Boating Sportswear With UV Protection

Ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) is a measurement of how much ultraviolet light is blocked by a fabric. UPF 50, the most common rating on clothing tags, means the fabric will cut out all but 1/50th of the sun’s cancer-causing UV rays. Basically, 98 percent of the UV rays do not penetrate a UPF 50 fabric. For all-day fun in the sun, choosing lightweight garments that offer this protection is beneficial for comfort and long-term skin care.

How We Tested

Using a UV black light and a UV meter, we shined the black light on the UV meter’s sensor from 5 inches away and measured the output. Next, we covered the UV light with a UPF-rated fabric, being careful to avoid stretching and opening the weave, and measured the residual light. While all of our test garments passed, some even exceeded the UPF 50 standard.

Magellan Pro Angler Shirt
Deeper colors block more UV light than pale colors. Courtesy Magellan

Magellan Pro Angler Shirt

Caped sport shirts with button-down collars are the staple of anglers and boaters thanks to their cooling nature and sharp looks. Side panels and underarms are perforated for added ventilation. A sunglasses cleaning cloth is sewn into the shirt tail, and the left breast pocket has three cool tools. One is a line-cutting button. There is also a sunglasses loop and a rod loop. The right breast pocket is zippered and holds a large smartphone. The left one uses hook-and-loop fasteners, and both have drain holes.

  • Price: $34.99
  • Color: Royal blue
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Test Results: Passed
Simms Brackett shirt
Wrinkle-free, the fabric is enhanced with baked-in UPF blockers. Courtesy Simms

Simms Brackett Shirt

This shirt is cool, soft to the touch and wrinkle-resistant, a feature proven by the number of days it was left in the laundry pile. Stainless-steel-trimmed pearl snaps make it easy to get on and off, and the cuffs have two snaps for a snug or loose fit. The collar buttons down, and the pockets snap shut. A sunglasses cleaning chamois is sewn into the tail, near the hip. The look is sharp, and the fabric is tough for rough use and durable good looks. 

  • Price: $89.95
  • Color: Nightfall window plaid
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Test Results: Passed
AFTCO Rangle shirt
Our favorite for a sporty cut, soft, flexible fabric and stain-resistant finish; it easily passed. Courtesy AFTCO

AFTCO Rangle Long-Sleeved Shirt

The ultralight polyester fabric feels like a feather, and it remains cool in sweaty weather. A stain-resistant treatment protects it from even splattered fish blood and splashed wine. Pleated pockets have nylon snaps on the flaps. A sunglasses cleaning cloth is sewn into the tail, front and center. The sleeves can be rolled above the elbow and kept there with button-up straps. 

  • Price: $48
  • Color: Light blue
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Test Results: Passed
Pelagic Defcon shirt
Comfortable and cool, with a mask and a tight weave. Courtesy Pelagic

Pelagic Defcon Hooded Fishing Shirt

This techie fishing shirt has a face mask, hood and a kangaroo pocket, in case July and August turn cold. It’s a snug-fitting shirt in a highly elastic nylon. It’s water-repellent and stain-resistant to dry quickly and remain stain-free in hard use. Thumb slots keep the sleeves over the back of your hands—one of the most UV-exposed areas of the body. 

  • Price: $85
  • Color: Smoky blue
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Test Results: Passed
Grundéns Solstrale Pro Hoodie
Sleek cut will be a favorite among fly-fishers. It would also make a comfy underlayer. Courtesy Grundéns

Grundéns Solstrale Pro Hoodie

The sleeves and bottom half of the shirt have a waffled woven weave that is both tough and light to the touch. It feels as if it enhances ventilation. Underarms are seamless for comfort, and the hood covers the chin and extends far enough to shade the face. It provides full sun protection in the summer and would make a good wicking underlayer for cold weather.

  • Price: $89.99
  • Color: Quarry
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Test Results: Passed
AFTCO Adapt Tactical HD Hoodie
Tactical camo is suitable for a hot season of waterfowl and stealthy sight-fishing trips. Courtesy AFTCO

AFTCO Adapt Tactical HD Hoodie

Fashioned from 84 percent recycled polyester and 16 percent spandex, the stretchy shirt form-fits to the body, and the mask conforms to the face. The weave is less dense at the mouth and nose for comfort. When thumbs are in the sleeve slots, and the hood and mask are up, only the fingertips are exposed to the sun. Using recycled fabric material is just one way AFTCO pursues sustainability.

  • Price: $85
  • Color: Light-gray Digi Camo
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Test Results: Passed
Grundéns Sidereal Pants
Knife pocket and key loop add versatility. The flat-front cut doubles as sportswear, even with a drawstring waist. Courtesy Grundéns

Grundéns Sidereal Pants

These pants are so light that they feel like pajamas, but they look perfectly street-ready. The fabric is stretchy, and 57 percent is Econyl, made from recycled fishing nets; 38 percent is virgin nylon, and 5 percent is spandex—the stretchy part. Two front pockets are fast-draining woven mesh. The right front pocket has a heavy-fabric knife-sheath pocket for a clip knife, and the back pocket has a drain hole. A snap and flap would’ve been a nice addition there. The pants are designed to be airy and cool, and they are.  

  • Price: $99.99
  • Color: Golden brown
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Test Results: Exceeded standards
AFTCO Cloudburst Shorts
Shorter shorts are coming back. These are tough for the beach and look sharp for waterfront dining. Courtesy AFTCO

AFTCO Cloudburst Shorts

These 8-inch shorts exceeded standards for their UPF 50 rating, blocking 99.8 percent of UV light in our tests. A Teflon coating ensures stain resistance for hard-use fishing, and the crisp style makes them Saturday-afternoon sporty. The right-side pliers pocket is handy for fishermen or to hold a smaller smartphone. 

  • Price: $59
  • Color: Charcoal heather
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Test Results: Exceeded standards
Simms Skiff Shorts
Extra protection from higher-than-promised UV blocking down to the knee tops. Courtesy Simms

Simms Skiff Shorts

The shorts are even softer than the shirt, with slash front pockets that are mesh-lined for fast drainage. So is a zippered phone pocket on the side, and patch pockets on the hips can hold a wallet or your hands. Belt loops give them street cred, and the fast-drying fabric is waffled inside for better cooling. 

  • Price: $69.95
  • Color: Storm
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Test Results: Exceeded standards
Magellan Pro Angler Hybrid Boardshorts
Sporty and tactical, with a zippered pocket and line-cutting button. The tight weave reduces light. Courtesy Magellan

Magellan Pro Angler Hybrid Boardshorts

The fabric is water-repellent to dry quickly for all-day comfort. The 10-inch lace-up shorts with a zippered fly are comfortable and stretchy. The longer legs cover sun-vulnerable thighs to the knees. Side and hip zippered pockets are fast-draining and hold a large smartphone securely. A line-cutting button at the waist adds a touch of style and utility. 

  • Price: $29.99
  • Color: Caviar
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Test Results: Passed
Pelagic Ocean Master Shorts
Patriotic, protective of skin and gear with zippered pockets, and ready for the beach, boat or pool. Courtesy Pelagic

Pelagic Ocean Master Shorts

Born for the Fourth of July, these 10-inch red, white and blue boardshorts are for celebrations, boating weekends and fishing adventures. Zippered front and back pockets, two each, are complemented with one pliers pocket with three tool slots. The lace-up front is all about board sports, but the stain-resistant fabric is all about bloody fishing decks.  

  • Price: $95
  • Color: Americano
  • UPF Rating: 50
  • Test Results: Exceeded standards

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