Getting gifts for people is hard. At least it is for me! There’s a special kind of anxiety associated with gift shopping, isn’t there? After all, this is your chance to show a person just how well you know them! That’s why I love it when my friends and family have very obvious interests and hobbies. Snorkelers and divers are usually very vocal about their affinity for all things ocean. So that makes your job a little easier. Watersports are activities, so it’s not difficult to get gifts for snorkelers and divers that they’ll actually use.
When you think about it, our (western) culture has some very strict social rules and taboos surrounding gifts. Chief among them is that no matter how dissatisfied you are with a gift, you absolutely must show gratitude to the giver. The unspoken rule is that if the gift isn’t to your taste you’ll discretely re-gift it to someone else who’ll (hopefully) appreciate it more.
We’ve all been there, right? There’s that object in your house… Perhaps it’s a strange novelty item or paperweight that does nothing but collect dust on a shelf. Perhaps you’ve even thought about re-gifting it or donating it… But you can’t quite bring yourself to simply throw it away.
No Mathoms Here!
J. R. R. Tolkien defined such objects wonderfully with his invented noun, “mathom”. A mathom is a hobbit word that refers specifically to impractical gift items that have no real use. As such, mathoms end up circuiting through the community as a result of repeated re-gifting. This word is so useful, my parents regularly referred to certain items as mathoms when I was a kid; so much so that I didn’t realize it was from a fictional universe until I read The Lord of the Rings!
But fun anecdotes aside! If you want to get good gifts for snorkelers and divers in your life, but you aren’t into these activities yourself, you might feel a bit intimidated. For instance, what if what you get them is something they already have? What if it doesn’t fit them right or isn’t the best quality? Etc. etc. And so you default to SCUBA-related novelty items, whale music, and generic gift certificates.
Well, never fear! If you get the snorkeler or diver in your life one of the useful items I’ve listed here, they’re going to be surprised at your insight into their hobby!
I’ve organized these gift ideas into the following sections:
- Snorkeling and diving accessories under $50
- Snorkeling and diving accessories under $20 (great for stockings!)
- Sealife identification guides
- Useful travel gifts for snorkelers and divers
- Green gifts for snorkelers and divers that reduce waste
- Giftable watersports clothing (i.e. where fit isn’t a major concern)
Some of the links used in this article are affiliate links (learn more here). That means I may get a small commission if you buy a product after following the link (at no extra cost to you!). If this article helps you in your quest for the perfect gift for a snorkeler or diver in your life, consider it like giving me a little thank you!
These are gifts that the snorkeler or diver in your life will actually use on their adventures. Even if they already have one of these items, then chances are they can always use another. At worst, your gift will certainly be appreciated by one of your friend’s dive buddies.
In other words, nothing here is in any danger of becoming a mathom!
Gifts for Snorkelers and Divers Under $50
Let’s start with some key accessories that most snorkelers and divers appreciate having on their trips. These are items they can actually use while snorkeling or diving but are all under $50.
So don’t worry! There isn’t any expensive gear here that your friend would be better suited to pick out for themselves. However, if you are interested in snorkeling gear, check out my master list of items that I personally recommend.
For snorkelers and divers who travel, suitcase space is usually at a premium. But these foldable snorkels pack small enough to fit in a pocket! SCUBA divers also appreciate having these foldable snorkels as backups, and if they prefer to take their snorkel off underwater.
Spring Straps for Open-Heel Fins
Spring straps offer several advantages over regular straps and more divers are making the switch. Chances are that your diver friend has heard of these and wants to try them if they haven’t already!
Related Post: 5 Reasons To Upgrade Your Fins With Spring Straps
Universal fin strap kits include parts for adapting them to almost any open-heel SCUBA fin. For example, XS Scuba’s Universal Spring Fin Straps comes with three different buckle attachments that can work with multiple post sizes. However, if you want to be safe, then check out their product description for a full list of compatible fin models.
