We’re avid boaters so of course we did our holiday shopping at the Fort Myers Boat Show! We found great gifts for every boater and every budget so if you’re looking for a little inspiration, check out what we couldn’t resist at this year’s show.
Mokie Burns Fish-Inspired Art
Fort Myers-based artist Samantha “Mokie” Hansen creates original artwork using pyrography, a technique where she burns her hand-drawn designs into wood using a soldering iron. Inspired by freshwater and saltwater species in our own backyard, Mokie Burns pieces usually showcase redfish spots, tarpon scales, or signature snook lateral lines. To be honest, we hung out at this booth for way too long just trying to decide between the wood prints and bar accessories, not to mention the design-your-own hat bar. It’s tough, good luck.
Available at: mokieburns.com
We love any gift that makes a day on the water more comfortable. These Sküze deck shoes make our list because they’re available in traditional boat shoe style or more of a casual sneaker vibe and check all the boxes. They’re lightweight, breathable, fast drying, even the lace-up styles slip on easily, and the tread patterns are designed for better traction—a lifesaver at slippery boat ramps.
Available at: skuzeshoes.com
Good thing marine electronics are waterproof because we drooled all over this Garmin display. Okay, file this one under the gift you give yourself. Upgrading your boat’s bells and whistles isn’t exactly cheap but tying it into the holiday gifting might help you solicit more enthusiasm from the rest of the family.
Budget: How much you got?
Available at: SWFL marine experts
Rod racks make great gifts because they protect an angler’s most important gear from unnecessary wear and tear from improper storage. We found these Piranha Rod Racks at the show and liked how their steel core construction is covered in a thick vinyl coating to protect rods from scratches. Depending on size and style, their wall and ceiling mounts can hold between 4 and 11 rods. In addition to de-cluttering the garage, racks keep your gear organized so you can grab what you need and go. Because the fish wait for no one.
Available at: piranharodrack.com
These shirts and hats from MANG make our list because they look good, feel amazing even on scorching days, and give back to our coastal ecosystems all at the same time. MANG not only plants new mangroves all over Florida, but the brand also spearheads volunteer and education programs aimed at restoring these priceless ecosystems. We love a gift that gives back!
Available at: manggear.com
Pop Up Dock
For anyone who’s joked that “we’re gonna need a bigger boat” or the boater who always needs more room to spread out on the water, these inflatable islands like this Pop Up Dock create extra surface area for lounging or playing. They can support up to 1,500 pounds of passenger weight and have EVA traction and faux wood planks that channel water off the pad and create a comfortable surface with just enough grip.
Available at: popboardco.com
Whether they’re driving the boat or just enjoying the ride and spotting wildlife, everyone on board should have polarized sunglasses. They help you see what’s going on below the surface of the water—including spotting shallow areas to avoid—while protecting your eyes from harmful rays. We tried on almost every pair of these Maui Jim’s at the show, but any polarized lenses will do. Check this one off the list next time you pop into your favorite boat supply store for that thing you might not really need but should probably grab just in case.
Canopy Folding Chair
Because SWFL winter is fleeting, we award serious bonus points to any beach chair that also supplies shade. These Sun In Comfort chairs caught our eye because they come in either captain’s chair or rocking chair styles and have a built-in adjustable UPF 50+ canopy. Of course keeping these on the boat makes beach days better but they can also add valuable deck seating…unless you’re into those everyone-crowd-under-the-T-top-until-the-next-cloud-comes moments.
Available at: sunincomfort.com
Our coast was basically built for paddle boarding and it only takes a mildly adventurous spirit to embrace this mode of exploration. Despite their name, Stand Up Paddleboards can be enjoyed in a standing, sitting, or kneeling position. While there are plenty of solid SUP boards on the market, we love the flexibility of inflatable boards like these Body Glove models featured at the show. They roll up into an oversized backpack for easy transport in a standard size vehicle and you can even throw a couple on the boat without taking up all valuable deck space.
Available at: bodyglove.com
*The local warehouse usually offers great deals at SWFL boat shows, wink wink.
As you can see, the 2021 Fort Myers Boat Show had everything boaters of all kinds could wish for this holiday season. We hope this list is helpful and we hope you and yours have a happy holiday season! We’ll see you on the water.