No matter which sport you practice you’re going to want the right gear. When you’re out on the water there’s plenty of things to consider to make sure you’ve got the right clothes for the job. Here are a couple of tips to point you in the right direction. We focus on sailing a cabin boat but the general principles should be consistent.
Layering Clothes One, Two, Three
To have the best boating experience possible, even in tough weather conditions, the essential is to stay dry. Your clothes will have to transfer your sweat that will give you this sensation of cold away from your skin. It will also have to keep the spray water out and heat in as well. This clothing system of different layers will be the most efficient for boating activities. With this system working on the transfer properties of your clothes, you will have to avoid cotton and wool which absorb and trap the humidity in.
Layer One: Transfer
Undergarments are the base of this system, they are the transfer layer. It will be the tightest layer, close to your body. This layer will help evacuate the sweat. It could be worn alone or with a thermal layer (2) and/or with a protection layer (3). Polos, T-shirts, shorts and trousers can play this role if they are made of synthetic fabrics (polyester or polyamide). Some can be used as sun protection as well.
Layer Two: Insulation
Fleeces and jumpers are the thermal or insulation layer to keep your body warm, at the right temperature, they will also insure the transfer of the sweat outside. A thicker fleece or jumper will have more insulation protection.
Layer Three: Protection
Jackets and dungarees are the final layer of your boating clothes equipment. They will protect your from the weather conditions, by keeping the water out. For more comfort, you will prefer a more breathable 3rd layer, to complete the sweat evacuation cycle, which began with the first layer.
There are several boating activities possible and a good jacket is a jacket that will fit the specific needs of one activity or another or depending on the weather conditions. Here’s what to look out for.
An occasional sailor that will never be out on his boat at night and will get back to the port everyday. They will need a waterproof jacket, slightly respirant to protect him from the rain and the wind. We would recommend a jacket with a long collar, to the chin and an adjustable hood. These jackets are also good for activities other than boating.
A regular sailor that will practise under stronger weather conditions. A waterproof jacket will be essential, especially with greater breathability to evacuate the sweat directly. The jacket should have a longer collar and a second layer on the wrists to prevent water from entering the jacket. Hoods are more effective as well, with several adjustable positions.
An experienced sailor will have had intensive practice, out for several days and for longer expeditions in general. Their jacket will need the maximum level of waterproofness, a higher collar, a second layer on the extremities like gloves, an adjustable hood and an insulation skirt. These features are all to keep the heat in and the water out no matter what the external conditions are.
There are a variety of different jacket and clothing styles to consider too, suited better to different skill levels and expected weather conditions.
The reefer jacket was born during the French Second Empire to protect the sailors from the cold and humidity for long hours spent unmoving on the bridge of a boat. The reverse buttoning movement, right or left, will protect you from the wind in multiple different directions. If not reverse anymore, the buttoning movement of the reefer is still kept this way as a special distinction and reminder of the old reefer jacket. Nowadays, you can wear it on a boat as well as on the street.
The reefer jacket was made for occasional sail practice, it resists salt water thanks to a treatment that stops hydrolysis. A reefer also is a great thermal protection.
People from the sea, fishermen or those practising other seaside activities always need waterproof clothes to face bad weather conditions. At first oiled sheets were used but later, oilskins were developed, a coat covered by a (usually yellow) layer to repel water and rain. The cut must be wide to be worn on top of a regular equipment and with a hood to cover the neck and the head. Oilskins are 100% waterproof, they dry quickly and you can use them before, during and after your boating activity.
Overalls or dungarees are easy to use and should be waterproof in case of rain or thunderstorms. The treatment of the fabric will prevent the water from entering the clothes and you will always be dry. They are specially made for regular and intensive sailors.
With this information at hand you should be set to pick out what you might need for your next boating trip! All our boating clothes are divided into categories for men, women and children as well as some accessories to make your adventures a little easier.