Are you going on a boating trip with friends this weekend? Heading out onto the lake for the open ocean for some boating fun is a great way to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. The water has a calming effect on our minds, and it’s a great way to unplug from the pressures of society.
So, what will you be wearing during your boat adventure? You need to dress for the occasion, and the right attire helps you enjoy it that much more. What you wear out on the water makes a big difference to the boating experience.
This guide to what to wear boating gives you everything you need to know about choosing the right gear for the right conditions. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
- Assessing Water And Weather Conditions
- Planning Your Trip and Gear
- Expect a Soaking
- What to Wear Boating in Warm Weather
- What to Wear Boating in Cold Weather
- What to Wear Boating in Rough Water
- Where Can I Buy the Best Boating Gear?
- What Can I Expect to Spend on Boating Gear?
- In Closing – Don’t Forget the PFD
Assessing Water And Weather Conditions
Before heading out on the water, you need to assess the weather and water conditions. An app like “Windy” can help you predict the weather a day in advance with decent accuracy. You’ll need to dress for the weather and the water when you’re out on the ocean.
If you’re boating around the Gulf or the southern regions of the east and west seaboards, you can expect mild weather. However, there are times when things can turn rough, and you need to know what to expect when you’re out at sea.
The biggest issue out on the water is the wind. The wind will carry that cold air along the surface and into your boat if the water is cold. As a result, you’ll find that it might feel sunny and warm on the shore but absolutely freezing out on the water.
Apps like Windy can give you the water temperature in the area you’re visiting. Make sure you analyze the temperature and dress appropriately. The last thing you want is to start feeling cold when you’re an hour into a three-hour boat trip.
By the end, you’ll feel miserable, and you just can’t wait to get home to a warm shower. By dressing right, you get to enjoy your boating experience without letting the weather get in the way.
Planning Your Trip and Gear
Plan your wardrobe the night before you go out on the boat. You can plan your attire for the day using the information from the weather report.
You’ll need warmer attire if you’re boating in the Northern East coast or Californian waters. The summer may provide days where you can get away with light clothing, but you’ll need to watch the weather on the day you go out.
Suppose you’re boating on inland water sources like lakes, dams, and rivers. In that case, the chances are you’re dealing with calmer waters and more predictable weather patterns. Check the weather report on the news the day before you go to know what to wear out on the water.
Expect a Soaking
The reality is you’re going out on the water. If you’re at sea, the natural sway of the ocean is bound to kick some water spray over the bow at some point of the trip. If you want to stay dry, we recommend sitting towards the vessel’s stern, away from the spray.
If you’re in the mood for some wet n wild fun, then the bow offers you a great way to cool off with some spray on a hot day. If you’re going out to sea, you have to expect that you’re in for a soaking. So, make sure you take along a spare set of clothes to change if you end up getting wet.
What to Wear Boating in Warm Weather
Boating in warm weather – is there any better way to enjoy life? Life is good when the air is warm, and the sun is out. Here’s what you need to wear on those fine days out on the water.
Light Airy Fabrics
If you’re out on a hot, sunny day with flat water, you can get away with light, airy fabrics for your wardrobe. Wear some boardshorts or light cargo shorts and a vest or a cotton t-shirt.
Cotton is a good choice, but synthetic fabrics are better. Cotton will absorb your sweat and get clingy. Synthetic fabrics wick the moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry. If it’s really warm out, you could get away with wearing a simple vest.
When the sun gets high, it reflects off the water, increasing the temperature out on the ocean or the lake. If there’s no wind, you’ll start feeling the effects of the sun’s UV radiation fast.
A hat is absolutely essential to keep your face out of the sun. The last thing you need is to age ten years overnight from a bad facial sunburn. A hat can be a real lifesaver and prevent those wrinkles from showing up prematurely.
Choose a wide-brim hat for protection over your shoulders. If you’re going to be moving at higher speeds, we suggest wearing a baseball cap to prevent the peak of a sunhat from flapping back in the wind.
Polarized sunglasses cut the glare from the sun coming off the water. A pair of standard lenses in your sunglasses won’t cut the glare as polarized versions do.
However, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars buying the latest Oakley’s. There are plenty of affordable polarized sunglasses available from leading brands.
Look for glasses with a tint in the lens; we recommend going for a blue or yellow tint for the best light enhancement out on the ocean or lake.
As mentioned, the sun reflects off the water. So, the rays can get under your hat while you’re over the water. It’s crucial to go Ham with sunscreen. We recommend using an SPF factor of 50+ for your face and don’t forget to cover your lips.
Apply sunscreen every two to three hours, depending on the conditions. We recommend choosing a reef-friendly sunscreen to reduce your impact on the environment.
