gCaptain Nautical Gift Guide

UPDATED: gCaptain Holiday Gift Guide 2016

John Konrad
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November 27, 2016

gCaptain Nautical Gift Guide

It’s that time of year when the world falls in love and every song you hear seems to say “Merry Christmas”… it’s also time for gCaptain to publish our annual Holiday Gift Guide.

But before we do, gCaptain would like to wish you a Happy Holiday and remind you there are lots of great “Oldies But Goodies” in our previous guides:

Note: If none of these deals appeal to you but you’d still like to support gCaptain directly please consider bookmarking the following link and shopping via Amazon this holiday season: http://www.amazon.com/?tag=gcaptaincom-20

The Best Drone For Ships

Mavic Pro Drone

gCaptain HQ is just a few miles from Silicon Valley, the global hotbed of technology and innovation and this year the valley is abuzz about a new tech-gadget launched this month…. DJI’s Mavic Pro Drone. What makes this drone so great? Well it has most of the features of its older brother, the highly reviewed Phantom 4 Quadcopter, but comes in a much more managable size. In short… the Mavic Pro is what you need is you want to shoot awesome footage like THIS. $999 Via Amazon

Note: This item is backordered until Jan 15th 2017. We’ve been told by an inside source that if you preorder now there’s a decent chance you’ll get your drone before Christmas… but if you want a drone now we suggest the larger, but just as good, Phantom 4 Quadcopter

360 Degree Camera

360fly 360° HD Video Camera

gCaptain posts a metric ton of ship photos each year so we feel qualified to tell you that photographing ships is very difficult. The problem is that big ships are, well, big…. and it’s difficult to get the whole picture in the viewfinder. Professionals use fancy equipment like medium format cameras and ultra-wide tilt-shift lenses but the cost of this equipment is astounding. A simpler, easier solution, is a 360 degree camera. You simply place it in the middle of the place your trying to photograph (e.g. bridge or engine room) and it captures everything. The resulting picture can often look weird but most cameras include software for straightening everything out. There are a number of great 360 cameras on the market but we like the fly 360 because it’s durable, water resistant and takes good pictures.  $199 via Amazon

Hydro Flask – Insulated Water Bottles


Working on deck in a cold harsh environment? Nothing will make you happier than a nice warm cup of great coffee. Working in swelter of summer just south of the equator? Nothing will make you happier than a nice cool sip of cold water. Either way you’ll love your Hydro Flask Insulated Water Bottle…. and it’s built strong too! Starting At $21 via Amazon

THE Best Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee

This coffee isn’t the cheapest but it certainly is the best and this is the coffee we drink at gCaptain HQ when our CEO is feeling generous…. it’s Blue Bottle’s Bella Dona Blend and it is delicious! $20 via Amazon

Mobile Phone Gimbal

Mobile Phone Electronic Gimbal

Want to know the secret for taking smooth video and tack sharp photos from the deck of a moving ship? Use a professional camera stabilizer! Now these things range from expensive Steadycam systems used by Hollywood, to strange looking jib-and-crane devices to simple weight balanced devices.  But our favorite are the new, gyroscopically balanced, electronic gimbal stabilizers. And the best rated gimbal by photographers we trust is the Smooth-C Multi-function 3 Axis Handheld Steady Gimbal. $164 via Amazon

A Smart Padlock


Ever need to give someone access to your bike, storage unit, boat locker or anything else…. but where not home to give them the key? Then a smart lock is perfect for you. The Noke Padock is a Bluetooth enabled smart lock that unlocks with your iOS or Android phone to get rid of the need for keys and combinations. By using Noke and your smartphone, you’ll always have easy access to all the important things in your life. In addition, you’ll be able to share access to your possessions easily, safely, and securely. $62 via Amazon

Ticket To Ride Rails And Sails

Ticket To Ride Rails and Sail-boats

Amazon’s best selling board game for adults, Ticket to Ride, has published a new edition and… it has ships! Players collect cards of various types (trains and ships) that enable them to claim railway and sea routes on a nicely illustrated double-sided board, featuring the world map on one side and the great lakes of North America on the other. Elegantly simple and fast to learn, it takes the ticket to ride series to the next level! $75 via Amazon

Machi Koro Harbor Expansion Game

Machi Koro Board Game

The best-selling board game in Japan and our favorite game to play at gCaptain HQ is Machi Koro. The basic game has nothing to do with shipping but when you upgrade it with the Harbor Expansion Pack you can start building a Harbor and a fleet of fishing boats! Or you can just buy everything at once with the Deluxe Edition. The best way to describe this game is a fast paced version of Monopoly. $49 via Amazon