Alternatively, EZ Spring Straps is another universal kit that will also fit most open-heel fins. The Recreational Diver version comes with snap buckles, while the standard version uses a simple stainless steel cable wire. The first will work with modern open-heel fins, while the second works with more traditional models such as the Scubapro Jet Fins.
I personally prefer these over XS Scuba’s straps because of the large heel cushion and D-ring, which makes it easy to pull the straps on and off even with a glove on.
If you’re unsure about what would be best for your friend, the Recreational Diver EZ Spring Straps are your safest bet. Take a look at this article for sizing advice!
GoPro Selfie Stick That Floats
If your friend has a GoPro camera, then they might appreciate this lightweight extendable floating pole! Because it’s made of a combination of stainless steel and anodized aluminum, it will hold up even in saltwater. The pole extends to 38 inches and features a highly visible orange grip.
Note, however, that the stick may have difficulty floating if the GoPro camera is in a heavy housing or if you use it beyond a depth of about 30 feet.
Dive Repair Kit
A repair kit is essential for any serious SCUBA diver. So if your diver friend is currently going without one, gift them this kit to fix that! It includes small tools (various wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers), cable ties, spare O-rings, and some silicone grease all in a compact zippered pouch.
Personalized Waterproof Gear Labels
Did you know that SCUBA divers often share communal washing and rinsing tubs on their boat trips? Most tour boats have wash tubs available on deck for everyone to use, but that means it’s easy to get your gear accidentally confused with someone else’s.
So, solve the problem with these personalized waterproof labels! Just be aware that these can take over two weeks to ship (in the US) due to the customization. Plan any gifts accordingly!
Universal Hangers for Dive Equipment
All that SCUBA gear needs a reliable place to dry! As such, universal hangers are coveted accessories among divers. Why? Because they’re designed to be strong enough to hold wetsuits, drysuits, and BCDs without damaging or creasing them.
Separate hangers can also be used to dry accessories such as masks, snorkels, gloves, and boots!
Gifts for Snorkelers and Divers Under $20 (Stocking Stuffers!)
These are small and inexpensive accessories that are nevertheless incredibly useful to snorkelers and divers. If you’re looking for a small gift for someone you don’t know very well, these are great options. You could also combine them into a gift package or Christmas stocking!
Waterproof Dive Log Notebook
This cute little (6 in x 3.5 in) dive log from Scubapro has 53 pages for logging dives. There’s also space for making quick notes plus a few extra pages for logging training dives.
Though not as detailed as the standard PADI log pages, this little notebook is much handier for traveling due to its small size! The pages themselves are waterproof and can be written on with either a pen or pencil.
If your snorkeler or diver friend is an instructor, tour guide, or does any kind of underwater research (e.g. reef monitoring) then they’ll definitely appreciate a slate! These waterproof writing surfaces allow snorkelers and divers to take notes and communicate underwater.
This particular one can also come with a compass or be glow-in-the-dark for night dives!
Dive Mask Anti-fog
Anti-fog is a useful stocking stuffer that all divers and snorkelers will appreciate! The dive shop I used to go to near my old house would throw in complementary Sea Drops when I bought stuff there. I’ve just been using them ever since! I love having multiple little bottles of these that I can keep in different bags and pockets. That way I always seem to have some on hand even if I switch up the gear bag I’m using.
While we’re on masks, does your friend or loved one have a mustache? Facial hair is a notorious nuisance when it comes to mask leaks. However, many proud beard owners can’t bring themselves to shave just for diving!
A non-petroleum based mask seal is a great option to help prevent leaks without damaging the mask’s silicone!
Related Post: A Complete Guide To Stopping Mask Leaks
This is a simple stocking stuffer that snorkelers and divers can always use in their spare parts kits!
Most snorkels will come with a plastic clip for attaching the snorkel to your mask. However, this plastic can degrade over time (especially if you’re doing most of your snorkeling in saltwater).
Therefore, it’s a smart idea to be prepared with a couple of these simple silicone loops in your gear bag. The loops go over your snorkel and you thread your mask strap through the connector. The loops on this one can even be separated for easy snorkel attachment and detachment!
