Boating Tips: Proper Boating Footwear

Welcome to Boating Tips with MarineMax! Today, we’re exploring the various considerations for proper boating footwear, straight from the deck of a Boston Whaler 360 Outrage. Ask your questions, make comments, and learn a thing or two about your favorite outdoor activity.

Whether you're a competitive angler or a pleasure boater, the right choice of shoes can make a significant difference in your boating experience.

Safety First: Protecting Your Feet and Deck

One common debate revolves around the question of whether to wear shoes on board. While some boats may sport a "no shoes" policy for pleasure boating, it's a different story when you're out on a serious fishing expedition. With hooks flying around and the need to navigate through hatches and latches in a hurry, wearing shoes or boots becomes a safety imperative.

Captain Keith emphasizes the importance of avoiding potential accidents, like tripping over a latch, which could cause injury to bare feet. Wearing shoes not only protects your toes but also provides stability on a slippery deck, especially when dealing with slimy catches like kingfish or grouper (which are also rife with sharp teeth and spines).

Choose the Right Footwear for the Occasion

If your boating plans involve a relaxing day at the beach or lounging on the boat without any fishing activities, it's generally acceptable to go barefoot. Most boats are equipped with non-skid, anti-slip flooring, such as SeaDek or woven vinyl, ensuring a safe and comfortable deck experience without shoes.

However, if you're going for a more upscale evening affair on your boat, Captain Keith advises against pointed heels or spiked shoes. These can damage the boat's decking, leaving unsightly marks and potentially harming the factory non-skid surface.

Dedicated Boat Shoes: A Must-Have

To keep your boat deck clean and prevent dirt from being tracked on board, Captain Keith recommends having dedicated boat shoes. Even with white non-marking soles, shoes can pick up debris from the marina or parking lot, which can end up on your boat.

By having specific boat shoes, you can maintain the cleanliness of your vessel and ensure a safe environment for everyone on board. Consider having a designated laundry basket for boat socks or shoes for each member of your crew, ensuring a tidy and hazard-free deck.


In the world of boating, every detail matters, and that includes the shoes on your feet. Captain Keith's insights offer a valuable guide for ensuring safety, cleanliness, and longevity for both your boat's deck and your on-water adventures. So, the next time you embark on a nautical journey, remember to make the right choice in footwear—it's a step in the right direction for a better boating experience.

Regardless of shoes or no shoes, we’re here to help you find your dream boat for fishing or pleasure boating. You can find your next on-the-water ride here. We’ll see you out there.

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