So, you just got a brand new rigid inflatable boat or RIB, and you can’t wait to hit the water. But before you head out there, you’re wondering if there’s any special clothing you should consider wearing while in your RIB.
It may seem silly to think about clothing when you’re out in a boat, but the truth is, boating leaves you exposed to the elements. This is especially true of rigid inflatable boats, which sit low in the water and leave you prone to splashing, wind, and UV radiation.
So what are some general rules of thumb for what to wear on a RIB boat? Are there any special considerations for warm or cold weather?
Let’s talk about the answers, shall we?
Table of Contents
- General Clothing Tips for RIB Boats
- What to Wear on a RIB During Warm Weather?
- What to Wear on a RIB During Cold Weather?
General Clothing Tips for RIB Boats
It’s important to consider what you’ll be wearing anytime you spend a significant amount of time in the great outdoors.
Most of the time, going out in a boat means several hours of sun exposure. You may also have to deal with high winds, choppy waters, rain, and a wide range of temperatures.
When you’re in a rigid inflatable boat, the chances of getting wet are a lot higher than some other boats. RIBs are exceptionally buoyant, but they don’t provide much protection from spray. The choppier the waters, the more likely you are to get soaked.
With that in mind, let’s talk about some basic “what to wear” tips that you should consider each time you head out in your RIB.
Always Wear a Life Jacket
Wearing a lifejacket is required in every state of the U.S. But even without the requirement, wearing a lifejacket on a RIB would still be a good safety measure–like wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle.
RIBs are fairly stable in the water thanks to their rigid floors, but they are still prone to capsizing if the waves are too large or the boat becomes damaged. They are also easy to fall out of, especially in choppy waters.
For these reasons, always wear a lifejacket no matter where you’re boating. Remember, it’s the law, and it’s the best way to protect yourself in a RIB.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
This may seem obvious, but you don’t want to find yourself out in the middle of the lake wishing you had worn something more comfortable.
If you’re in a RIB, you may be sitting for a long time. You may get bashed around a little bit if the waves are rough. There may be times when you can stand up and walk around, and you’ll want to be wearing clothes that don’t restrict your movement.
Consider the weather and water conditions you’re likely to face. If you’re not sure, err on the side of comfort. Wear athletic or loose-fitting clothing appropriate to the season, keeping in mind that you will probably get wet while on the water.
Speaking of which:
Waterproof is Great if You Want It
As noted, it’s common to get splashed from the spray while you’re in a RIB. Sometimes, you may also be dealing with rain.
If you don’t mind getting wet, and the weather is warm enough, there’s no need to wear special waterproof clothing. Just make sure and wear lightweight clothes and shoes that won’t be damaged by moisture exposure. Swim clothes and diving suits are ideal.
If you don’t want to get soaked to the skin, it might be a good idea to invest in a wetsuit. Keep in mind, though, that you may get hot and feel that your movement is restricted, so choose your wetsuit with care and always try it on before you’re ready to hit the water.
What to Wear on a RIB During Warm Weather?
Having appropriate clothing during warm weather will help you avoid heat exhaustion, heatstroke, sunburn, and other heat-related illness. Let’s look at some things to consider when taking your RIB out in warmer weather conditions.
Go With Something Lightweight
If the weather’s hot, wearing heavy clothing can put added stress on your body. It will hold the heat close to your body, raising your temperature.
Lightweight clothing is always recommended during the summer. It will allow the heat to escape and won’t weigh you down as much if it gets wet.
Choose Light-Colored Fabrics
Light-colored fabrics are better than dark fabric on hot, sunny days. Dark colors will absorb the sunlight, allowing more heat close to your body. On the other hand, light-colored clothes deflect much of the light away from you, allowing less heat to pass through to your body.
Wicking Fabrics Can Help Keep You Cool
Swimwear, workout shirts, yoga pants–all of these clothing items are made of lightweight, synthetic fabrics that wick sweat and moisture away from your skin. These clothes allow sweat and moisture to evaporate quickly, which provides a cooling effect on your body.
What to Wear on a RIB During Cold Weather?
When the weather’s cold, going out in a RIB puts you at greater risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and other problems. Wearing the proper cold weather gear can help prevent these illnesses.
Let’s talk about how to dress for the cold when you’re on a RIB.
Wear a Wetsuit
Wearing a wetsuit is optional and may cause heart problems during warm weather, but they are essential for cold-weather RIBing.
Getting wet when the weather’s cold can be deadly because it gradually lowers your body temperature. The longer you’re out in the cold while wet, the greater your risk of hypothermia.
Wearing a wetsuit will help you stay dry. It’s important to shop around for a high-quality wetsuit and try it on before you hit the water so you can make sure it fits comfortably.
Dress in Layers
Wetsuits are great for staying dry, but they won’t necessarily keep you warm. Your wetsuit should be large enough for you two to wear at least 2 or 3 thin layers comfortably underneath.
Layering your clothes helps you conserve heat better than if you just had a single thick layer. It also gives you the option of removing layers if you get hot.
Clothing items such as long underwear, hoodies, jogging pants, and long-sleeved T-shirts are great for layering. It’s also a good idea to wear at least two layers of socks.
Don’t Forget Sun Protection
It’s easy to forget about sun protection in the winter, but it’s still possible to sunburn even when the sun’s angle is low. If you’re planning to be out on the water for several hours, wear a hat. Apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
If you’re ready to hit the water in your new rigid inflatable boat, take a few minutes to think about what you’re going to wear. It may seem like a minor consideration, but it can mean the difference between having an enjoyable day on the water and having to head home early.
Sarah Hood has been writing for Anchor Travel since 2021. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, singing, and spending time in the great outdoors.