Sandals/ Boat Shoes
Wear sandals or boat shoes for your trip. You need footwear to prevent slipping around on the deck when things get wet.
Avoid wearing flip-flops, they don’t have the right support, and you may end up getting an injury because they cause a slip or fall.
Remember the Water!
You dehydrate fast when it’s hot out on the water. Remember to take water along with you and stay hydrated. The last thing you need on your trip is heat stroke!
Carry your water in an aluminum water flask, not a plastic bottle. Ocean plastic is a real environmental issue. If a plastic water bottle falls overboard, you’re adding to the problem.
What to Wear Boating in Cold Weather
If you’re out on the water in the winter or colder conditions, you’ll need to dress for the occasion. The Northern Atlantic and Pacific can get chilly in the winter, especially in the morning. Here’s what you need to wear in colder climates.
Cotton saturates with sweat and clings to your skin, making you feel cold. We recommend avoiding any cotton clothing. Use synthetic fabrics like Gore-Tex for your underlayers of clothing. These materials keep you dry by wicking away moisture from your skin.
Layering for Warmth
You’ll need to layer for warmth out on the lake or the ocean. Your first layer should be your synthetic t-shirt. Wear a zip-through fleece jacket on top of that and a heavier jacket on top of that if necessary. It may feel warmer on the shore than it is out on the water, so prepare for cooler conditions out at sea.
The wind can cause your fingers to freeze in colder climates. A pair of thermal-lined gloves will save your digits and prevent them from freezing.
Your toes and fingers are the most at-risk body parts for heat loss. Keep your feet warm with thermal-lined socks to lock in your body heat.
The scalp is also responsible for heat loss along with your feet and fingers. Wear a woolly hat or a beanie to keep your head warm and prevent heat loss.
Boat Shoes / Booties
When the water is cold, you don’t want it getting on your toes. Wear hiking boots to prevent water from entering your shoes. A pair of wetsuit booties are also a good idea.
You get a better range of motion and movement in your feet while benefiting from the heat-holding properties of neoprene. Most booties come with rubber treaded soles for grip on the boat deck.
What to Wear Boating in Rough Water
You need the right gear to enjoy the experience when boating in rough water. When you’re out on the flats or in calm offshore waters, you don’t have to worry about much spray getting over the side of the boat. However, when the water turns wild, you’re guaranteed a soaking.
Make sure you take along this kit to keep you dry and prevent the chill of the water from ruining your boating experience.
The rain poncho or fisherman’s slicker features design and construction with bright-colored plastic for visibility in rough water conditions. The slicker and hat are suitable for keeping rain and the spray off you when things get wet and wild.
The rain poncho is easy to carry and lightweight. Most of them fold up into carrying bags that are around the size of the palm of your hand. Keep one in your bag at all times and ready for use when you spot an incoming rainstorm.
Sometimes, you need a wetsuit. If the water is cold and the wind is high, a wetsuit helps you stay warm. Wetsuits work by trapping a thin film of water between the neoprene and your skin. Your body heat keeps the water warm, and you don’t feel the cold.
Wetsuits are available in different thicknesses to suit various water conditions. If you’re out in the North Atlantic, you’ll need a 3/2mm suit. In warmer waters, you can get away with a 2/2mm wetsuit.
Surfing wetsuits make the best option as they have good stretch under the armpits and around the groin area. Wetsuits come in different designs. The full suit has long arms and legs, while the spring suit has short arms and legs, or a combination of short legs and long arms or vice versa.
Fullsuits are better for colder waters, while spring suits are ideal for warmer conditions. If you’re going out on a fishing trip in the early morning before sunrise, a wetsuit can provide that added warmth you need when there’s no sun around.
Where Can I Buy the Best Boating Gear?
We recommend picking your boating gear up from an online retailer like Amazon. Amazon has the best range and prices, and they’ll have more selection than the retailer in town. You get fast, free delivery to your door and buyer protection on your order.
Plus, using apps like “Honey,” you can find deep discounts on your gear from leading retailers like Amazon, saving you money. Remember to order your clothing a few weeks before your trip to compensate for any returns.
What Can I Expect to Spend on Boating Gear?
Boating gear isn’t expensive. The only really pricey item is a wetsuit. If you need a full wetsuit, you’ll spend anywhere up to $400 on the suit, depending on the manufacturing brand.
We recommend spending money on sunscreen and sunglasses to get the best quality gear for your boating trip.
In Closing – Don’t Forget the PFD
So, keep the clothing light and loose around the arms pits to ensure you have a decent range of motion when wearing the PFD.
If you’re going out on the lake, you’re likely going to remove the PFD when you stop the boat. However, children will need to wear their PFD at all times.