Floating along the water as it sparkles under the sunlight is a magical experience. There is hardly a better way to fill a warm day than by spending a few hours, or an entire day, on a boat with your loved ones. Eating a delicious packed meal, popping champagne over the side of the boat, and putting on the perfect soundtrack to glide over the waves is a guaranteed good time.
You’re sure to snap a few pictures with your friends, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the water and sky. To be sure you are camera ready, you might want to put some thought and consideration into what you wear. It’s always fun to dress “on-theme,” especially for a boat day.
If you aren’t sure what to wear that is practical yet fashionable and chic, we have put together a guide for what to wear on a boat.
Factors To Consider
While putting together your boat day outfit, there are a few factors to consider that should help narrow down the best pieces in your wardrobe.
Keep It Simple
While it can be tempting to pull out all of your most luxurious pieces for the sake of a photo or emulating a private yacht party look, we can promise you will feel much more comfortable in a simple look.
On a boat, the weather and environment can be a tad unpredictable. You might be encountering some unexpected waves, the wind might pick up, or you might feel a few sprinkles of rain. You don’t want to ruin your best pieces, and you don’t want to fight through three layers of clothing as the wind hits you.
While we still think you should take this opportunity to create a tropical and gorgeous look, try to stick to just a few wonderful pieces rather than pulling out all of your favorites from your wardrobe.
The footwear you decide to slip on will totally depend on the boat you are boarding and the type of event you are attending.
Traditionally, those on boats or yachts prefer boat shoes. Also called deck shoes, this durable choice has a non-marking rubber bottom. They help keep sailors from slipping, while the canvas or leather exterior is water-resistant. The non-marking rubber bottom has a hard, cleat-less sole that won’t scuff up the deck.
While boat shoes are a classic, the options are nearly as endless as the sea. For example, with a dressy boat party, consider heel height carefully. If you opt to sport heels, try to pick a low and sturdy heel to keep your balance.
Or, perhaps bring flat sandals. You will most likely want to walk or dance around the yacht, and you might have a drink or two: Flat sandals will help ensure you stay steady.
We also recommend slipping on a pair that is waterproof and non-slip. Wet feet can easily ruin your favorite pair of leather or suede sandals, so pick a pair of rubber, plastic, or jelly shoes for peace of mind.
The most important factor to consider when dressing for a day on the boat is sun protection. While you can stay hidden under an umbrella on the beach, there are very few options for shade when you are out on the water. Because of this, you want to protect your skin from harmful, damaging rays. Still, we understand that a sunny boat day calls for minimal clothing and breathable materials.
Here’s our top pick: A rash guard and swimsuit bottoms will protect your skin but won’t cause you to feel overdressed or overheated. A rash guard will cover your shoulders and back, which are the biggest targets for sun damage. They are made out of breathable, water-resistant material, so you will stay cool and comfortable and will be able to hop in and out of the water with ease.
Also, of course, bring plenty of SPF50 Body Sunscreen and reapply every two hours (or more, if needed)!
Even on the sunniest and warmest days of the year, temperatures can drop significantly when you are out on the water. The open air will usually produce a cool breeze that can feel chilly as the sun starts to set. Especially if you are on a boat trip that will last through sunset, you will want to pack some extra layers.
A lightweight jacket, a nice button-up, or a lightweight pair of pants will be extremely helpful for the cooler moments. Try to pick up a high-quality neutral-colored jacket and pants so you can throw them over any type of outfit.
Finally, throw in a blanket for you and your friends to share as you sit on the boat and sail into the sunset.
An Extra Outfit
While picking one perfect outfit is sometimes enough work, pack an extra outfit for an all-day excursion. Whether an unexpected wave hits the ship and soaks your clothing or a glass of red wine hits your all-white outfit, it’s smart to be prepared when you are far from the rest of your belongings on shore.
We recommend packing an extra bathing suit and one extra cover-up in case of emergencies. These can be rolled up tightly and packed in a tote bag, a packing cube, or in your beach bag with your other boat-day essentials.
If you are unsure of the formality of the boating day or aren’t incredibly familiar with the people who will be on board, it’s also nice to have an extra outfit in case you misunderstood the dress code. Arrive in a chic, simple outfit but pack away a few of your most fashionable accessories to enhance your outfit if need be.
Outfit Ideas for a Day on a Boat
Now that you have the key features in mind, it’s time to put together your dream look! Below, we have listed a few of our favorite, most reliable options for a fashionable and chic outfit.
