. The razor sharp 2.5-inch blade folds neatly into its 3.25-inch handle and can be cleaned in a snap. Just remember to remove it before you go to the airport—that’s why it also comes with its own handy storage tin. $24 // thatcherellery.com

Give Your Skin a Marina-Fresh Glow

A life on the open water can enrich your soul, but it can also be an ordeal for sensitive skin. Protect your hardworking epidermis from the ravages of salty air with this Marina brightening elixir from Earth Harbor Naturals. Infused with spirulina cyanobacteria, blue tansy, and other highly concentrated adaptogenic oils, this 100-percent natural potion replenishes the moisture stolen by the harsh marine environment. Marina also helps heal damage from UV exposure and restore skin balance with antioxidants. Plus, the gentle aroma of sweet jasmine will help raise your sails during the long winter months. $19 // thatcherellery.com

Pouch a Wave, Dude

One can never have too many bags to protect valuables on a cruise. This surf-themed pouch will do the job nicely while evoking memories of hangin’ 10 on gnarly ocean swells. Created by Boston-area artist Amanda Williams Gavin, this pouch features a graphic of a crashing wave, painted in vibrant blue ink on natural-cotton canvas. Measuring 9- by 6-inches, the 10-ounce pouch, secured with a natural zipper, is roomy enough to carry most small valuables and strong enough to survive a few wipeouts. Though it’s designed, screen printed, and sewn in New England, the pouch has a timeless, universal look that appeals to beach lovers everywhere. $20 // thatcherellery.com

‘Harvest & Heritage’ Tea Towels

For those who need some fresh inspiration for tasty new dishes to prepare on their next excursion, these tea towels are a great gift to add a spark of culinary creativity. Using line-drawing illustrations from the Salmon Sisters’ new “Harvest & Heritage” cookbook, the square, 27-inch all-cotton towels are a fetching and functional addition to your galley. One towel features side views of everyone’s favorite Northwest fish and the other is a collection of various herbs, spices, kitchen tools, and locally sourced foods found in the region. The towels are sold individually or in a pack of two towels, one of each design. $11 each, or $20 for both // aksalmonsisters.com

Beware of These Coastal Coasters!

Hey, what’s that swimming across your coffee table? Don’t worry, it’s just the latest beach art created by Turks and Caicos-based artist Wellington Williams. This set of four coasters features silhouetted hammerheads, turtles, whales, and manta rays that look so real you’ll swear they’re still wriggling. Using actual white beach sand for a base, the coasters are topped with a translucent turquoise resin that evokes a tropical shore full of vibrant sea life viewed from above. Each one is handmade, so no two are exactly alike. The coasters will help protect your tabletops from drink rings but watch your fingers—they might bite! $50 for set of 4 // uncommongoods.com

She Sells Sea Salt by the Cellar

Another ingenious maritime optical illusion from beach artist Wellington Williams, this salt cellar looks like it just washed over your galley countertop like an incoming tide. Made from bamboo, this circular wooden container is topped with what seems to be a spreading wave drifting over a tropical beach. A mixture of turquoise and white resins uncannily mimics the look of sea foam and bubbles breaking against the shore. The lid covering the salt chamber underneath is held in place by gentle magnets that can be released with a simple twist when you need a little pinch of seasoning—perfect for any salty gourmands on your list. $25 // uncommongoods.com

Keep Your Gear High and Dry

The wade is over! You can now carry your valuables in hip-deep water and keep them all safe and secure with this waterproof Dry Waist Pack from Filson. Using heavy duty, 840-denier nylon tarpaulin fabric, the 8-liter-capacity pack is coated with thermoplastic polyurethane to prevent all moisture from getting inside, yet retains flexibility to reduce abrasion against your body. The lightweight, UV-resistant belt and shoulder-strap are also padded for comfort and lumbar support and stitched using the same techniques used for white-water rafting gear. Designed with the help of Seattle-based anglers, the dry pack gives you hands-free mobility in the wettest possible conditions. $295 // filson.com

Sailing Is All in the Wrist

For a subtle reminder of a boater’s love for the sea that fits virtually any occasion, ElegattoXXI offers this minimalist rope bracelet made of intertwined nautical nylon cords. The Alchor bracelet is knotted around a polished silver-plated shackle and secured with a pin-and-screw clasp. The waterproof, quick-drying bracelet is simple enough to wear every day, yet elegant enough for formal or business occasions. The durable fade-resistant cords can stand up to daily use and retain the shape of the wearer over time. Available in gray, black, or navy, with a dash of contrasting red, this is a must-have gift for everyone who’d always rather be on the open water. $35 // Etsy vendor ElegattoXXI on etsy.com

Relax, We Don’t Need a Bigger Boat

A good captain knows how to always remain calm, even when all seems lost. This whimsical “Seamergency” mug from Duckworks perfectly captures this ethos with artwork depicting a ship being consumed by a tentacled sea monster. The tagline on the reverse side of the disaster scene has been uttered countless times by every overconfident boater facing adversity: “It’s Probably Fine.” The blue-and-white mug with a black handle and interior is dishwasher and microwave safe, but there’s no guarantee it’ll survive the next time Poseidon releases the Kraken. But I wouldn’t worry—what’s the worst that could happen? $18 // duckworks.com