Neoprene Mask Strap Cover
A strap cover will make your mask strap easier to slide on and off your head, particularly if you have long hair. If your diver friend or loved one has long hair, then one of these strap covers will make for a useful small gift!
Adjustable Wrist Lanyard
This simple accessory can be looped around anything your diver friend might use (but fear to lose!) underwater.
Your friend more than likely uses at least one of the following: a dive light, a slate, an underwater camera, a dive knife, a compass. If so, then a lanyard like this will keep it securely attached to their wrist.
SCUBA divers frequently need to get others’ attention underwater whether it’s an emergency or simply to point out something cool. Tank bangers are one of the most effective (and inexpensive!) ways to do this thanks to the fact that sound travels very well underwater!
This elastic band fits around the body of a SCUBA tank. All you do is reach back to pull on the hard knob and let go. As a result, it will strike the tank body, making a loud noise.
Sealife Identification Guides
The vast majority of snorkelers and divers out there enjoy these sports because of the wildlife they get to observe. Sharks, whales, sea turtles, reef fish, you name it, there’s a diver out there who’s got them on a bucket list.
Of all the underwater life a diver might see, tropical reef fish are some of the most common and dizzyingly diverse. As such, a reliable fish identification guide might be one of the most information-dense gifts you can get a snorkeler or diver.
The best reef fish ID guides out there are Paul Humann’s Reef Fish Identification series. They include full-color photographs plus practical taxonomic and habitat information to make quick-referencing easy. Pick the region (either Caribbean or Tropical Pacific) where your friend does most of their snorkeling or diving.
If you want to go all out, a hardcover set of all three volumes (though expensive) makes for a particularly impressive gift!
Waterproof Companion Guides
On the less expensive side, there are also waterproof companion guides for reef fish and reef creatures in the Caribbean. These handy pocketbooks act as companions to the larger volumes and are especially useful to have on-site for boat trips and shore treks.
Useful Travel Gifts For Snorkelers and Divers That Improve Organization and Security
Unless you’re lucky enough to live close to an ideal snorkeling or diving site, then you have to travel to enjoy these watersports. Sometimes that can be a drive to the beach, but often it will be a flight to another country. Even on-site, a snorkeler or diver needs a good way to store and carry their gear on boats and shore treks, often while wet!
So here is a list of useful travel items that will make your friend’s journeys a little more organized, comfortable, and secure. I’m not talking huge, expensive luggage sets here, but items that actually make for practical gifts (yes I’m shading other gift listicles out there, fight me).
Mask and Snorkel Bag
A handy accessory for both snorkelers and divers. This compact mesh bag is ideal for storing a mask and snorkel while allowing them to dry. A small bag like this also makes your mask and snorkel easier to access outside your full gear bag. In addition, there’s room in there for some anti-fog and other small accessories too! For snorkeling-only trips where a full gear bag is unnecessary, this little pouch is a great option!
For something a bit more versatile than the compact pouch above, a simple mesh backpack is also an excellent option for a snorkeler or diver to keep their accessories in. The mesh allows the gear to dry while keeping everything visible.
Waterproof Valuables Pouch
Where do you put vital items like credit cards, keys, and cash while you’re underwater? Some folks have greater peace of mind if they can keep such essentials on their person at all times.
Personally, I prefer soft pouches for storing valuables rather than hard cases. A pouch like this, for example, is versatile in where you can keep it. Around your neck on a lanyard, tucked into your snorkel vest, or tied onto a belt, it all works well! This one is waterproof to 5 meters deep (15 feet), so it’s only suitable for snorkeling and other shallow/surface activities.
A simple nylon belt with a snap buckle is a great way to carry your valuables while snorkeling. For example, the nylon pouch on this belt is big enough for a wallet and waterproof up to 5 meters deep (15 feet). I also sometimes like to tuck my snorkel into my belt on duck dives! This is a gift that would work well for snorkelers, but not SCUBA divers or freedivers as they already have to wear weight belts.
