16 Perfect Gifts for a Commercial Fisherman (and some for you, too!)

I received a wonderful email from a reader (Hi, Lydia!) who found 9 Things To Know When Dating A Commercial Fisherman while Googling “Gifts to Get for Commercial Fishermen.”

Lydia’s email got me thinking what a great idea it would be to list a few gifts that would come in handy for our commercial fishing loved ones and helpful for the partners, too. So, I immediately asked our POCF community and my husband (a commercial sockeye salmon and spiny lobster fisherman) what he thought, and here’s a handful of ideas we came up with:

16 Perfect Gifts For Commercial Fishermen

Garmin InReach Mini

If the boat does not have a satellite phone, the InReach allows your loved one to text you for, I think, $12 a month. The device is kind of pricey upfront but cheaper than a satellite phone. I love this gift because it ultimately means your partner has the ability to text you when out at sea! I wig balls a lot less when I receive a message at the end of the day that he’s safe.

I still wig, but it’s more tolerable. Below is what a message looks like from a satellite messenger to an iPhone. We had an InReach on our sailboat, which Chris now uses when he’s lobster fishing the Channel Islands (about 20 miles from the coast of Santa Barbara, California).

Another bonus? When he messages on the way back to port, I have enough time to figure out dinner plans – to cook or order in. Winning!

garmin inreach


And not just any books. Try a historical fiction series about the seafaring life. C.S. Forester is a popular author of this genre and wrote an entire series based on the character Horatio Hornblower, a Royal Navy officer.

Sure, sounds like a snooze. But we bought one for one of our saltiest friends, and he’s hooked! (Pun intended.😄) There are similar authors out there, but this is the only one I’ve gotten feedback on to recommend to you. Plus, if your man likes the book, you can give the entire series like a gift-giving slow drip.

(*Also, it’s easy to order books from Amazon, but if you’d like to visit town, call your local bookstore to see if they have the series in store.)



Movies or Home Movies

This is a fun idea. Download movies or home movies on a thumb drive for them to watch whenever they have a moment to zone out. According to someplace on the internet, movies can be from 1 to 4 + GB each, so depending on the movie and the memory of the flash drive, you can fit a good amount of content on there. Or, as the internet says, “about 21 movies lasting two hours each” on a 64 GB drive. If needed, you can buy a USB C to USB Adapter for less than $5 to get the “old school” drive to work on modern devices. 

USB C to USB Adapter

Or, you can go with a USB C and USB 3.0 Waterproof 16GB Flash Drive, like the one below, for less than $12. 

USB C and USB 3.0 Waterproof 16GB Flash Drive

Ball caps

Chris rips through one or two hats per season. The Grundens hat is a classic favorite. The Captain-style hat with rope details comes in Navy and white (seen below) and one in all black. You can find the Navy one at West Marine through this link


Gift Card to GrundensXtraTuf, or Carhartt. 

Anything from these rough-and-tumble companies is helpful, but who the hell knows what fishing guys really need when it comes to clothing? Gift cards let them get what they want. (Duh, like you didn’t know the meaning of a gift card.)

Bama Sokkets Insulated Booties

They look funny, but I can’t express enough how amazing these little booties are – “Bamas” help pull sweat from feet to keep them dry and cozy. I use them when I’m wearing my XtraTufs, and this saves me from clunking around in my boots or freezing my toes off. (They work great for rainboots, too!)

It also helps to prevent, um, athlete’s foot since it keeps the foot dry. (Gross. Yeah, sorry, I just went there.)

bama insulated socks for fishermen




Gear from a Commercial Fishing Family Small Businesses


Yes, we now have gear for partners of commercial fishermen! Consider this your Wonder Woman Uniform. (Hey, you deserve a gift, too!) Show your pride and support to the POCF community in this super soft, thin, 100% cotton T-shirt. LIMITED EDITION.  Has a casual yet modern fit, so it’s not fitted or boxy – it’s juuuuust right!


