Man sailing in sunglasses and a hat

How to keep yachting through winter with the right accessories

Sailing in the winter has its ups and downs. The empty waters, the fresh winter sun and the satisfaction of making the most of your boat are some of the incentives. But, as the water temperature gets colder and the wind blows hoolies, you’ll need to think twice about what you’re wearing out on the water…

For winter sailing, it is a good idea to layer up. Start with a base layer, then add 1 or more midlayers, and either a drysuit or sailing trousers and a jacket for the perfect combo. Then all you have to worry about is what accessories you’ll need.

Hats & Neck gaiters

Even though the famous saying ‘‘you lose most your body heat through your head’’ is a myth, it certainly feels like it might be true when your hat blows off in a gust of wind and you’re stuck with a bare head, going upwind, taking the blow of the winter squalls. To stop this from happening, try finding a hat that has a retainer for you to attach it to yourself. If you think you’ll be getting wet, try a neoprene beanie that will keep you warm even when it’s wet.

Wearing a scarf on the water may not be the most practical solution. That’s why neck gaiters are a great accessory to keep your neck warm.


Gloves are a great addition to winter sailing, not only for extra warmth but for added grip. We’d suggest opting for neoprene gloves that will keep your hands warm even when they get wet (very likely if you’re touching ropes on the boat). Short finger gloves will mean you’ll be able to fiddle with knots without having to take your gloves off. Whereas long finger gloves will provide that little bit of extra warmth which may be needed on a really cold day.


Whilst wetsuit boots may be acceptable for summer sailing, dry feet are a necessity to keep your feet warm when yachting through winter. Therefore, if you want to keep your toes attached to your feet, we’d suggest upgrading to waterproof sailing boots. Look out for an elastic gaiter that prevents water from coming in over the top of your boots.


When you’re out on the water there can be much more glare than there is on land because of the extra glare reflecting off the water and the white sails, even on overcast days. In the winter, the sun will be much lower on the horizon making it nearly impossible to look in the general direction of the sun. There are a lot of technical upgrades you can make to your sailing sunglasses, which is why you may decide it’s worth paying a little more to ensure clear vision and eye protection when you are out sailing. To find out more, read our guide to help you pick the right sailing sunglasses for you.

Safety accessories

It goes without saying that safety accessories are needed all year round. But, in the winter, they’re especially essential because the water is colder and more dangerous. Having a safety knife in an easy to reach position can tip the balance in a more serious situation, should you ever find yourself caught up in a rope and need to cut yourself free quickly.

Optimum Time’s new SOS Safety Siren could be a lifesaver in an emergency to attract help, when having the breath to blow a whistle cannot be guaranteed. The SOS Siren is a wearable, water-resistant, shrill and loud alarm that can be used, reset and re-used.


Written by Lucy Harris.

Updated on 16th March 2022

Originally published on 9th February 2022 in Sailing

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