Your LED Safety Beacon Beckons

For those times when everything that could go wrong actually does go wrong, a beacon in the darkness can be a lifesaver. This portable Navilight 360° Rescue light, powered by three AAA batteries, can produce an intense LED beam visible for up to two nautical miles, according to U.S. Coast Guard standards. The waterproof, floatable unit can be placed on most boat surfaces via its double-magnetic mounting system. Navilight 360° can be an all-around light or used as a masthead, stern, flashing, anchoring, or cabin light—it even glows in the dark for up to 8 hours should the batteries die. Don’t leave port without it! $120 // duckworks.com

This Crab Bucket Is a Real Kick

Who says buckets have to be rigid and boring? This flexible bucket-bag, made of hand-stitched recycled sail cloth, has the strength to hold up to six 12-oz. beverage bottles, plus the added comfort of soft hemp-rope handles reinforced with metal eyelets. Best of all, this Sea Bags features gorgeous watercolor artwork from a Portland, Maine-based artist. You’ve never seen such a vibrant blue crab, with highlights of green on its shell and orange in its claws. This eye-catching piece of coastal artwork, measuring 11- by 7-inches, is sure to brighten up any beach party or barbecue. $75 // seabags.com

A Warm Mug on a Cool Day

Nothing feels cozier than a mug of hot cocoa on a frigid winter day—except when the mug loses its heat after five minutes. With double wall vacuum insulation, this stainless-steel Camp Mug from MiiR helps keep the warmth going over the whole holiday season. A built-in sliding lid also helps to retain heat while it protects against splashes. Because it’s offered through San Juan Island Sea Salt in Friday Harbor, the 12-ounce black mug also features a line-drawing of the island’s Cattle Point Lighthouse, honoring the region’s respect for the iconic navigational beacon. $32 // sanjuanislandseasalt.com

Haul More With Rovr Landr Bins

When you’ve got big loads to haul onto and off your boat, sometimes you don’t just need a bagful, you need a binful. This roomy rectangular tote from RovR LandR Bins can handle heavy loads, with its polyethylene reinforced UV canvas and riveted nylon carrying straps, but can be folded flat when not in use, making stowage a breeze. This blue-and-green forest graphic seen here fits the Northwest vibe, but the bins also come in skyline sunset, desert canyon, nighttime constellation, and aloha tropical designs. Available in 45-, 60-, and 80-quart sizes, these Rovr Landrs will provide storage convenience you’ll Nevr Frget. $40-$50 // rovrproducts.com

Ol’ Bluewater, Keep on Rollin’…

Two of the most important qualities for storing gear on a boat are durability and water-resistance. This Bluewater Waterproof Roll Top bag meets both criteria. It also has a rectangular shape for easy stowage in tight compartments on board, yet has flexible sides to fit awkwardly sized items. The 5-liter, 4”x 17”x 11” bag is made with thermoplastic, polyurethane-coated 210-denier ripstop nylon and a textured “shark-tooth” outer surface for a sure grip. The welded construction, taped seams, and reinforced bottom provides added strength and moisture protection to keep all valuables safe and dry. $30 // mustangsurvival.com

For Those on a High-Crab Diet…

The next time you plan to serve Crab Louis to your guests, have we got a dish for you! The latest offering from the Timothy De Clue Collection is this set of four salad plates with beautiful, detailed drawings of blue crabs that look like they’re practically climbing the rim to join the party. As part of the company’s Artisanal Tableware Collection, these hand-decorated plates are made of high-quality porcelain with food-safe glaze. Each 8.5-inch diameter plate is microwave-safe and machine-washable, making cleanup simple after your holiday seafood feast. $120 for a set of 4 // timothydecluecollection.com

A Proper Stopper for Calamari Fans

Not that you’d ever want to stick a cork in it after the wine starts flowing, but in case you need to save a little vino for later, here’s a cool way to do it with a literal nautical twist. This wine stopper from Sea Bags features an illustration of everyone’s favorite inventive sea creature for opening and closing bottles: the always-curious octopus. The FDA-approved stopper, hand-crafted by Maine artisans, is made with cork, glass, and lead-free, satin finish pewter. This elegant addition to your salon cocktail bar will keep a wine bottle sealed up as tight as eight cephalopod tentacles can squeeze. $65 // seabags.com

Wristlet Bag to Support Women’s Racing

When you want a small bag for essentials to take out on the town, this wristlet bag made of recycled regatta sails makes a stylish accessory statement showing your love for women’s competitive boat racing. Using strips of bold colors taken from actual sails and a navy wrist strap secured through a metal grommet, this 8” long bag can be used as a wallet, evening bag, or travel organizer. The zippered bag also helps support the Sea Bags Women’s Sailing Team, which has represented the company since 2015. This year, 20 percent of all proceeds from sales of this wristlet bag goes toward the team’s racing efforts. On your marks, ladies! $30 // seabags.com

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