What to Wear on a Boat: The Ultimate Guide For 2023!

by Tori Jones
boat outfit

When cruising, sailing, or lounging on the Deck, the ensemble you pick isn’t just about looking fabulous—it’s also about comfort, practicality, and weather-appropriateness. In this blog post, we’re diving headfirst into the world of nautical chic, offering fresh ideas for outfits that truly make waves. From elegant yet functional ensembles to attire that mirrors the luxury of a yacht, we’ve got it all covered. Prepare to embark on a journey that takes you through breathable fabrics, accessories that accentuate, and an undeniably seaworthy style. Navigate with me as we explore ‘What to Wear on a Boat: Outfit Ideas for Women,’ and allow the voyage of fashion discovery to set sail!

Setting Sail with Style: Essential Boat Day Attire Tips

1. The Art of Simplicity While bringing out our most glamorous looks is tempting, let’s keep it grounded on the boat. Think about the winds that might unravel intricate hairstyles or the splashes that could surprise you mid-journey. The simpler, the better. Trust me, you’ll be more relaxed; there’s nothing more enchanting than a carefree soul on a boat!

2. Footwear Fundamentals On one boat trip, I decided to wear my favorite suede sandals, and let’s say they didn’t remain my favorite for long. Oops! So, here’s a golden rule: always opt for non-slip, waterproof flat sandals. Not only will they keep you steady during those unexpected choppy waters, but they’ll also be safe from any unplanned splashes. And if you’re on a yacht or a similar fancy vessel? Be prepared to go barefoot!

3. Evening Elegance Ever found yourself on a boat, gazing at a spectacular sunset, only to be interrupted by an unexpected chill? Yep, been there. Always bring along a lightweight jacket or wrap. Trust me, as the sun sets, the temperature can dip quicker than you think, especially with that sea breeze.

4. Daytime Essentials Nothing dampens a boat day like squinting against the blinding sun or chasing after a hat stolen by the wind. So, grab a snug-fitting hat and some sunglasses. You’ll be grateful for the shade and the added protection against those sneaky UV rays.

5. Sun Protection is Key. One sunny boat day, I learned that water can amplify sunburns. (Hello, unexpected tan lines!) So, always, always lather up on that sunscreen. Those UV rays can be sneaky even if you’re lounging in the shade.

6. Be Prepared If your boat day involves a dip in the water, be an intelligent sailor and bring a change of clothes and a towel. I’ve learned from experience that sitting in a wet outfit is not the most pleasant feeling.

Setting sail should be all about relaxation and fun. So with these tips in your fashion arsenal, you’re ready for a stylish and comfy boat day adventure. Happy sailing!

Outfit Ideas for What to Wear on a Boat

1. Casually Sailing 

Casual Boat Day Outfit
@bishopandholland via Instagram

Ah, the white linen button-down, a timeless treasure! I remember wearing mine while watching a sunset on the DeckDeck. Paired with high-waisted denim shorts, it’s an instant win. Throw in round metal sunglasses and that oh-so-trendy basket-woven straw bag, and you’re all set. And let’s not forget those slide sandals – perfect for that impromptu splash!

2. Laid-Back Vibes 

Chill Boat Day Outfit
@koobampardo via Instagram

You can’t beat those trusty ripped denim shorts for relaxed days with buddies. Pair them with a vivid bikini and comfy waterproof slides. And hats? Trucker hats are the in-thing. I recently got this pink one with a cheeky smile, and it’s my go-to for channeling those chill vibes. Remember your retro aviators to add a touch of flair!

3. Simply Sail 

Effortless Boat Outfit
@everythingbutwater via Instagram

Sometimes, less is more. For those moments when you want a hassle-free ensemble, a blue and white striped cover-up dress is your best friend. Mine’s saved me on so many spontaneous boat rides. Match it with single-band slide sandals and that essential large straw tote. Top it off with a white bucket hat, and you’re golden.

4. Setting Trends at Sea

Trendy Boat Outfit
@prinzzesaboutique via Instagram

Co-ord sets are making waves this season! I recently donned this turquoise poplin set, and I received compliments! You’re the boat’s trendsetter with a floral bikini peeking beneath, aviator sunglasses, and trendy jelly-footed sandals.

