Marine News from the Great Lakes

Classic Boating Gifts for Under the Tree

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2018
By: Captain Dennis J. Mykols

Well, another year under the old transom. Time to think about Christmas gifts for that boater who has everything! Our Year End “Buyer’s Guide” is published each year to showcase new and interesting products our readership might have a need for, or interest in.

For my part, I tried to find several gift ideas for anyone that has an interest in classic boats, specifically.

Classic Model Boats

Garage too small to fit a nice Woodie in there? How about on your mantle or bookshelf? Consider buying a scale model of one of your favorite classic Woodies. There are many model boats available, both pre-made and kits you can build yourself. But if you are all thumbs or, like me, you don’t have the time or patience to spend a year working on a model that just might end up looking like, well, you know…

There are a couple of professionals that took their hobby of making models to a whole other level, and the end products are offered for sale. These models are not kits. They are built from scratch.

One such person is Roger Burley. I met Roger at our Spring Lake boat show so I can tell you from first hand experience that these scale models offer such craftsmanship and attention to detail. Ranging from 26” to 42”, they are breathtaking. Roger also does custom work, so now you can have a “mini me” on your desk.

Contact Roger at [email protected].

Rent a Retro Boat

And if that garage is still too small for even a 14 foot retro fiberglass outboard to fit in there, how about buying a gift certificate to RENT a retro boat from the 1950s? This may sound familiar — I wrote about them in the Fall issue — but this is a unique business helping the general public enjoy the experience of driving a 1950s classic outboard. Call them for gift certificates for the 2019 season at 616-405-6688, or visit

Decorate with Classic Boat Art

More inclined to look at mesmerizing wall art of a Woodie? Check out Darrell Bush’s website for hand painted art of classic boating scenes. Bring the beauty of these classic wooden boats into your home with an original or reprint painting.

Want a custom painting of your cottage or from a picture you took on one of your trips? You can arrange for a custom painting by Darrell, too. And, while on his website, click on the SHOP tab for many other gift ideas, like calendars, coffee table books, coasters, and puzzles — all with reprints of Darrell’s work. Visit their website, or contact Derrell at 309-721-4711, [email protected].

Classic Boating Swag

For that Woodie-boater wannabe, how about wearing swag from “the” wooden boat source: From fun t-shirts to hats, down to coffee mugs to sip your morning cup of... “varnish”? Join in on the fun side of woodie boating and join the “Sons of Varnish”!

An American-Made Blanket

Want to keep warm this winter while thinking about your boat all alone and locked up in winter storage? How about an American-made, pure wool blanket? The Faribault Mill has been around since 1865 and makes a wide variety of blankets and throws to choose from. The Stars and Stripes throw is perfect for those cool spring and fall evening cruises. Check them out at

Children’s Books

How about something for the little boaters in the family? Children’s illustrated story books, in which the “superhero” is a classic boat with a personality, are available through ACBS. They make great gifts for families with young children or for your own enjoyment and to have for visitors.

Join and Support

Speaking of the Antique and Classic Boating Society (A.C.B.S.), how about giving a membership to someone? Classic boat ownership is not required to join and connect with people who love and enjoy classic boats and boating. The ACBS offers a network of 48 chapters in the U.S. that offer information, resources, education, events, a community and lifestyle surrounding the safe and enjoyment of classic boats and boating. Just click on to get started.

Well, I hope this small list of various gift ideas - that are also all “Made in America” — helps you find something that you can enjoy well after the Christmas holidays.

From Dennis and Ronnie, we wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

This article first appeared in the Year End Issue (Nov/Dec) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.

tags: Antique & Classic Boats, Gift Ideas

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