With the sometimes very wet and cold conditions we can experience here in the Pacific Northwest, wearing the right gear is especially important. The required and recommended gear listed below will help ensure that the time we spend on the water is safe and fun!

Where to Buy:

A lot of the sailing gear listed below can be found at our local West Marine, but some items might be hard to find and better deals may be found online. Fisheries Supply in Seattle is another good marine supply store if you happen to be nearby.                                    is a PNW local distributor that offers a                                                            Gill, Mauri Pro, and APS are three online sailing companies that offer a range of dinghy sailing gear. 

Required Gear:

On any day, if a coach judges that a sailor's clothing is not acceptable for sailing in the current conditions, the sailor will not be allowed to sail until they change. 

Personal Floatation Device, a.k.a. Lifejacket

  • Type-III PFD Coast Guard Approved Lifejacket

  • At least one pocket

  • Adjustable waist and shoulder straps 


  • 2-3mm thick is best

  • Both "Farmer John" style (see image to left)                   and full wetsuits are acceptable

Waterproof whistle

  • Should be attached to life jacket somehow and in a pocket


Waterproof watch with a countDOWN timer

  • Countdown timers are not as common as

  • Sailing-specific wetsuits with reinforced         knees and butt may last longer

  • For the majority of the fall and spring seasons, a wetsuit is absolutely necessary. However, in warmer weather the coach may announce that wetsuits are not required for the day and only then are sailors are free to sail without wetsuits. 

count up timers; make sure it is both waterproof and has a countDOWN timer before you buy!

  • Timex Ironman Classic is a good   affordable option

Recommended Gear:



  • Sailing, gardening, or work gloves

  • Fingerless gloves are not necessary but can give more mobility; snip off the fingertips of your gloves if you need to​

  • Gloves that are too big can be more of a hinderance than a help: try to have the right size!


Sailing booties or shoes

  • Reinforced on the top, grip on the bottom

  • Rubber or neoprene, with a strap on the ankle

  • Non-marking sneakers are a good alternative


Waterproof  gear 

  • Rain jacket or sailing-specific                                                      spray top 

  • Waterproof bibs/overalls. Sailing-specific bibs with reinforced knees and butt may  last longer but are              not necessary

  • Pants with spray-on waterproofing will not last a season



  • Wool, fleece, or synthetic layers. NO cotton: cotton does not insulate when wet and contributes to hypothermia!! 

  • Underarmour, wool long johns, or rashgaurds work great under a wetsuit

  • Over wetsuit: A fleece or wool jacket to wear under waterproof gear and over wetsuit

Wool or fleece hat, socks, & neck warmer

  • Again, no cotton!!

Sunglasses & croakie

  • On sunny days it can be hard to see on the water without sunglasses! Sun protection

  • Croakie keeps sunglasses (or glasses)                                       from going in the water

You don't need to buy sailing-specific gear right away! Using sneakers, gardening gloves, and rain jackets in place of sailing booties, sailing gloves, and spray tops is completely fine!

However, once a sailor is serious, investing in sailing specific gear is a good idea. The grip, comfort, and mobility that sailing-specific gear provides can make a big difference. Additionally, gear designed with sailing in mind is reinforced in the right places and made for saltwater expose, is therefore more likely to last for many seasons of sailing.

Loaner gear and gear scholarships are available upon request.

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