5. Nautical Nuances

Classic Boat Outfit
@sara__murad via Instagram

For the theme lovers, nothing screams ‘boat day’ like navy and white stripes. This lightweight striped sweatshirt and navy chinos combo is your ticket to that sailor look. I wore this once to a regatta and blended right in! Remember that large straw tote and a sailor-themed cap.

6. Sunrise to Sunset Styling 

An All-Day Affair
@kristincabat via Instagram

For those day-long voyages, nothing beats the comfort of wide-leg linen pants. Matched with a blue swimsuit and white sandals, it’s effortlessly chic. Remember those gradient sunglasses and a spacious blue tote. Perfect for when the journey is as important as the destination!

7. Snap-Perfect Ensemble 

Cute Boat Outfit
@bea.vanniekerk via Instagram

A gray and white striped romper is your best pick for those Instagram-worthy boat moments. Trust me, the likes will pour in! Pair with espadrille sandals, cat-eye sunglasses, and a cute straw bag; you’re camera-ready.

8. Glistening on the Deck

Glam Boat Outfit
@raniamazbouh_official via Instagram

Deck Sometimes, a bit of glam is all you need. This sheer crochet dress, with its open back, made me feel like a sea goddess once! Accentuate with a straw hat, oversized sunnies, chainlink sandals, and a sprinkling of gold jewelry for that luxe touch.

9. White Waves

Casual All White Boat Outfit
@madisonsimonsays via Instagram

Ever been to a boat’s white party? This terrycloth co-ord set is my top pick! And while the white palette dazzles, add a twist with a colorful beaded necklace. Absolute perfection!

10. Dressed to Impress 

Dressy All White Boat Outfit
@loisjyou via Instagram

Now for those upscale boat soirées – a white, tiered maxi dress is the way to go. I remember the appreciative glances I got at one such event! Complement with gold jewelry, and for that final touch? White lace-up woven espadrilles and a chic straw bag.

6 Essential Items To Bring On A Boat Day

Safety Gear:

  • Lifejackets: Ensure there’s one for each person on board.
  • First-aid kit: Stocked with bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, and personal medications.
  • Whistle or horn: In case of emergencies.

Sun Protection:

  • Sunscreen: Reapply every 2 hours, especially after swimming.
  • Lip balm with SPF: Protect those lips from the sun’s rays.
  • Umbrella or portable shade: Useful for boats without a canopy.

Hydration and Snacks:

  • Reusable water bottles: Stay hydrated, especially under the sun.
  • Cooler: Stock with fresh fruit, sandwiches, and other boat-friendly snacks.


  • Waterproof Bluetooth speaker: For some tunes on the water.
  • Books or magazines: In case you want some downtime.
  • Fishing gear: If you’re into fishing.
  • Water toys: Such as floaties, snorkeling gear, or a waterproof camera.

Navigation and Communication:

  • Boat map or marine GPS: Know where you’re going.
  • Fully charged cell phone: And perhaps a waterproof case or bag.
  • Portable phone charger or power bank: Ensure your devices stay powered.

Personal Items:

  • Towels: For drying off after a swim or laying out.
  • Toiletry items: Such as hand sanitizer, wipes, and tissues.
  • Bug spray: Particularly if you’re boating in an area known for insects.
  • Hair ties or bands: Keep that hair out of your face, especially if it’s windy!


  • Binoculars: For sightseeing or spotting far-off points of interest.
  • Trash bags or zip-lock bags: For waste or to keep items dry.
  • Rope or dock lines: Handy for tying off to docks or other boats.
  • Spare change or cash: For any marina fees or spontaneous ice cream stops.

Weather Preparations:

  • Rain gear or ponchos: In case the weather takes an unexpected turn.
  • Blanket: For colder weather or to wrap up in during a chilly boat ride.

Remember, each boating experience is unique, so tailor your essentials based on your specific plans, boat size, and the expected duration of your trip. Enjoy your day on the water!


Navigating the world of boat fashion might initially seem daunting, but with the proper guidance, anyone can master the art. Remember, fashion enthusiasts, the key is to prioritize comfort without compromising style. While it’s thrilling to keep up with the latest trends, be aware of the practical needs of a day at sea – quick-drying fabrics, slip-resistant footwear, and sun protection are paramount. But don’t let that deter you! Embrace the challenge and view it as an opportunity to merge functionality with flair. With the pointers shared above, you can make informed choices and dive headfirst into curating your perfect boat ensemble. So, chart your fashion course, and let the sea be your runway!

Feature image by Luke Bender on Unsplash

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