What to wear on the water during different seasons

By Emily Sherwood

Last updated March 17, 2023

As the seasons change, so does the clothing we choose to wear. Choosing appropriate attire is crucial for a pleasant sailing experience, regardless of the weather conditions. Our guide offers the best tips for selecting the most suitable clothing for your maritime excursions all year round. You may have heard the phrase, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, well we live and breathe this ethos here at GoBoat. Don’t miss out on things you love just because of the weather!

The three-layer principle

Outdoor enthusiasts, sailors, and others who frequently spend time outdoors often follow the three-layer principle as a way of wearing comfortable and practical clothing on the water (and on land). It is wise to dress effectively when spending time outdoors, especially when temperatures drop.

When choosing your outfit based on the three-layer principle, here are some useful suggestions on what to consider.

  1. Inner layer: sweat-wicking layer

For your base layer, opt for a thin layer of clothing, but not too tight. This later should function as a sweat-absorbing layer. Wool, for example, is an excellent material for this purpose. However, wool can sometimes be itchy and uncomfortable on the skin – and we want optimal comfort for your boat ride. If you choose a more synthetic fabric, you will need to wash it more. But any vest-like layer will be perfect!

  1. Middle layer: insulating layer

The clothes in this layer have one critical task – to insulate! Fleeces are great here and an obvious choice. It dries quickly, is lightweight but won’t keep you cosy and warm for long once its wet. Bringing us to our next layer.

  1. Outer layer: water and wind protection

Your outer layer should protect you and the rest of your clothing from water and wind to maintain optimum warmth. Waterproofs and rain gear are an obvious choice here. For heading out on the UK waterways in a GoBoat this later is essential. Whether you’re a local or visiting on your travels, we all know how notoriously unpredictable English weather can be!

The reason we advise you to adopt this principle and bear it in mind before you head out onto the water is because your comfort is our top priority. Having layers that you can take off and put on ensures that you’re covered whatever the weather meaning you will be ready to face whatever mother nature throws your way!

Clothing on the water in spring

As the seasons change and Spring approaches, we say goodbye to chilly temperatures and hello to sunnier, warmer days – perfect for getting out on the water! With a new spring in your step and with the blossoming nature calling, now is the time to make the most of the Spring months. Spanning from March through to May, springtime offers a varying scope of weather. But don’t worry if you’re prepared for the right clothing, you can have an amazing time on the water and make unforgettable memories.

During the transition from winter to summer, the weather can often be unpredictable, making choosing the perfect outfit a seemingly impossible task! Spring brings warm air but freezing water – something to bear in mind before you set sail. The water temperature can be as low as 8-10 degrees. Subsequently the air on the water can feel colder than on land where wind protection provides extra warmth. So when you’re on the water during spring, its best to dress warmer than you would on land.

As with any sailing trip, it’s always wise to bring some extra clothes. You never know when the weather might suddenly change, so its always best to be prepared with different options to ensure a sudden change in weather won’t ruin your day.

What to wear

  • Long trousers
  • Jacket
  • Scarf
  • Layers!
  • Warm jumper
  • Waterproof and windproof outer layer

What to bring

  • Rain clothes
  • Blankets
  • Thin gloves
  • Something hot to drink
  • Sunglasses and a hat
  • Sun cream
  • Umbrella

So, grab your bag filled with extra layers an all things to keep you cosy and warm. Don’t forget a hot drink and your suncream and let’s hit the water this spring. Remember there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!

GoBoat spring group of friends

What to wear during summer time

Ahoy sailors! Are you ready to set sail on a hot summer’s day? While it may be tempting to dress as lightly as possible, its important to remember that UK weather can be very unpredictable. It’s always wise to bring some extra layers just in case. That way, you can easily change your outfit to overcome anything mother nature throws your way, whether it’s a chilling breeze or a light summer shower.

When it comes to protecting yourself from the sun, remember the essentials: a sun hat, a long sleeve shirt or coverup, sunglasses and of course suncream. The suns reflection off the water makes it even harder to hide from those rays, so don’t forget to lather up – and don’t forget your feet if you’re wearing open sandals! Don’t let those clouds fool you, UV rays still shine through clouds, so even if you’re sailing on a cloudy day, you can still get heatstroke so you need to be just as diligent as you would on days with clear blue skies!

Although the water may be warm and inviting on a hot day, jumping off a GoBoat into the water is not allowed for safety reasons. So please ensure you and your party remain inside the boat at all times.

