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Clothing & Safety Equipment

Sailing Gloves

Sailing gloves are among the most important pieces of clothing you should carry with you when you are on a boat. They serve two major purposes:

Protection from injuries

for example through running lines that you have to pull manually, and

protection from cold

which could make your grip unreliable and affect the flexibility of your fingers.

The traditional material for sailing gloves is leather. High-quality leather gloves are still available from a number of manufacturers, although these days they are rather luxury items than practical ones. Leather gloves will be yours if you are into lifestyle yachting, sport sailors will rather go for modern, synthetic materials.

The best and most commonly used material to make sailing gloves today is Amara Leather. In fact, it is not leather at all but a synthetic material that mimics the touch of leather. It is a very soft material and yet very durable. It can easily handle long exposures to ropes as well as to saltwater. However, try to rinse them in freshwater once you are done with sailing, since repeated moistening and drying from saltwater does harm the material to some degree.

Personal Floatation Device (PFD)

A personal flotation device (PFD) should be worn when you’re out boating. Think of it as a rule that you should learn to live with. Now, that being said, a PFD may not be the sexiest thing you ever wrapped around your torso, but they really aren’t that bad. Today’s PFD isn’t necessarily your father’s life preserver.

Most boaters will wear a US Coast Guard Class type III PFD in either a vest-style or a pullover style. It should allow for good freedom of movement through all arm motions. Although there is a breaking-in period to a PFD, the right one should feel pretty good the first time you try it on.

Your PFD should have a variety of adjustable straps at the waist, shoulder and armholes to provide a proper, snug fit. Make sure you get one with lots of neat pockets — you can always use them. Some manufacturers are making gender-specific models which may help you get a proper fit.

PFDs come in a variety of colors and styles, so get something you like and you will never feel the urge to go without it.

A good place to look for Sailing Gear is with Annapolis Performance. They offer discounts to registered student sailors.