A family wears life jackets while riding in a boat.

What Should I Wear on a Boat?

There’s something undeniably thrilling about setting sail on a boat, whether it’s for a leisurely cruise, a fishing expedition, or a day of watersports. But before you step aboard, one question often arises: What should I wear on a boat? This guide will help you dress the part for a day on the water.

1. Dress for the Elements

Weather conditions can change rapidly on the water, so it’s essential to dress accordingly. Here’s what you need to consider:

Sun Protection

Opt for lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants made from breathable, UV-protective fabric to shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and sunscreen for extra defense.

Layer Up

Even on warm days, temperatures can drop when the wind picks up or if you encounter unexpected rain. Layering is key, so bring a waterproof jacket or windbreaker that you can easily slip on if needed.


Choose non-slip, closed-toe shoes with good grip to prevent slips and falls on wet surfaces. Boat shoes, deck shoes, or water-resistant sandals are ideal choices.

2. Stay Comfortable

Comfort is paramount when spending a day on the water. Here’s how to ensure you stay comfortable throughout your maritime journey:

Breathable Fabrics

Opt for lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics like cotton or synthetic blends that dry quickly and keep you cool and comfortable, even when the sun is beating down.

Freedom of Movement

Whether you’re casting a line, hoisting sails, or simply lounging on deck, you’ll want clothing that allows for unrestricted movement. Choose relaxed-fit clothing that won’t constrict your movements or ride up uncomfortably.


If there’s a chance you’ll be taking a dip, be sure to wear swimwear underneath your clothes for easy transitions from boat to water and back again.

3. Prioritize Safety

While weather and comfort are important considerations, safety should always be your number one priority on the water. A life jacket is your most important piece of safety equipment when boating. In the event of an emergency, it can keep you afloat and help you stay safe until help arrives. 

If you’re boating with friends or family, wearing a life jacket sets a positive example for others onboard, especially children. Make sure everyone aboard has a life jacket that fits properly. Every passenger should know where the life jackets are stored and how to put them on properly.

Ready to Hit the Water in Style?

Whether you’re sailing the open seas, cruising along a tranquil river, or casting lines in a serene lake, dressing appropriately for a day on the water is essential for both comfort and safety. By considering the elements, and prioritizing safety, you’ll be ready to hit the water in style. Happy boating!

When it comes to keeping your boat clean, look to Captains Preferred Products boat cleaning supplies. Find everything you need to keep your vessel squeaky clean all season — always at the best prices.

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