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How to Stay Warm on a Boat (9 Simple Tips)

Staying warm on a boat when the weather takes a dip can be a dilemma, especially when you want to go cruising around the bay or enjoy some late-season fishing. Lucky for you. The process is simple. All you need is to get some cold weather accessories, bring along a portable electrical heater, and layer clothing. 

If you’re looking to stay warm on a boat, you need to layer your clothes, switch on your portable electric or propane heater, add a throw blanket, and wear some gloves to keep your hands warm. You can also bring a vacuum-sealed thermos with your favorite coffee to keep you warm.

There are other useful tips that will help you stay warm on a boat. Read on to learn more about some unique ways you can stay warm when enjoying your boating activities. 

How to Stay Warm on a Boat (9 Simple Tips)

Get a heater.

An electric heater can transform your cold boat into a warm, inviting sanctuary. However, you need to have a power source with the right voltage and an enclosed cabin. 

The market has silent and compact heaters that will be a great addition to your boat. 

When choosing an electric heater, you need to consider your wiring. Failure to do so puts you at risk of a fire hazard or an electrical short. Check to see that the heater stays upright in gentle waves. Get a heater that also turns off when it falls over as this prevents a fire. 

Pay attention to the power it uses as this will determine how long it runs. If you are considering getting two or more heaters, check your wiring before plugging in the heaters to prevent an electrical short. 

Carbon monoxide is a threat when using portable heaters. Ensure that you have a carbon monoxide detector if you plan on bringing your heater. You can have the detector installed in the cabin. 

How to Stay Warm on a Boat (9 Simple Tips)

Layer your clothing.

Layers are essential not only when boating cold weather, but also when you are anywhere that gets cold quickly. Every layer added traps air to keep you warm.

However, avoid putting on any clothes that you have lying around. You have to be strategic in how you combine your clothes.

The base layer needs to be a wicking layer, as this keeps moisture and sweat from sticking to your skin. Polypropylene or synthetic materials work well for the base layer. A light, the insulating layer should be next. This could be a thin wool or light fleece sweater. For the bottoms, you can opt for some jeans or a pair of sweatpants to keep you warm. 

Add on a heavy insulating layer like wool or fleece. The final layer should block out the cold air, and this includes a windproof jacket made from breathable fabric. A snowsuit combination will work for extremely cold places. Ensure that the fabric keeps you warm and is breathable. When layering, ensure some layers are large to remain tucked in while you are doing your boat activities. 

Remember that the outerwear needs to have a Gore-Tex material as this helps to prevent water presentation and allows for proper perspiration to evaporate. 

Using this layering strategy works well when you are on and off your boat. You’ll find it easier to remove the layers that you don’t need when you get to your destination. 

How to Stay Warm on a Boat (9 Simple Tips)

Invest in cold weather accessories.

When out on a boat, your face, hands, and feet will get cold the fastest. That’s why you need the right cold-weather accessories. 

Proper accessories include socks, mittens, and gloves, and a hat. The socks you choose need to be thick enough to keep you warm without limiting circulation and cramping your feet. 

Wearing thin socks underneath large woolen socks keeps moisture off your feet while also insulating the warmth in. Getting insulated boots will also help keep you warm. When getting boots, get a size bigger as this will help you layer your socks inside without feeling uncomfortable. 

The boots also need to be water-proof and insulated to keep your feet dry and warm. Failure to have such boots will make your day around the water frustrating. 

You may find gloves and mittens challenging to have as they can interfere with your boating activities. Fortunately, you can opt for lightweight gloves to cover your fingers fully or choose thick fiberglass gloves to keep your palms warm.

Gore-Tex gloves keep your hands dry and are an excellent alternative if you don’t want something too thick. Make use of instant heat from heated hand warmers for your gloves. 

There are convertible gloves that cover your fingers and flip to become fingerless gloves to make your work easier. 

Your face and ears will also get cold when out on a boat. Get a hat that covers your ears. A baseball cap that has a fleece neck gaiter is an excellent alternative to wool knit caps. 

A throw on fleece or wool blanket comes in handy when on a boat. All you need is to place one over your lap while fishing to get some warmth. Keep the blankets in a dry area and check them for signs of mildew or mold. Wash them often and dry them to keep them in good condition. 

Have a vacuum-sealed thermos.

A vacuum-sealed thermos is a must-have when out on a boat on a chilly day. You can have one for your coffee and one for hot soup. Sipping on a hot beverage will help you stay warm while enjoying your boating activities. 

How to Stay Warm on a Boat (9 Simple Tips)

Add insulation to your boat.

Your boat can benefit from insulation as it helps keep the cold air out while preserving the cozy warm air. What’s more, it reduces the amount of internal condensation, something that enhances your boating experience. 

Put some cockpit enclosure.

A cockpit enclosure will keep the rain and wind out, while also creating a comfortable and warm environment. You can talk to a professional on how to get one fitted if you aren’t sure about how to get one. 

Wear your life vest when around cold water.

Don’t forget to wear a life vest when you are around cold water, particularly when you are out enjoying your boating activities. If you happen to tip over, your clothes will become heavy, and the shock of the water temperature will hasten your ability to recover when you have a lifesaver on. 

How to Stay Warm on a Boat (9 Simple Tips)

Invest in window covers.

Boat windows contribute to major heat loss. You can use an old foam to create a window cover. Doing that not only improves insulation, but it also blocks out light and prevents condensation.

Other considerations when trying to stay warm on a boat.

Apart from layering, investing in an electrical heater, and getting the proper cold-weather accessories, there are other considerations to think about when trying to stay warm on a boat.

These include:

Always have an extra set of clothes.

Ensure that you have more clothes and carry them in a dry proof container. That’s because when you stumble in from the shore or fall out of the boat, any exposure to the cold conditions can have severe health implications. Have a set of dry clothing to avoid any severe consequences. 


If you are looking to stay warm on a boat, the above tips should help keep you warm. Hopefully, these tips will come in handy when out enjoying your boating activities. 


  • Chris Hewitt

    Chris is a Texas-based freelance writer who loves the outdoors and working in his garage. When he's not enjoying the Texas sun, he can be found tinkering with all sorts of things in his workshop.

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