What to Wear for Sailing – All You Need to Know!

A sailing trip can never be successful without the right clothes, footwear, and other accessories. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned sailor, you have to know what to wear for sailing before embarking on the boat.

Putting on the right outfit when sailing will not only ensure you beat the bad weather at sea but will also guarantee a safer and more fun-filled sailing experience.

There are a set of different outfits, gear, and accessories that you can wear based on the weather and/or the boat you’re sailing in. All of them are discussed below in detail.

Outfits to Wear According To the Weather

Weather dictates a lot when it comes to choosing the best outfit to wear when sailing. Regardless of whether it is summer, winter, or spring, you need to get a set of clothes, accessories, and gear that will make sailing comfortable.

Here are some of the clothing, gear, and accessories you need for sailing during different seasons:


Summer is one of the best times to go sailing but overexposure to the sun can irritate the skin and make you uncomfortable. So when venturing into a day or weeklong sailing tour, be sure to bring along a t-shirt/short-sleeve shirt, lightweight pants, a hat and a pair of polarized sunglasses. And if you are so much into swimming or snorkeling, then carrying a swimsuit and skiff boots is a must. These items will not only ensure you enjoy the utmost comfort but will also help you avoid the damaging effects of the sun.


Despite the extreme cold during winter, you can still have a great time sailing if at all you choose the right outfits that will keep you warm throughout. In order to avoid any cases of hypothermia, you better come along with a wetsuit, drysuit, waterproof jacket, disposable hand warmers, boat shoes, and/or hydrophobic socks.

A drysuit can really come in handy if you’re planning to engage in on-water activities. Remember to only choose sailing clothes made from polypropylene, wool, silk, and other synthetic fibers. That’s because these materials guarantee a great deal of breathability and dryness. Cotton usually absorbs water at a higher rate and retains it for a long hence it’s a NO-NO.


Spring can be characterized by a sunny, windy or rainy weather and you need to be prepared thoroughly if you’re going sailing at during this period. For a comfortable sailing experience, you might need to carry a woolen t-shirt, a pair of warm socks, a hoodie, a pair of Omni-wick pants and a pair of sailing gloves. You might also need some polarized sunglasses for protection and/or performance.


Fall is as cold as anyone would think, and you just need to have the right gear if you are to be guaranteed a fun-filled sailing experience. As such, you need to carry a toque, rashguard, hydrophobic tops & pants, a wetsuit, sailing gloves, a wetsuit hood, booties, and cotton socks.

Outfit To Wear According To the Type of Boat

Dinghy Sailing

Sailing on a dinghy exposes you to water and wind, something that might make you feel too cold or wet. You wouldn’t possibly want to battle with hypothermia; hence you should come with proper dingy sailing clothes and gear on your tour.

For cold weather, waterproof salopettes or dry suits are a must, and during cool weather (windy days), you need a wetsuit and rash vest for extra comfort.

A typical summer dinghy sailing can go well with a pair of hiking shorts or rash shorts as they prevent chafing in the event temperatures rise.

You might also need base layers, sailing gilets, and dinghy smocks when sailing in any kind of weather. Other accessories that might make your sailing even more comfortable include sailing gloves, sunglasses, and a waterproof bag to keep stuff dry.

For purposes of moving comfortably around the dinghy, you need to wear non-slip, non-marking shoes with a closed-toe design.

Clothes to wear on a Dinghy sailing boat
Keelboat Sailing

If you are keelboat sailing for the first, you don’t need to buy all the expensive boating outfits. For summer sailing, a T-shirt and a pair of shorts can just be fine. A rain jacket can come in handy when the weather is windy or drizzly. Also, don’t forget to wear a non-slip, pair of closed shoes when embarking on the keelboat.

Clothes to wear on a Keelboat
Sailing Yacht 

A yacht is one of the most comfortable boats to sail in. But in order to make your sailing adventure even more comfortable and fun, you need to have the right attire on. For summer yacht sailing, you might need to wear a T-shirt or lightweight top, a hat, and a pair of sunglasses. In chilly or cold weather, you might need a sailing jacket, a pair of sailing socks, non-marking shoes, and a pair of gloves.

Tips To Consider When Sailing For the First Time

If you’re taking on a sailing adventure for the first time, then you need to dress warmly and according to the weather. Be sure to carry sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays during summer or spring. Also, don’t carry jewelry when going sailing as they might drop in the water.

Other bonus sailing tips include:

  • Have something to eat before embarking on your sailing tour
  • Bring a seasickness band to wear in case you feel nauseated when the boat is sailing
  • Put on life jackets when sailing on a dinghy or keelboat, especially when the weather is bad
  • Don’t leave your mobile phone and/or wallet in your pocket, as they might get misplaced
  • Don’t drop or throw things overboard when sailing
  • Always follow the skipper’s instructions and seek clarification where you don’t understand
  • Use the toilet facilities around the beach or boating facility before starting sailing

Have a checklist of all the clothing and items you need for your sailing tour or expedition


These are just some of the most important things you need to know when going sailing for the first time. What you choose to wear while at sea needs to be comfortable and in line with the weather and the type of boat you’re sailing on.

Whether you are planning to go on a one-day sailing tour or a weeklong sailing expedition, you need to plan ahead and have everything you need in place before embarking on the adventure. This will help you minimize stress and allow you to have a smooth and fun-filled sailing experience.

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What do you wear when you go sailing? You are welcome to share your experience in the comment below.

6 thoughts on “What to Wear for Sailing – All You Need to Know!”

  1. Thanks for this advice. I have been sailing a couple of time and loved it but I didn’t really have the right gear. What are hydrophobic socks? I can see that having the right equipment is important as it is with any sport or hobby. Thanks for sharing your insight and offering some excellent advice.

    • Hi Gail,

      You are very welcome! Yes, wearing the right clothes when sailing will make your excursion more pleasant and comfortable. Hydrophobic socks are socks that were treated with a particular substance that renders the socks water resistant. Meaning they won’t absorb water if they get wet. 
      I hope it helped:) Please, don’t hesitate to contact me with any question. I am always happy to help!

      Thank you for the comment and wish you all the best!

  2. This post was full of great recommendations for sailing attire! I was on a Florida sailing cruise and we stopped at an island to collect sea shells. I had on regular old flip-flops and it was really tough to walk in the shallow water. Now I know what kind of shoes to get for my next tour! Can you recommend a good sunscreen that doesn’t burn your eyes?

    • Hi Lauren,

      I am glad you’ve found the article interesting:)
      It’s best to wear water shoes to protect your feet from broken seashells and pebbles. 
      My eyes were stinging too, and the only solution I’ve found was not to put sunscreen above my eyes so that it doesn’t flow if I was sweating. However, I use bio sunscreen to keep the sea clean:) I’ve heard that the Zinca sunscreen and the Anthelios 40 Sunscreen were excellent!

      Should try:)

      Let me know if you need to know more info. I’ll be more than happy to help!

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a fantastic day!

    • Hi Lauren,

      Yes, that’s a good idea too, wearing a hat or headband will prevent the sunscreen to flow into your eyes!
      Thank you again for your comment. Have a lovely day!


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