POCF Pride TShirt

Lost on Land, Found at Sea Hoodie:

I learned of this brand from our private Partners of Commercial Fishermen group. And the best part of this company – besides this sick skull design on this hoodie – is that commercial fishermen run the company! They have 5 different print designs for tops that range from tanks, long sleeves, sweatshirts, and hoodies. Pop over to their website to pick your favorite. Not only can we eat wild-caught seafood to support American fishermen, but we can also wear our support, too!


Face and Body Balm for dry and windy days at sea.

Chris legit swears by this stuff, and as we pass from the humid East Coast to dry California each year, I rely on Bee Magic to hydrate the F outta my face. I use all the oils and tinctures, but this balm has great staying power or boost to your moisturizing routine. We also love this Dr. Bronners Arnica Balm for sore muscles. Great for a massage, too!

Bee Magic Face Balm

Wool T-Shirts and Thick Cotton Work Shirts:

Wool shirts are great for two main reasons: 1) it’s anti-microbial, which, just like the Darn Tough socks, is less smelly through several wears before a wash. 2) wool stays warm even when wet. It’s also breathable and lightweight. The only thing is that, according to Chris, they wear out faster than cotton. But honestly, he’s worn the heck out of his wool shirts FOR YEARS, and they’re still kickin’ while his cotton shirts get holes in the armpits after a few months. I’ll still buy him wool and recommend you try them, too!

However, I know some fishermen prefer thick cotton, and here’s a link to Carhartt Men’s Loose Fit Heavyweight Short-Sleeve Pocket T-Shirt.


Stainless Steel Containers for the Boat

Chris was adamant about getting new containers that would last, and I didn’t really see what the big deal was. The plastic ones were…ok. Why spend the dough? Then, he bought these stainless steel food containers, and I’m probably a bigger fan than him at this point. I love them because they are air and watertight, won’t crush under pressure, and come in a bunch of sizes that stack inside each other like wooden Russian dolls. (We live in an airstream, so I’m all about  We take these camping, I use these in the house…plus they’re better on the environment than plastic that eventually gets gross and you have to toss.



Darn Tough is comfortable and warm and has a lifetime warranty for around $20. Really! You can actually send your clean, worn socks to the company with a note on the “injury,” and they will darn them for you. Best twenty bucks you’ll ever spend. 

Two other companies I love are the North Carolina brand Farm to Feet and another called Swiftwick. (I recommend getting the thick wool blend from Swiftwick. They are  so cozy and can last for days, and they have great arch support, too!)


Fishing Beanie

A Gore-TEX Fishing Beanie with Windstopper technology makes total sense when it comes to staying warm out there. A beanie on the thin side that will fit under hoods and hats. If they get hot, it folds down nicely to fit in a pocket. Boom!


Electric Blanket

I never thought of this before, but it makes sense! I linked the Navy color because it hides stains better. It has 12 heat settings and a 12-hour selectable auto shut-off. I linked the twin size to fit in those small bunks.


electric blanket

Care package “with homemade stuff”

This is a direct quote from Chris. Cookies are preferable. And believe me, they will eat them even if they are a week old because it gives them the slightest feeling of home, which is all they want while battling rough waters, high winds, and unending sets! Here’s a post on how to send a care package to a commercial fisherman in remote areas

If you don’t have time, there’s always Trader Joe’s: not homemade, yet welcomed just the same.

Photobook of you and your family/pets:

This is a great keepsake, whether they’re on or off the sea! It’s easy to choose from your personal photos, and you can even make one from your phone. Here’s a blog that explains how to make a photo book of your own.

What not to give:

A sexy book that you meticulously created and sent to Apple to get printed in hopes no human would see the personal nude photos you took for him.

Yes, I totally did this when we first started dating, thinking it would be a thoughtful and spicy gift. It was, but Chris never used it on the boat because there’s no privacy to actually “use it,” if you know what I mean. 

The book is currently sitting in a pile of paper on the top ledge of his closet. Go figure.

Do you have any other ideas that would be great for gifts? If so, please share in the comments below so we can all enjoy. Thank you!


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Catch up on the Series!

[UPDATE] 9 Things to Know When Dating A Commercial Fisherman

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  1. I got an Inreach last year for around 500. Then, I found out that Costco has them for about half that price! So keep an eye out. Don’t know if they still carry them or not.