What To Wear Sailing

If you are planning to spend a day out on a sail boat, and you've never been sailing before, you may be wondering what to wear for sailing. Whether you are a seasoned sailor or this is your first time on a boat, knowing what to wear for sailing may save you from unpleasant weather or a nasty injury. Here are some guidelines to help overcome your land legs and take you out to sea.

To dress properly for sailing, you will need:

  • A hat
  • A tank top
  • A T-shirt
  • A sweater or sweatshirt
  • A windbreaker or rain jacket
  • Shorts or long pants/zip-offs
  • Rubber-soled shoes
  • A bathing suit
  • A towel
  • Sunscreen
  1. Wear the right shoes. It is important to wear shoes with rubber soles to protect you from slipping on the wet deck. Either running shoes or deck shoes are the best choice. If you are comfortable in slip-ons, go ahead and buy yourself a pair of stylish deck shoes, otherwise opt for a supportive tie-shoe to protect you against nasty falls.
  2. Wear shorts or long pants, depending on the weather. If you know it will be chilly, you might want to wear long pants like jeans, or even zip-offs. Make sure they are loose enough and comfortable so you can work around the boat if you choose. Zip-offs are convenient because they convert to shorts. Nylon pants are idea to wear for sailing because they are lightweight, dry quickly and are almost indestructible.
  3. Wear layers on top, with several shirts or blouses for all weather possibilities. Start with a tank top and then a T-shirt, and layer over that with a lightweight, long-sleeve shirt. Some long-sleeve shirts are especially made for wearing in the sun. These shirts are lightweight and have ventilation sewn in, as well as providing sun protection.
  4. Bring a sweater and a windbreaker or rain jacket. A cotton sweater or sweatshirt is a nice item to wear when sailing if you will be out later in the day when the sun sets. A windbreaker or rain jacket is always a welcome wardrobe addition when you are out sailing. Keep your choice of jacket lightweight and easy to pack. Many of these come in their own squish-able, little pouches for tucking into a pocket or travel bag.
  5. Wear a hat when you go sailing. A hat will protect your head from the sun and heat, providing shade and keeping you cooler. A baseball cap offers shade for your eyes, while a large-brimmed straw hat can also protect the back of your neck.
  6. Bring a bathing suit and towel to go sailing. It may or may not be on the agenda to go swimming, but you may want to bask in the sun on the deck. Bring a suit that is comfortable and one that makes it easy for you to move around freely.
  7. Last but not least, wear sunscreen when you go sailing. Although not an item of clothing, sunscreen is important, especially if you are not used to being out in the elements. Apply before going out sailing and bring extra for touch ups.

Knowing what to wear when sailing becomes instinctive after you have been out on the boat several times, but for newcomers, use this easy checklist to help you remember.