Boating Apparel: Choosing The Best Boating Clothing, Shoes, Boots and Rain Gear

Inflatable boats are well known to be "wet" boats. So good boating apparel is important.

A "wet" boat is one in which the operator gets wet! The smaller the boat and the bigger the waves the more likely you will get wet.

We live in the cool northern country of Canada, and the temperature on the ocean even mid summer is cool! It did not take us very long to figure out that to stay comfortable our boating apparel needed to include rubber boots, and synthetic, wool and waterproof clothing.

The joy of wool and synthetic clothing is you stay warm even if you are wet! And yes, we get wet.

On sunny August days at a warm lake swim suits and t-shirts are great. But here in Canada anyone keen on boating knows that warm summer days are very few of the total days out on the water in our boats.

Quality outdoor clothing stores are a great place to start in your hunt for boating apparel. They are everywhere so check out some of the new offerings.


Merino wool is now a comfortable and warm-when-wet material that is perfect for underwear. I love it! It does not feel like I am wearing the scratchy wool of years gone by.

If you are not excited about wool against your skin then polyester (sold under many different names) is cheaper and will wick perspiration away from the skin. As well, it will still keep you warm even if it is wet.

Warm Layers

Polyester continues to be a wonder material and is now woven into fabrics of many different kinds. I recently purchased a poyester fleece jacket that claims to be designed to mimic the fur of animals. I like how soft and fuzzy it is :).

Many manufacturers make 100% recycled polyester from recycled pop bottles! Very earth friendly!

For boating, fleece is perfect, as even when soaked through by splash or rain, you stay warm.

Check out the big outdoor retailers like REI in the United States and Mountain Equipment Coop in Canada for great underwear and synthetic layers at great prices.

Waterproof outer layers

There are a number of types of fabrics to choose from when searching for waterproof boating clothing.

  • pvc with no fabric backing
  • light weight fabrics coated on the inside
  • heavy weight fabrics coated on the inside
  • light weight fabrics coated on the outside
  • heavy weight fabrics coated on the outside
  • waterproof breathable fabrics
  • wax coated cotton - known as oilskin

Read about the advantages and disadvantages of each fabric type , or check out more information about fishing rain gear. Footwear

Good footwear is a must if you are to have an enjoyable boating excursion.

In the warm months some type of shoe that can get wet, and drains water away from your foot is a great choice. Boating shoes have become very high tech and include mesh shoes and sandles as well as canvas and leather topsiders.

Depending on your chosen activities and the size of your boat, I am certain you can find the perfect boating shoes for your taste and foot shape.

If you are like us, and spend much of your boating year in cold water, then waterproof boots are a must. Boating boots come in a variety of materials, sole designs, and prices. Check out more information here.

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