December 11, 2014
'Tis the season for maritime gifts
Each year around this time I like to take a look around the web and go virtual Christmas shopping for gifts for and from mariners.
This year's big disappointment is that there really isn't a comprehensive tugboat/towboat calendar out there.
Maybe wall art calendars are going the way of wristwatches ... but it's too bad, because that was always a good gift for the armchair mariner or retired tug person. There are some regional calendars out there. For example, New York-based photographer Jeffrey Anzevino has a number of nice calendars (and canvas prints) on his Zazzle site. Tugboat Information has Birk Thomas' 2015 calendar for sale. Maybe there are more out there. If you find a good one, please let us know in the comments.
Raunchy shirt from Zazzle
Zazzle is a site where individuals and producers of customized items come together to sell their stuff. A search for "tugboats" brings up a wide variety of items: from a baby pacifier emblazoned with "I Love Tugboats" to a slightly raunchy t-shirt depicting an arrow pointing downward and the word "TUG," a sight familiar to any shipdocking crew. It's worth a look, but don't get too excited.
The nicer gifts are found at the usual stores. Our nice friends on the Ohio River at Towboat Treasures have all kinds of great gifts this year. There you can find belt buckles, license plates and a nice selection of jewelry for the female mariner on your list or the proud gal of a towboater.
Speaking of jewelry, Maine-based A.G.A. Correa & Son has amazing nautical jewelry. This year, they have introduced a gorgeous bracelet made to resemble glass fish floats enmeshed in rope. In this case, 18k Yellow Gold hand-twisted ropework provides a frame around a 12-mm round Aqua Chalcedony sphere. The ropework is finished with three twists of 18k yellow gold and attached to a handmade 18k rope pendant eye. Ok, it is not cheap at $6,500, but this might be the year for a very special gift.
A gift you can find on Zazzle
Up in Portsmouth, N.H., Tugboat Alley has new owners and has really updated its online store. There are lots of good gifts here and it looks like they have free shipping for the next few days.
Then there are the good personalized gifts, like a custom phone case to go with that sexy smartphone you are getting. The guys at Case App have a super user-friendly site where you upload a photo and they make a rugged case out of it. Also, they have very cool "skins" for your iPad or laptop. They are offering free shipping as well.
Last but not least, if you are really stuck (and broke) you can always give your mom a free subscription to WorkBoat magazine.