Bay Paddle participants know how important sun protection is for long hours on the water—included a brimmed hat and arm and hand coverings. Photo: Bay Paddle

Best UV Sun Protection Clothing for Boaters

When you spend many blissful hours on the Chesapeake Bay, sunscreen can only take you so far. Sun-blocking clothing shouldn’t be overlooked as part of your sun protection plan. When it comes to what you wear, it’s the UPF, not SPF, rating that matters. UPF measures the amount of UV radiation that penetrates a fabric and reaches the skin.

Today, UPF-rated clothing is easy to find, and comes in everything from hoodies to fashionable hats. These hand-picked brands all get the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. When picking sun-protective gear, look for a listed UPF of (ideally) 50 or higher, and choose colors strategically. Dark or bright colors have better protection than white and other light colors.


The Skin Cancer Foundation advises you look for a hat with a brim of at least three inches to cover the tops of the ears, back of the neck, face, scalp, and upper back. A tightly-knit woven hat is safer than a straw hat that lets in UV rays. The Horizon Breeze Brimmer Hat from The North Face has UPF 40+ protection, an adjustable sweatband and a chin strap to keep the hat solidly on your head when you leave the 6-knot zone.

When you arrive at your dock and dine spot and you’re looking for style as well as sun protection, the Victoria Fedora from Wallaroo has the recommended 3” brim and comes in 13 colors.


Sometimes it’s not practical to be on the boat in shirt and pants. You want to be ready to take a dip. This swim coverup from popular fishing apparel brand Huk has a hood, long sleeves and a flattering cut that could easily take you from swimming hole to dock bar.


If you don’t want to buy a whole wardrobe of protective long-sleeved shirts, arm sleeves are a great option to add sun protection when worn with your short-sleeved tee. These from BloqUV have you covered from mid-bicep to hands. They have thumb holes and silicon non-slip grippers to keep them in place.


When boating in the sun, it’s easy to overlook your neck and ears, but trust us, the sun will find them. Vapor’s Solar Gaiter comes in several colors and its fabric is made to withstand the sun’s rays and salt water. Its SolarBloc UPF 50+ material can be worn as a neck gaiter, face covering, balaclava, headband, and more.

To see all of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommended sun protection brands and products, visit