What to wear Sailing

Are you gearing up to go sailing for the very first time?

With your inaugural experience of the freedom that comes with getting out on the water ahead of you, there is much to be excited about. Now is a good moment in which to explore how to get properly kitted out. Dressing appropriately will ensure that your yacht-based adventure will be the absolute best it can be in terms of both comfort and safety. Perhaps you are well past your first sailing trip but looking to kit up properly, having found an activity that is worth investing in. Whichever the case may be, read on to discover our ultimate guide to what to wear sailing, including some extra-handy tips that are certain to lend you an air of know-how.

What you wear matters

Even those who have a lot of experience getting out into the wilds of nature can be thrown by the elements when sailing. On the one hand, it is often quite a bit cooler and windier out on the water than it is on the shore. On the other, when the sun's rays bounce back at us from below as well as coming from above, we can fall prey to sunburn in places we had never imagined! Of course, the constant presence of wetness is another factor to consider and wearing clothing that will not hold water excessively is vital. Being damp is also very cooling, and weather conditions out on a yacht can change surprisingly quickly. So, preparation is key, and listening to the advice of your skipper is always a solid course of action.

Dressing for the elements

A great strategy for sailing is to dress in layers. Glorious sunshine might call for a t-shirt and shorts but bringing some warm layers along will help you ensure that you don't get caught out. Equally, even in the loveliest of conditions, a waterproof jacket can be an exceptionally welcome ally. If you are heading out on a voyage during the cooler months, you may want to consider a waterproof and breathable high-collar jacket, a pair of waterproof and breathable high-waist bib salopettes, some decent thermals, a hat and some gloves too. Choose lightweight fabrics that will dry out quickly and not act as a sponge. A wool jumper will inevitably weigh you down. It is not strictly necessary to seek out specialist sailing apparel for your first trips out on the water, but over time you may wish to purchase some fit-for-purpose items that are designed to perform optimally under sailing conditions.

All things footwear related

On a yacht, you will need to be able to move around freely, in potentially slippery conditions, with the added factor of the boat's movement on the water. With all of this in mind, your shoes should be both comfortable and non-slip. Go for securely fastened footwear, to be certain that they won’t slip off your feet unexpectedly. Lastly, choose a pair with non-marking soles to avoid irritating your skipper and creating embarrassment. Once again, if heading out in soggier or chillier conditions, you may wish to consider a decent pair of high-sided waterproof boots over trainers or deck shoes.

Safety in mind

When out on the water, things can happen quickly. There can be a lot to react to when surrounded by so many moving parts - especially within a vessel that is moving. It is always best to keep in mind that the ropes, pulleys, and devices on a yacht might shift at any moment, and of course the boom, (that long horizontal pole extending from the mast), might swing towards your head. To keep yourself safe in such an environment, always listen to instruction, and make sure long hair is tied up, loose jewellery is removed, and avoid wearing anything long and flowing in case it gets caught up. Avoid bringing valuables along in case they get lost or damaged. Do bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, but make sure they have a strap or cord, so they don't go overboard!

Life jackets

Under the guidance of your skipper, instructor, or fellow crew mates, you are very unlikely to take an unexpected dunk, but it is always best to be prepared. When sailing, safety should always be at the forefront of your thought process. Good practices such as wearing a lifejacket or personal floatation device, (PFD for short), are what allows us to really get into the moment and enjoy it with confidence. On most boats, wearing a lifejacket is obligatory. However, even at times when this is not the case it is wise to wear yours with pride regardless. If your skipper or crew tell you to put on your lifejacket, always do so right away. When being introduced to sailing for the first time, you may find that a lifejacket is provided. If in doubt, always ask ahead of time.

Being ready for action

Sailing is a full body activity that calls for being ready for action. Choosing the right clothing and accessories will mean that you can move around freely and stay comfortable, no matter what the weather does. Staying agile and keeping your hands free will help you move around the boat safely. Listening to instruction will ensure that you avoid mishaps, be they boom related or otherwise! With all of this considered, you will be all set to have fun, learn, and enjoy the adventure. For your sailing clothing essentials, head over to the Jimmy Green Marine clothing pages before taking to the waves

Published: Apr 26, 2021