A Hand-Loomed Button-Up and Jean Shorts
One of the most classic yachting looks is a nice button-up shirt paired with loose jean shorts. A long sleeve button-up shirt will keep your shoulders and back protected from the sun but is extremely lightweight and breathable. Plus, it’s wonderfully easy to slip on and off for the occasional dip in the water.
The last thing you want to wear on a ship is a skin-tight, bulky material. If you are wearing skin-tight jean shorts, you could become incredibly uncomfortable the second they get wet. On the other hand, a pair of loose jean shorts will allow airflow to your body and won’t feel uncomfortable on your skin if these garments get a little damp.
Evok the calm essence of the sea and sky with the baby blue Handloom - Echo Mini Shirt. The fabric is flawlessly crinkled so that you don’t have to worry about ironing your shirt (or the breeze messing up the crisp pleats you spent all morning perfecting).
Add a few swimwear accessories, and you will have a chic, sea-worthy outfit!
A simple cover-up dress will check so many boxes: it’s easy to slip on and off, it provides coverage from the sun on your back and legs, and it emulates an effortlessly chic look. Plus, It’s a snap to dress up or down.
While there are countless options for a chic cover-up dress, you will find everything you need in the Barreta Dress. Made from linen, this dress feels breathable and quickly absorbs water, leaving you feeling dry and lightweight. The simple, beautiful silhouette will work for any level of formality, and one of the four different colors is guaranteed to work with your taste and style.
The side slit, V-neck, and mid-calf length hem make this dress totally versatile, appropriate for a day on the boat or for a beachside dinner. It will pair beautifully with a button-up or lightweight jacket when the temperatures start to drop.
If you want to wow the crowd with a fashion-forward yachting outfit, focus on bright colors and accessories. While neutrals will forever be evergreen, the fashion world is currency obsessed with vibrant colors and maximalist styles as well.
To emulate this exciting moment, pick a bright and colorful matching set. Matching shirts and shorts are very trendy right now, but you can’t stop there. Pair a brightly colored set with colorful shoes and tinted sunglasses. An emerald green cover-up with purple jelly slides and rose-tinted sunglasses is the ultimate final touch to any ensemble.
Once you have the foundation built, you can add some fun accessories, like body jewelry. A small, simple chain secured around your waist will elevate your entire look. Additionally, unlike other jewelry, you don’t have to worry about it getting lost in the water when you jump in since it should be securely fastened around your entire body.
The most important thing to focus on if you want to wear a trendy outfit is to take risks and wear fun pieces.
You might be hopping on a boat for one purpose only: to be close in proximity to the water. While you might only have swimming or snorkeling in mind, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your chance to wear a fashionable and chic outfit.
The first step in creating the ultimate water-ready boating outfit is to invest in a stylish rash guard. Acting as a swimsuit top and a long sleeve shirt, a colorful and stylish rash guard will be extremely useful in this situation. With a fashionable rash guard, you’re protected from the sun, ready for a swim, and have a solid foundation for a chic and practical outfit.
You will most likely want to pair your rash guard with a pair of bikini bottoms so you are ready to hop in the water at a moment’s notice. Or, you can slip a sarong overtop to elevate your look. The Andie Swim Sarong is waterproof and comes in four stunning options — black, cactus flower, chili pepper, and ditsy floral rose.
Lastly, nothing says “boat day” like an all-linen outfit. Linen has been long considered the epitome of resort wear, and for a good reason.
Linen is fabulously breathable, lightweight, and water resistant. Even if you are wearing a long sleeve shirt like the Corvo Button-Up with matching linen pants on a sunny day, this material will ensure you feel the breeze kiss your skin. Additionally, if you slip on a linen set over a damp bathing suit, the material will quickly absorb the water leaving you feeling dry and comfortable in no time.
Another fantastic advantage of throwing on an all-linen outfit is its versatility. The most common color for an all-linen outfit is white, which gives you the freedom to accessorize with fun colors. A white linen matching set paired with a colorful pair of shoes, hat, or pair of sunglasses will give you the resort-style outfit of your dreams.
Furthermore, if you are boarding the boat with a close group of friends or family, you might want to take this as an opportunity for a coordinating group photo. Tell everyone to wear their own white linen outfit and add accessories according to their personal style. The bright blue water and sky will serve as the perfect contrast to the outfits, and the accessories will make the photo pop.
Time To Boat
Now that you know what to keep in mind when putting together a boating day look and you have some outfit options in mind, all that’s left to do is pack your bag and head out! And, at the end of the day, the most important thing to keep in mind when getting dressed is to wear what makes you feel the most excited and confident!
Sun Protective Clothing | The Skin Cancer Foundation
Sunscreen and Your Morning Routine | Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Why is it generally cooler along the coast during warm spring days? | PBS