Much the same as camping, hiking, or any other outdoor experience you may enjoy. When you are planning to go on a boating adventure, your comfort will influence your overall enjoyment of the day.
If you go boating and the rain suddenly comes up and you are not prepared for it, then it can make the rest of your day very uncomfortable.
Whether you are new to boating and about to take your first trip out or an avid boatsman who is trying to streamline their experience, deciding what to wear on a boat ride is not always as easy as you may expect.
Therefore, we are here to help you figure it out before you end up miserable on your next adventure.
Dress for the Season
Our first suggestion is one of the simplest. When going out on a boat, the seasons will matter more than anything else. Here is what we mean:
In the summer, you can expect to have warm weather throughout the day. It is, without a doubt, the most preferred time of the year to be on a boat. However, many areas will also have to deal with afternoon storms and rain showers.
When you are at home, these showers may be a minor inconvenience. When on a boat, those wet clothes that you are wearing after the rain can make for a miserable day. It can also turn a nice, warm boat ride back to shore much chillier.
Our suggestion is, during the summer, you can enjoy wearing shorts and tee shirts while on the boat. However, in case of a sudden rain without anywhere to get away from it, you bring a rain poncho, a rain jacket, and maybe a change of clothes that you can put on over your wet clothes if needed.
Fall Fun on the Water
Fall is usually tricky on land. It is trickier when on the open water or a lake. Days may have drastic temperature changes from morning until night. Cool mornings, hot afternoons, and then rapid cooldowns for the evening hours.
For this season, you may want to dress in layers. A light jacket, a long sleeve shirt, and pants, for the cooler times of the day, with clothing underneath so that you can take off one layer when the temperatures climb.
This will ensure your comfort no matter what Mother Nature has planned for the day.
Winter Weather Challenges
Winter is the most challenging time of the year to be on a boat. The wind of a moving boat can be brutally cold, there is dampness in the air to keep you chilled, and there is no escape from it unless you are on a large boat with a cabin.
During this time of the year, layers are best still, but the top layer should be the warmest you can find for boat riding.
When stopped to go fishing, you can remove the warm stuff and still be comfortable. Gloves, hats, and other warm accessories may also be something you should bring along to wear.
Spring Showers and Boating
Much the same as fall, spring may offer drastic temperature changes from morning throughout the afternoon. There is also a good chance for rain most days during the spring. We have all heard the stories of spring showers.
When on the water, there is an even bigger chance for it. There can be rain showers over water when land masses don’t see a drop. It depends on your luck mostly.
Therefore, rain gear is preferable, you may also need to bring layers of warm clothes that you can slip on if the weather gets cool after the rain.
Dress Appropriately for Boating
Beyond the season, there are some things you should leave as a land-only clothing item unless you are going out on a large cruising style boat.
What this means is that although you may love the three-inch heels that make your shorts and skirt look impressive, you may want to stick with flat shoes or sandals when in a small boat.
This can change based on whether you are rocking away in the waves of the Atlantic or drifting lazily around a river, but you should get the idea. Boats can sometimes move with the water.
Your heels will make it hard to not only get on and off a smaller-sized boat but may make it hard to walk around with some stability once you are relaxing on the water. A better choice will be tennis shoes, sandals, boots, and other shoes that may provide some grip and stability.
For pants, shorts or pants are ideal. Capris are an excellent choice as well. Skirts can be worn in some situations; however, it may be important to note that a tight skirt that restricts leg movement may not be a good idea.
The restriction of your legs may make it hard for you to board or exit the boat. The same is true for dresses. This may be different in lakes where the tides will never change, and it is also different if you are going on a larger boat with a ramp to make boarding easier.
Average boaters in saltwater areas may want to put careful consideration into their pants.
Shirts are easy. As long as you are comfortable, the style doesn’t matter. However, as a woman, if the shirt is baggy or loose-fitting, you may want to wear something under it to cover yourself when the boat is moving.
Other considerations may be when dressing for hot weather, lighter is better than black shirts, which hold heat, but white may allow you to get sunburned through your shirt.
Swimsuits are also popular clothing options for boating, especially during the summer when people may go waterskiing, wakeboarding, etc.
The key to your comfort when going swimming from the boat is going to be ensuring your suit fits comfortably but not loose enough to potentially fall off while you are in the water.
It will save you a lot of embarrassment to know your suit will stay where it needs to stay when you climb back on board.
Accessories Can Make All the Difference
Just as important as the clothes you wear, there are several accessories that you should never board a boat without having on hand. Our top accessories for boating include:
Life Jackets: You should have a lifejacket available for every person on board. Do not leave the dock without it for your safety. If you have kids on board, you should have a life jacket that is designed for them.
Insect Repellant: If you are lucky and live in an area where there are no pesky gnats or mosquitoes, then you are very lucky. Most people do not live in an area like this. Therefore, for comfort and the enjoyment of your day, bug repellent should be something you take with you on a day out on the boat.
Sunblock: This is very important no matter what season it is or where you live. Sun out on the water can be brutal. There typically isn’t much shade, and the light shines down, hitting you, then bounces off the water to hit you again. Even if you are out in the sun often, you can still get badly burned when boating.
Eye Protection: Wearing a hat or sunglasses is a great idea when you are on a boat. Much the same as your skin, you can hurt your eyes by being out in the bright sun and seeing it reflect off the water. The risk of this increases if you are watching the end of your pole or a bobber while facing into it.
Dry Bags: In today’s world, most of us have smartphones and other accessories that don’t necessarily need to get wet. Having a drybag on board with you will help you feel confident that your items will be safe, whether from falling overboard, getting splashed, or rained on.
Personal Necessities: When out on the water for the day, you should bring anything that you may need on a personal level. Medications, pain relievers, allergy medications, first aid kits, and other items are all good choices to bring.
You may also want to bring an extra portable power bank for your phone or GPS, especially if you are going into open waters. It isn’t hard to get turned around when on the water and GPS can help you get back home safely.
Every trip out on a boat is unique. There is no magical list that can tell you everything to bring for every possible scenario. You will have to improvise some based on your specific needs.
Our list of tips and tricks to help you decide what to wear on a boat ride is merely a starting point to help you think of other things you may want with you.
Admittedly, it may seem like a lot to consider. The good news is, once you get out there a few times, the rest will come as naturally as developing your sea legs.