What Should You Wear Pedal Boating? (Will You Get Wet?)

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Most sports are fun…if you’re dressed for them.

Being asked to play volleyball if you’re wearing heels doesn’t sound like fun. Neither does pedal boating if you’re wearing the wrong clothing.

However, unlike a technical sport or hobby, wearing the right clothing for pedal boating doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. In fact, I’m sure you already have what you need in your closet or drawer!

In general, you can wear any clothing you want when pedal boating. It is easy to avoid getting wet. Preferred clothing would be a swimsuit or athletic clothing such as shorts and a t-shirt. Be sure that whatever clothing you choose will protect you from the sun and allow to you pedal the boat.

What Should You Wear Pedal Boating?

What you should wear pedal boating depends on a variety of factors.

First off, are you on vacation and renting a pedal boat? If you’re going to renting a pedal boat by the hour at a park or on a small pond, go ahead and wear whatever you were going to wear for the day (assuming it’s not a cocktail dress).

Commercial pedal boats are large and are mainly used on calm water. You’ll be able to pedal around and stay relatively dry. As long as you are wearing clothes that are comfortable to be active in you’ll be in good shape.

However, if you’re going to be spending a day out on the lake with a pedal boat then the question becomes a bit more difficult to answer.

If you’re figuring out what to wear pedal boating on your own boat, you’ll want to figure out the following:

Does The Pedal Boat Have A Bimini?

If you have a shade on your pedal boat you will have many more clothing options. If you are as pale as I am then sunburn is a huge concern while you’re pedal boating.

I typically wear a lightweight long sleeve shirt, shorts, and a hat to keep my skin safe.

If you do choose to wear shorts, be sure to apply sunscreen on and right above your knees as that tender skin is particularly susceptible to sunburns and is exposed while pedaling.

How Are You Getting Into & Out Of The Boat?

Do you have a dock? Are you launching off your houseboat? Are you going to have to swim out to your pedal boat?

The method you get into and out of your boat is a major deciding factor when it comes to what clothing and footwear will work best.

We launch our boat off of the beach so I typically wear closed-toe sandals or water shoes as I know they’ll get wet.

If you have a dock to help you in/out then you’ll be able to get away with dry clothes.

What Exactly Will You Be Doing?

Dressing for the activity you’ll be doing is a no-brainer. While you’ll obviously be pedal boating, what else will you be doing? You could be fishing from your pedal boat, using it as a swimming base, getting in some pedal boat exercise, or just exploring.

In most situations, a pair of swim shorts and a t-shirt will serve you well.

However, if you’re going out with a chilled beverage and the intent to sunbathe, you might forgo the shirt as well!

Will You Get Wet When Pedal Boating?

If you’re on vacation, wondering if you’ll get wet while pedal boating is a real concern. No one wants to go pedal boating and then wander around with a wet butt.

If you want to avoid getting wet, you probably can. As long as the boat is dry when you get in you can pedal calmly and avoid splashing.

However, if you are pedal boating on a lake be aware that it might be unavoidable.

One of the reasons that pedal boats are so safe is that they sit very low in the water and are hard to tip. This makes them susceptible to getting water over the side if there is much splashing, wake from a larger boat, etc.

In general, I would count on getting wet but not soaking on a pedal boat trip.


What clothing you have should not be a determining factor in whether you decide to go out on a pedal boat or not. Pedal boating is far more forgiving than cycling so, as long as you’re comfortable, you’ll be fine.

Just get out there and enjoy the water!