Tugboats Illustrated Coffee Table Book

Tug-boats Illustrated: History, Technology, Seamanship by Paul Farrell

Tugboats Illustrated: History, Technology, Seamanship by Paul Farrell is a new book released this week and it is both gorgeous illustrated and informative! Paul’s been working on this book for 13 years and the book he’s produced traces the evolution, design, and role of tugboats, ranging from the first steam-powered tug to today’s hyper-specialized offshore workboats. Through extensive photographs, dynamic drawings, and enlightening diagrams, he explores the development of these hard-working boats, always shaped by the demands of their waterborne environment, by an ever-present element of danger, and by advancements in technology. $36 Via Amazon

Nautical Wood iPhone Case

Nautical Compass Rose Wood iPhone Case


Bring a little nautical flare to your iPhone with a custom, laser engraved, Compass Rose Nautical iPhone Case! The laser engraved design features a stylized compass rose.  $20 Via Amazon

3D Wood Charts

Gulf Of Mexico 3d Wood Chart

We have received a few emails asking what single gift idea is our favorite. The answer: BelowTheBoat 3D WoodCharts ! The brainchild of artist Robbie & Kara Johnson, wood charts are nautical works of art suitable for hanging on any wall from the an executive boardroom of a shipping conglomerate to the galley of a small schooner. In fact we have the Channel Islands wood chart hanging at gCaptain Headquarters!

Wall Decal Kraken Octopus Tentacles Wall Sticker

Kraken Octopus Tentacles Nautical Wall Sticker

There are many ways to bring a bit of nautical flare into your household… but what if you want A LOT of flare with a giant nautical wall sticker! There are lots of options from tall ship’s getting attacked by sea monsters, floating octopus, Sea Turtles and even funny versions for your bathroom toilet… but our personal favorite is the Kraken Octopus Tentacles Wall Sticker! $20 via Amazon.


Steve Zissou Canvas Print

steve zissou canvas wall poster

gCaptain knows lots of ship captains but our favorite is Steve Zissou, Master of the Oceanographic Research Vessel Belafonte and star of the film Life Aquatic. Now you can hang Captain Steve on the wall with this extra-large Canvas Wall Print. $42-$402 via Amazon

Adult Coloring Book For The Swearing Sailor

Adult Coloring Book

Our most popular gift idea from last year was Johanna Basford’s beautifully illustrated Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book for Adults but more than a few sailors commented that no many sailor would be caught dead coloring a pretty book. We would argue that real sailors are secure in their masculinity but… for the disbeliever we’ve found a book for you: F#CK That SH!T, Adult Coloring Book. $4 via Amazon

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Related Book: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

DEAD WAKE: THE LAST CROSSING OF THE LUSITANIA is the story of a horrific event that ended the lives of over 1,000 people. The sinking also played a key role in changing America’s view toward Germany, and helped change America’s “neutral” position in World War I. It was two years after this sinking that the United States declared war on Germany. Multiple bestselling author Erik Larson is not capable of writing anything less than a gripping account of history and the fact this book is about a famous ship makes it a must read.   $18 via Amazon

Breverton’s Nautical Curiosities: A Book Of The Sea

Related Book: Breverton's Nautical Curiosities: A Book Of The Sea by Terry Breverton

Terry Breverton has a knack for organizing information and presenting it in fun, interesting, easily digestible chunks. He begins in familiar waters: chapter headings include “An A-Z of Sea Slang,” “Sea Conditions and Weather,” “Life at Sea,” “Death at Sea,” “Heroes, Heroines, Sea People and Navigation,” and “Villains of the Sea.” Read through these sections and you’ll learn a lot about types of ships, parts of a ship, a ship’s food and medical care, naval weapons, famous captains and, of course, pirates. Also check out Breverton’s other nautical book The Pirate Dictionary. $16 via Amazon

Vintage Marine Gear Salvage

Vintage Brass Fouled Anchor

Years ago I to the marine salvage market in India, bought a few items salvaged from ships in Alang India, and suggested to the merchant that he investigate a thing called eBay. That was many years ago but the merchant took the advice and opened an eBay storefront…. then an Amazon store. The gear he sells (and ships around the world!) includes nautical flags, sextants, brass instruments and much, much more. $ Various via Amazon and eBay

NOTE: Items are shipped from India and may not arrive in time for Christmas!

Radio Room Wall Clock

Radio Room Wall Clock

Not every sailor will remember the days when a man named Sparky held the only key to communicating with family ashore. Even fewer will know why sections of Sparky’s clock were painted green and red but those who do (i.e. most bluewater sailors over the age of 40) will LOVE this gift… Weems and Plath Endurance II Radio Room Wall Clock. $200 via Amazon

Watershed DryBags

watershed-navy-seal-dry-bagAt the suggestion of a veteran maritime pilot we decided to add one more late entry…. Watershed Drybags. The company makes gear for the Navy Seals and they’re the bomb and made in the US. If you absolutely must keep your gear dry and secure then check out watershed’s products.


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