What to Wear When Going Fishing on a Boat?

What to Wear When Going Fishing on a Boat

When planning for what to wear when going fishing on a boat, there are a few key factors to consider.

The most important consideration when deciding what to wear on a fishing boat is the weather.

You’ll also need clothing and gear to protect against the sun’s rays which reflect off the water surface and can lead to painful sunburns.

Wearing sun-protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen is vital.

Proper footwear is also key for maintaining traction on a boat deck which can often be wet and slippery.

Closed-toe, non-slip shoes are best for safety.

In addition to clothing, essentials like life jackets, gloves, and gear bags help maximize your time fishing while staying secure and organized.

Deciding what to wear when going fishing on a boat requires some thoughtful preparation and packing.

9 Essential Pieces of Clothing to Wear When Going Fishing on a Boat

  1. Sun hat
  2. Sunglasses
  3. Full Sleeve UV protection shirt
  4. Sunscreen
  5. Lightweight rain jacket or poncho
  6. Closed toe non-slip shoes
  7. Life jacket
  8. Fishing gloves
  9. Quick dry shorts or pants

Sun Protection

The sun’s rays are more intense when they reflect off water. To protect yourself from sunburns and skin damage while fishing on a boat, focus on covering up exposed skin and using sunscreens.

1) Sun hat

Sun hat for fishing in boat

Wearing a sun hat is one of the easiest ways to protect your face, ears, and neck from sun exposure on a fishing boat.

A hat with a wide brim all around is ideal for shielding from reflected sunlight off the water.

Look for hats made from lightweight, breathable fabrics that won’t cause excess sweating.

A hat with a chin strap can help keep it in place on windy days.

2) Sunglasses

Sunglass for fishing in boat

Sunglasses are a must for protecting your eyes from bright glares when out on the water.

Not only can the sunlight reflecting off the waves cause damage, but its glare can negatively impact your vision making it harder to see fish and your line.

When choosing sunglasses for fishing, look for ones that block 100% of UV rays. Styles that wrap around the face provide optimal coverage.

Polarized lenses also help cut through reflections allowing you to see more clearly into the water.

3) Long sleeve shirt

Long sleeve UV protection shirt for fishing in boat

Wearing sun-protective clothing is recommended when fishing to cover vulnerable areas prone to burning like your shoulders, back, and chest.

Loose, lightweight long-sleeve shirts help shield you from the sun while keeping you cool.

Synthetic moisture-wicking fabrics or cotton blends are ideal for avoiding getting too hot in the sun.

Or wear a tight-fitting UV protection base layer underneath your shirt.

For optimal coverage, choose long-sleeved shirts with UPF 50+ ultraviolet protection.

4) Sunscreen

Sunscreen for fishing in boat

Apply broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen 30 minutes before going out on the boat and reapply throughout the day.

Use a waterproof sunscreen designed for outdoor sports and be sure to cover often-missed spots like your ears, back of the neck, lips, and tops of your feet.

Wearing sunscreen underneath your clothing gives added protection from burn through.

Having sunscreen spray makes reapplication quick and easy.

Weather Appropriate Clothes

The weather while fishing on a boat can quickly change and turn cold, hot, windy, or wet. Dressing for the forecasted weather will enhance comfort and safety.

5) Rain jacket or poncho

Rain jacket for fishing in boat

The weather can quickly change while out on the water, so carrying a lightweight rain jacket or poncho is a good idea.

Having a waterproof outer layer will allow you to stay dry in case of rain showers. It also helps block the wind.

Packable rain jackets work well since they can be stowed in your bag when not needed.


Wearing proper footwear on a boat is extremely important for maintaining good traction and preventing slips or falls on wet surfaces.

6) Closed-toe shoes or boat shoes

boat shoes for fishing

Wearing closed-toe, non-slip footwear on a boat is vital for maintaining traction on wet surfaces.

Athletic shoes with rubber soles grip well. Boat shoes are another good option with non-marking soles and extra traction.

They should have adequate heel support and quick-drying materials. Avoid sandals or flip-flops which can easily slip.

Safety Gear

Having the right safety gear on board like life jackets and gloves is a critical part of responsible boating and fishing. Being prepared with safety equipment can prevent or minimize injuries out on the water.

7) Life jacket

Life jacket for fishing in boat

A life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) is required safety gear when boating. In case of accidentally falling into the water, a life jacket could be lifesaving.

They should fit snugly and be approved by the US Coast Guard. Inflatable life vests allow for more mobility and comfort while fishing compared to bulkier traditional versions.

8) Gloves

Fingerless gloves for fisihing in boat

Fishing gloves provide protection when handling gear with sharp hooks, and rough line, and when grabbing fish with sharp fins.

Fingerless gloves maintain dexterity while saving your palms from abrasions.

Look for lightweight gloves with breathable materials that are also water-resistant.


Choosing comfortable clothing suitable for the weather and activity is key to fully enjoying a day of fishing on the boat. Proper layers and quick-drying materials will allow you to focus on fishing versus being distracted by discomfort.

9) Pants or shorts

Shorts for fishing in boat

For bottoms, quick-dry nylon pants or shorts are ideal choices for fishing trips.

They allow airflow to keep you cool while also blocking the sun and preventing scrapes.

Cargo pants have ample storage pockets which is useful on a boat.

You may want to pack pants as well as shorts to adjust depending on the weather.

Related: 10 Best Fishing Shorts for the Ultimate Angler Experience


Deciding what to wear when going fishing on a boat requires factoring in sun protection, potential weather changes, footwear, safety equipment, and comfort features.

With the proper layers, sun protection accessories, closed-toe shoes, life jackets, and other essential gear, you will be fully prepared for a great fishing trip on the water.

Considering the factors outlined here will help any fishing boat outing be a more pleasant, safer, and successful experience.

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