The final thing to mention when setting sail in the summer is of course hydration. Make sure you bring plenty of water for your trip, after all you will be on the water for the duration of the trip so ensure you have ample supplies. We know this isn’t to do with weather but it’s too important to skip out, and who knows if it get’s too hot, maybe drenching yourself with water would make for a refreshing outfit!

What to wear

  • Layers to protect yourself from the sun
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun screen
  • Jumper

What to bring

  • Umbrella for shelter from the sun
  • Extra t-shirt or long-sleeve top for protection
  • Water
GoBoat with friends summer

Autumn clothing for a trip on the water

Autumn can be a tricky season when it comes to dressing for a trip on the water. The weather can be unpredictable, with some days being warm and sunny and others being wet, cold and windy. To be safe, always check the forecast ahead of your trip so you can plan accordingly. It’s always best to bring too many clothes than too little. The three-layer principle is your best friend during autumn.

As we approach October, the leaves start to change colour, marking the arrival of Autumn. The UKs waterways are exceptionally stunning at this time of year, spreading joy all around. Although the colourful nature is always very beautiful, bright colours and often blue skies can also be deceiving making us think it may be warmer than it is. According to the Met Office, autumn is normally associated with dropping temperatures and the nights drawing in as winter approached. So make sure you wrap up warm and bring along some extra cosy items in case of cold winds and stormy weather.

What to wear

  • Long trousers
  • Warm jacket
  • Scarf
  • Layers
  • Warm jumper
  • Wind- and waterproof jacket

What to bring

  • Rain clothes
  • Blankets
  • Thin gloves
  • Something hot to drink
  • Sunglasses and a hat
  • Suncream
  • Umbrella
GoBoat Autumn Morning Sail Friends

Best clothing on the water during winter

The UK winters can be freezing cold but bring surprising spouts of warmth compared to the rest of the season. During winter time you need to dress the warmest when you go out sailing. The three-layer principle is essential in winter! Another decision to consider is how long you want to stay on the water. During summer people spend hours out on the water, but in winter often this reduces to an hour or two. Being on board a GoBoat, where there isn’t much room to move around and keep yourself moving to stay warm – clothing becomes even more important!

Some interesting statistics about heat loss at different temperatures:

  • At +10° C 25% of the heat the metabolism produces in a person is lost
  • At +5° C the heat loss is about 50%
  • At -5-10° C the number is 75%

Head, hands and feet

There’s no doubt that some parts of the body need to be prioritized. First of all, we’ve got the head, from which we lose the most of our heat. A beanie is the perfect solution to keep our heads toasty, an essential on a wintery GoBoat trip. Next are your hands and your feet, warm gloves and thick socks are a must when its cold outside. In addition, a blanket to bring on board is certainly worth the weight to carry or if you forget, we have ones you can borrow!

You must always have access to life jackets in the boat. It’s a legal requirement that there must be enough life jackets for all the people on board. During winter, its more dangerous not to have them nearby, the freezing cold water can be hazardous if an accident happens, and someone falls in the water. Before sailing, make sure you know exactly where the life jackets are placed, or you could even wear them the whole time just to keep extra cosy!

Be sure to bring along some hot beverages to help keep you warm. Despite the cold weather winter offers some really beautiful scenes.

To wear

  • Long trousers
  • Wind- and waterproof jacket
  • Scarf and hat
  • Gloves
  • Winter boots
  • Thick socks

To bring

  • Rain clothes
  • Blankets
  • Something hot to drink
  • Umbrella
GoBoat Winter Friends

Remember to wrap up warm if you're sailing in winter

Safety regardless of the season

Whether you’re sailing in the summer or winter, safety is always a top priority. One important piece of advice is to always bring suncream, as sun can be just as strong during the winter months. Additionally, its essential to come prepared with a variety of clothing options, as the weather can change unexpectedly.

But most importantly, don’t forget the life jacket! No matter the season, having a life jacket on board is a legal requirement and can be the difference between life and death in case of an emergency. So, make sure you know where they are located and wear them at all times while on the water. Be safe and have fun!


Are lifejackets included in the price

Yes, lifejackets are included in the price. Lifejackets for adults are located in the storage compartment of each boat. Lifejackets for adults are optional although we do advise it.
All children aged 16 and under are required to wear a lifejacket.

Are the boats covered?

No, our boats are not covered. However, if it rains or you are in need of some shade from the sun, there are umbrellas on each boat that you can borrow for free.

Is it cold on the water?

Generally, being out on the water will feel slightly colder than the temperature on land. For that reason, it's always good to bring an extra layer of clothing even in the summer.