Weight Net Bag
Speaking of weight, divers use a lot of it! While a weight belt is an essential item for any SCUBA diver (and most freedivers) hauling it around out of the water is never fun!
If your diver friend has their own weight, then this sturdy net bag will be just the thing for them! Rather than awkwardly shifting about at the bottom of their gear duffel, this small net bag will keep weights easily accessible and transportable. The reinforced seams and handles can accommodate up to 80 lbs (36 kg) of weight, which is more than they’ll ever need. The chunky, sturdy PVC tube handles also make carrying around all that weight easy on your hands. Finally, the tough mesh will let the weights air dry after rinsing.
Wetsuit Changing Mat
Have you ever had to awkwardly change out of a wetsuit on a sandy beach? Not fun… for you or the wetsuit!
But this handy changing mat gives you a clean platform to change out of your wet gear on. You can also use it as a platform for hosing everything down! Fold everything up when you’re done to keep your wet gear and towels away from sand and/or car seat until you can hang everything up to dry.
Waterproof Car Seat Protector
How many of you are guilty of sitting in the car in your swimsuit while it’s not completely dry? I know I am!
Instead, protect your car seat from wet swimsuits and gear with these handy covers! It comes in multiple colors so you can match the interior of your car.
Travel First-Aid Kit
This highly durable and compact (5.5 x 7.5 x 3.5 in) first-aid kit is chock full of everything you might need in an outdoor emergency.
The inner compartments are also water-resistant and well-organized with stitched labels. There’s even an extra compartment available for personalized medication needs.
Though this kit would be great for any outdoor adventure, it’s small enough to easily fit in a diver’s gear bag too!
Portable Luggage Scale
Folks who are into watersports are also, by necessity, into traveling… traveling with lots of gear! For SCUBA divers who like to travel with their full kit, dealing with luggage weight restrictions can be a royal PITA, especially as airlines seem to constantly be changing the rules!
Therefore, a portable scale like this is a useful tool for any traveler with hefty luggage! For example, this model has a capacity of 1 – 50 kg (2.2 – 110 lbs) and an accuracy of 0.05 kg (0.1 lb). You can also set the units and specify a target weight setting.
Green Gifts for Snorkelers and Divers That Reduce Waste And Single-Use Plastics
Snorkelers and divers tend to be environmentally-conscious. If someone loves spending time underwater, 99% of the time it’s because they love underwater creatures and ecosystems. Especially with the state of the world today, snorkelers and divers are always looking for ways to minimize their contribution to ocean pollution. Therefore, any item that will help your friend to reduce waste and single-use plastics will likely be much appreciated as a gift!
SCUBA Tank Water Bottle
Plastic water bottles are quite possibly the consumer product I most abhor. Not only is the commodification of potable water something I find intrinsically disturbing, but to add the plastic waste on top of that is just too much! Thankfully, more and more folks are relying on reusable and recyclable water bottles these days!
And what better water bottle for a diver than a stainless steel mini SCUBA tank! These cute bottles hold about 800 mL and come in three colors (blue, white, and yellow).
Actually Reef-Safe Sunscreen
Generally speaking, I prefer to minimize sunscreen use while I’m in the water by relying on clothing coverage instead. I also have darker skin so I can get away with this in a way my blondie partner, for example, can’t.
Think your snorkeler or diver friend might be interested? Then why not get them a Stream2Sea sample kit as a gift! This particular kit includes samples of sunscreen, sun and sting relief gel, biodegradable shampoo and conditioner, and a handy “Ingredients To Avoid” information card.
Waste-Reducing Toiletries and Household Products
Just recently I discovered AWasteFreeWorld, a UK-based company that specializes in making green versions of common household items. Turns out there are passionate divers among the company’s founders so a lot of their products feature ocean themes.
