Have you been nautical or nice? Dr. Sargent’s Maritime Gift Guide

Dr. Elizabeth Sargent, posted this amazing #OceanGift list on twitter and was kind enough to share it with DSN! And I am going to insert a shameless plug here: you should definitely check out her awesome Etsy shop. Someone in your life NEEDS an Oarfish Dish. When she’s not being an ocean gift guru, Dr. Sargent is an adjunct marine science faculty at the University of South Carolina interested in phytoplankton, ocean biogeochemistry, and sciart. 

Every year at about this time many of us are struggling to think of gift ideas for the marine scientists and ocean lovers in our lives. While sitting in my home office this morning, I noticed I was surrounded by ocean related items that I had either gifted or received over the past few years (all to/from oceanographers). I have compiled a sampling of those below to help inspire you on your #OceanGift buying journey this holiday season. I’ve tried to keep everything below $50, but most items are much cheaper than that.

First up, a pocket microscope makes a great gift for anyone, but especially someone who spends a lot of time picking up bits and pieces on beaches. I own the Carson 60X-100X LED Lighted Pocket Microscope, and I love it. Perhaps something a bit larger with phone-photo capabilities is more your giftee’s speed. Echo Lab’s $10 wooden scope is wonderful for this. The recipient also gets the added fun of putting the scope together. Another great ocean gift idea is nautical or marine themed pint glasses. I love the conversations this $15 plankton pint glass from Cognitive Surplus has started. Useable gifts are always appreciated. On that theme, a set of ocean themed cards is always a good ocean gift! These  are $5 each and are cute to boot.I also LOVE these paper cut cards from Red Corvid. Her shop is closing at the end of the year, so you can currently get bundles of seaside themed items for <$20.Speaking of paper cuts, Crafterall does beautiful work. A good ocean gift could be an island or coastal area beloved to your giftee. I also like these nautical chart neck ties. They are a little on the pricey side at $45, but a good gift nonetheless. Another great ocean gift idea is a vintage marine themed print. There are lots of options out there (Ernst Haeckle, anyone?), but here is one I especially like: a <$10 1950s plankton printIf, like me, your giftee is more into antique maps than prints, there are LOADS of options there too. I bought this set of early 1900s polar maps and gifted them separately to my partner after he traveled to Antarctica and the Arctic.Another map option would be something on a broader scale, like this world map decal. This decal currently hangs above my couch, and it has survived 2 moves and 3 wall transfers.

Options for an ocean gift that are wearable are nearly endless. I own a variety of plankton, photosynthesis, carbon cycle, and other scientific t-shirts and sweaters. I also bought my brother this ~$25 diatom tee a few years ago.

If you know someone who researches a specific element or biogeochemical cycle, why not gift these $15 periodic table barrettes? I own C & N and have gifted these on multiple occasions.


If your giftee is more of a cufflinks person than a barrettes person, Shop Gibberish has you covered there too. I gifted these $20 periodic table cufflinks as a viva gift a few years ago.


Another idea for a recent graduate: thesis word cloud! You can use free online word cloud generators & then just pay to frame it. We have ours in home office.

A staple gift option for me has always been science books. My personal favorite is Richard Kirby’s Ocean Drifters book on members of the plankton community. The images are simply stunning. You can purchase it as an e-book or in print.


Alternative options: books based on ship logs or famous journeys/expeditions. I especially like reading first-person perspectives of harrowing voyages. Here is a sampling of some we own:

Second to last, consider nautical jewelry options. I own an anchor and a fish hook bracelet that I love.

Lastly, think about getting some custom work done by one of the many amazing sciartists out there. A quick search of the #sciart hashtag on Instagram or Twitter will open your eyes to a world of options. One of my personal favorites is Noyes Deisgns.


I also do earth and ocean themed sciart at www.eseas.etsy.com, and am happy to recommend other sciartists to you if you have gifts in mind but aren’t sure where to start your search.

So don’t stress over gifts for your sea loving friends and family. The ocean is vast and we are easy to shop for, I promise.

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