Picking your personal gear
Choose gear that keeps you safe and comfortable
What do you like to wear when boating? How does your gear protect you and provide comfort for a day on the water? We all know a well-fitting Coast Guard-approved life jacket is our most important piece of personal gear, but what else do we need before leaving the dock?
The weather will affect your personal comfort and safety, so dress accordingly. Pack gear that keeps you warm and dry on cold days and cool and dry on warm days. While the no-shirt look might be great for some, prolonged wind and sun exposure will damage your skin and eyes. So before you hop in the boat, be sure you have a hat, sunglasses, plenty of sunscreen SPF 15 or higher, and a long-sleeved shirt, especially if your boat lacks a Bimini or shaded area. Even if it looks a little funny, wear a hat that shades not only your nose but also your ears and neck for the best coverage. If you intend to go fast, make sure your hat has a chin strap.
A keeper cord for your sunglasses is also a good idea. How many of you have leaned overboard, looked into the water, and watched your glasses slide off your head into the deep? It’s frustrating and costly.
Boat or deck shoes are essential because they provide better stability on a wet deck. They are specially designed to grip wet surfaces and will also keep you from stubbing your toes on deck gear. If you like to fish barefooted, you know that stepping on a fishhook is no fun.