For example, check out their biodegradable travel bar soap that’s also antiseptic and antifungal. Or how about some plastic-free hair ties and a year’s supply of bamboo toothbrushes? Want an alternative to plastic cling-wrap? Try these wax food wraps featuring whale patterns (heart eyes!) instead! Or say goodbye to grotty dish sponges with these shark-patterned anti-bacterial scrubbies made from organic cotton!
These folks make so much awesome stuff, and it all comes in plastic-free packaging!
For a truly awesome gift, go for their Plastic-Free Starters Kit, which includes bamboo cutlery, cotton produce bags, a coconut fiber scouring pad, a shampoo bar, a bamboo toothbrush, and a month’s supply of toothpaste tabs.
Clothing Gifts for Snorkelers and Divers
Ok, be honest here. If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably read a bunch of other articles on gifts for snorkelers and divers too, right? How many of them featured full-on gear and clothing like rashguards, wetsuits, masks, etc.? Like hello, unless you know exactly your loved one’s size and what specific activities they need the gear for (let alone personal style!) these will probably not be good gifts! Seriously, who puts these lists together thinking they’ll actually be useful to someone gift shopping??
Even so, there are some clothing items that do make good gifts for snorkelers and divers. These are smaller accessories without strict fitting requirements. They’re also useful even in multiples, so you don’t need to worry if your friend already has one…
So let’s talk about bandannas and socks for snorkelers and divers!
Bandannas for sun protection and keeping long hair out of the way
Many divers and snorkelers (myself included!) love Buff bandanas. These are stretchy, colorfully-patterned tubes you can wear and tie in a bunch of ways. I like wearing them in my hair from day-to-day, but I also have one that I set aside for water activity.
Don’t worry if your friend turns out to already have one because it’s always fun to have extra patterns to mix and match with!
Fin socks are useful and easy gifts for snorkelers and divers
Who doesn’t like getting socks for the holidays? Though I once begrudged these gifts as boring when I was a kid, today I always appreciate having extra socks to replace the ones I’ve worn out. As it turns out, socks make great gifts for snorkelers and divers too! Water socks, to be precise!
These are the socks I prefer for wearing inside full-foot fins. The cut is low enough to be comfortable in warm water, but the ankle tapers slightly at the back. As a result, they’re great for protecting the Achilles area, which is a notorious blister spot with fins!
For a bit more warmth, these high-cut socks are also a great option for full-foot fins. They’re still thin enough to be worn inside a hard-soled dive boot as well for an extra insulation boost. The textured sole also makes them a good choice for walking around on boat decks without fear of slipping!
Alternatively, these inexpensive water socks are ideal for when you want the least amount of extra insulation. They’ll also make slipping on your full-foot fins and dive boots easier without overheating your feet!
Related Post: Wearing Socks With Fins
Gifts for Snorkelers and Divers: More Ideas!
Still searching for the best gift after that long list? Well, here are a few more ideas to give you even further inspiration!
Gift Certificates and Passes
Rather than a generic Amazon gift card, how about a gift certificate from a dive store? Leisure Pro is my favorite online dive shop, for example. Alternatively, you could go for an eLearning Gift Pass for PADI’s online courses. This would be an excellent option if you know your friend or loved one wants to learn SCUBA.
Spas, Bathhouses, and Hydrotherapy
Your diver friend loves the water, that much is clear! So give them a special treat with a trip to a bathhouse or spa that features water circuits and hydrotherapy!
Contribute to Training and Trips
Perhaps you know your diver friend is planning an upcoming expedition or training course. Because budgeting for such trips is expensive, your friend might appreciate an offer from you to partially (or even in-whole!) fund their experience.
Underwater-Themed Video Games
This last one is quite personal for me because I’m also a gamer. If the water baby in your life also likes video games then consider gifting them one that features underwater exploration or survival. Some of my favorites include ABZU, Subnautica, Raft, and Freediver: Triton Down (VR only).
Do you have more great gift ideas for snorkelers and divers? If you’re a water baby, what kinds of gifts would you like to receive? Let me know in the comments!
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