The weather has definitely taken a turn for the cooler this last week. As a result my normal boating gear has had a few additions. New boaters regularly ask me if we boat all year and the answer is a definite yes! The secret is to planning the boating and your waterproof kit well. We’ll cover the boat side in a separate blog but today its time to consider our clothing options. I write this from the female and small open boat perspective. Dom might have other views as he is usually tucked up inside a warm cabin!
Step one is to source good footwear. Over the years I have moved to always wearing boots in the winter. Boating boots are not cheap I’m afraid and its really frustrating to buy a pair that doesn’t last. My current favourites are my Maindeck Short Leather Boots. I only bought them at the Boatshow in Sept so can’t comment too much on durability yet. However, so far I’ve found them very cosy (thermal lining) & non slip. They also have a decent sole that takes some of the impact out of waves.
Early on in my boating journey I bought the cheaper boots with thin soles and in my mind that is a mistake – they just don’t last, aren’t warm and don’t take any impact. My last pair of decent boots I absolutely loved for comfort and they did me ok but had a very rapid deterioration once they had got wet until finally the sole fell off! 🙁 It lead to a tricky walk back across the yard!
If you are going to invest in a decent pair of boots keep them as salt water free as possible. Also make sure they dry out well. Footwear is obviously a challenging subject as almost everyday someone asks about my boots. This leads to a happy dance from me demonstrating my comfy boots with dry and cosy feet!
Ok not the most exciting subject to have but trust me – my boating life has been revolutionised by waterproof socks! They look ridiculous so try to put them on in privacy but warm, dry feet is a wonderful feeling! I currently have a pair I bought from Nauticalia in the sale (washed regularly and worn with ordinary socks I hasten to add!). These have lasted well and I plan to supplement them this year with some merino wool versions. I know there are plenty of you wondering why I would even bother covering such a subject but in my experience boots don’t stay waterproof for long so waterproof socks are the way forward!
Too big a subject to discuss in detail as there is something to suit every price range but in brief what do I look for? Good customer service if its expensive – I can say that so far we’ve had great customer service from Musto and that would currently influence my choice. lets hope the good customer service continues. Perhaps others can feed back on other brands?
These are a must – the extra layer is well worth while and I wear mine right from the beginning of the day when the boat still has condensation on. A pocket on the leg is a huge plus for me (very jealous I noticed Dom’s have two pockets whereas mine only has one). It is worth going for those with adjustments at the waist and shoulder as well as reinforced knees. Also look for salopettes with a zip up the front as this allows you to adjust the layers more easily. For the females I strongly suggest buying female fit salopettes – not only will they be more comfortable but you will actually be able to step across jockey seats and onto pontoons without the crotch of the trousers being around your knees! Some ladies swear by ‘dropseat’ trousers but can’t say I tried them!
Fleece lined pockets and collar (ideally removable -not seen this on recent jackets but my ancient jacket from the late 80s has a removable collar. This which makes it easy for washing the salt off). Also want sleeves that tighten to avoid water rushing down your arm when you pick up the mooring buoy! My next jacket will probably be a smock version as I find the long jackets do restrict movement on open powerboats.
Buff / Neckerchief
Whatever suits but on a rainy or sea spray day nothing beats a lightweight buff for stopping the rain running down your neck. I must have more than 10 now so there is always a dry one to hand!
Now this is where I am in need of advice. Over the years I have spend a fortune on gloves but still not come up with a sensible solution. My preferred choice at the moment is a pair of neoprene sailing clothes – yes they get wet but at least fingers are warm. I have yet to come across a pair of waterproof gloves that do indeed stay waterproof. Been sadly disappointed at many an expensive purchase. If you have any solutions please let me know!
Too many to choose from but don’t forget one. Personally although I look daft, on a sunny winters day I like a woolley hat with a peak on it to keep the sun out of my eyes. On very wet days I’ll wear a waterproof hat to keep my had dry and warm, current favourite is a Sealskin one. Don’t forget to ask for one of our amazing orange beanie hats if you haven’t already acquired one from us!
Layers honestly work. thick layers make it hard to move around the boat but lots of think technical layers do make boating a lot easier and there is now a wide range to choose from. Long sleeve t-shirts are a must in the winter!
After all this clothing don’t forget to use a suitable lifejacket!
I hope this little blog helps and please do comment on your findings. There is so much choice that we could spend a fortune trialling items unless we share the knowledge. Warm and dry boaters are happy boaters. Don’t forget whilst you are buying these lovely items for yourself to consider what options your crew have!
Supplies can be found from all our local Chandlers (addresses here https://dorsetmarinetraining.co.uk/student-page/ ) as well as online.
#musto #maindeck #sealskin #nauticalia