Five Under the Radar Christmas Gifts for the PWC Enthusiast

Cool and useful gifts for the PWC lover

Yeah, yeah, someone you know (or maybe even you) has made their list and checked it twice. Christmas is here, and with it a great chance to give or get some truly cool, useful gifts with a personal watercraft theme. But while wetsuits, PFDs, and performance parts will top many a wish list, there’s many a useful item that flies a little under the radar.

That’s where we come in. We’ve assembled a list of less obvious gifts that we’ve tested, used, and given the stamp of approval. No, it’s by no means definitive as there’s an abundance of cool stuff out there that will bring a smile come Christmas morning. But if you’re looking for that last-minute, less obvious stocking stuffer — or perhaps fine-tuning your wish list — read on. You just may find a winner.

Battery Tender

Battery Tender

For all the technological advances in the PWC industry in recent years, one small detail can still bring your fun to a fast halt — a dead battery. We’ve all been there…the water’s calm, the sun’s out, and you eagerly hit the start button…only to hear a sickening click. Avoid the problem by maintaining that battery between rides in the simplest fashion possible.

The Battery Tender is like a trickle charger, but with a computer brain. It brings your battery up to a full charge, and then rather than cook it or stop, it kicks into a maintenance mode that keeps it ready to go when you are. If voltage drops, the charger kicks back into gear. An LED indicator shows what’s going on to eliminate guesswork.

Battery Tenders are available in various sizes, including a waterproof unit that’s great for PWC. Info: $39.95-64.95;

Teva Gnarkosi

Teva Gnarkosi

Not everyone loves the typical wetsuit-style bootie. The reasons are varied — style, support, traction. A cool alternative of late has been sneaker-style shoes custom made for water usage.

One of our new favorites is the Teva Gnarkosi. From the manufacturer that brought us all those sandal-like water shoes years back, the Gnarkosi looks more like a legitimate sneaker, albeit with some rather bold color schemes. The key to its success, however, is the “drain frame,” a hole-filled platform that surrounds the midsole and attaches to the upper. Unlike a soggy sneaker, these gaps allow drainage and ventilation, perfect for PWC use.

The lightweight, breathable, synthetic upper provides sneaker-style comfort and support, and the soles offer good traction in slippery conditions. Info: $100;

Dry Pak Cell Phone Case

Dry Pak Cell Phone Case

It seems like everybody’s got a pricey smart phone nowadays and plenty of us want to bring it with us on a ride. If you’re going any distance, it makes sense. A phone’s a great tool to call for assistance should you have trouble out on the water. Pricey phones and water, however, don’t mix well. And if you think that zippered baggie is going to do the trick, you might be in for a costly surprise.

I’ve had good success with the Dry Pak Cell Phone case. A 4” x 6” bag with a clear TPU front and blue TPU, padded backside, the Dry Pak features a clip-style seal at the top. Slide in your phone, close the opening, and seal it tight with two twist-style knobs. The contents stay dry, and depending on your phone, you may even find the touchscreen works through the material. A lanyard and clip allow you to secure the bag.

Sure, there are probably pricier, superior alternatives, but the Dry Pak seems to get the job done. Info: $13.99;

Fuel Treatment (Various Brands)

PWC Fuel Stabilizers

Boring, yes, but fuel treatments are fast becoming a necessity in today’s ethanol-tainted world. Think of it like getting underwear on Christmas — certainly not the most exciting gift under the tree, but one you’ll certainly appreciate over time.

Fuel treatments work to protect your engine, fuel lines, and plastic parts from the effects of ethanol, which is allowed to be blended into most commercially available fuel supplies. Ethanol may be okay for your cars, but it’s not a good mix for your PWC engine. It attracts water, can “phase separate” and lower your octane, even loosen up accumulated gunk and sludge and send it to your engine. That’s why several PWC manufacturers are strongly suggesting you add a fuel stabilizer/conditioner at every fill-up to counteract any potential effects.

Take your pick…OEM manufacturers have their own house brands. Other recognized manufacturers include Lucas, Sta-bil, and Maxima.

Airhead Bungee Dock Line

Airhead Bungee Dock Line

Though they’ve gotten far better (some models even feature cleats!), PWC are still mostly a pain to tie up at the dock…especially when you’re just making a quick pit stop and don’t want to hassle with 15’ of dock line.

Bungee dock lines are quick, simple solutions that easily stow away yet do their job when you need them. Essentially a shock-loaded dockline with two loops on the end, you can loop one end around your steering column, the other around the closest cleat or pole, and have quick security. The bungee-like action of the line absorbs the shock or rolling waves, and two foam floats alleviate chafing. Info: $16,

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