Best sailing playlists

We all have our favorite songs to listen to while sailing, isn't that right? Something about the wind and water, the motion of the boat, and the relaxed sailing lifestyle begs to be put to music. A good sailing song can transport you to another time and place, where things are simpler and your only concern is the strength and direction of the breeze.

Without the best sailing songs to play while sailing, what good is it to be out on the water? Here are a few favorites that will make you never want the day to end when the sails are up.

This list of sailing songs is for you if you're creating the perfect sailing playlist or if you're currently on a sailing adventure and need some inspiration.


  1. Sailing - Rod Stewart

In the first few lines of Rod Stewart's "Sailing," he lists the reasons why many men have gone to sea: to be near a woman, to reach home on a distant shore, or, conversely, "to be free." It's widely assumed that this emotionally charged song was written when Rod Stewart was homesick. Whatever the meaning, it's difficult not to hum along as Stewart sings, "I'm sailing, I'm sailing...", and his literal sailor costume in the music video is pretty epic.

  1. Don't Rock My Boat - Bob Marley

The Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley written this masterpiece, it refers to keeping peace in interpersonal interactions, daily life, as well as on the open seas. It's also a calming reggae song perfect for your yachting playlist.

  1. Come Sail Away - Styx

This Styx song begins soft and soothing as we "sail away on an open sea," but wait until minute two to hear it reach its full classic rock crescendo. And if a swarm of angels appears above your head and orders you to sail away, you should probably take their advice. This is one song to crank up and rock out to if you're getting ready to go sailing.

  1. Lost Sailor - Grateful Dead

"Lost Sailor" is from the Dead's 1980 album Go To Heaven, which was not well received at the time but has since proven to be one of their stronger studio albums. The Grateful Dead aren't exactly known for their studio cuts, but that doesn't mean the songs aren't good. This is simply one of those bands that captures the energy much better live.

  1. Into The Mystic - Van Morrison

Van Morrison's "Into The Mystic" is another sailing song that fits perfectly with the act of sailing. Van Morrison captures the steady forward motion that you'd have before a calm breeze, thanks to a rolling bass line that feels like a peaceful wave on the ocean.

  1. Soul of a Sailor – Kenny Chesney

The 'Caribbean Cowboy' is about sailing. When it comes to the heart of a sailor, this one is surprisingly perfect. "When the wind fills my sail, riding on a lifelong swell, let my heart lead the way – that's the soul of a sailor."

  1. Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) – Enya

This Enya song from the late 1980s is quite catchy. It stays with me every time we raise the sails. Enya's light voice lends this song a whimsical quality that complements the lyrics perfectly.


And here are some more!


Sailing — Christopher Cross

Rolling Sea — Vetiver

Land Ho — The Doors

The Downeaster ‘Alexa’ — Billy Joel

Wellerman — Nathan Evans

Drunken Boat — Kendra Smith

Across the Sea — Wailin’ Jennys

I’m On A Boat — Lonely Island

Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) — Looking Glass

Where the Boat Leaves From — Zac Brown Band

Play Crack The Sky — Brand New

Thousands Are Sailing — The Pogues

Sailboat — Ben Rector

A Sailboat in the Moonlight — Billie Holiday

Sloop John B — Jerry Jeff Walker

If I Had a Boat — Lyle Lovett

Sailing Down My Golden River — Pete Seeger

Saucy Sailor — Steeleye Span

Sail on Sailor — Beach Boys

Fifteen Men (And a Bottle of Rum) — Robert Lewis Stevenson

Ship of Fools — Grateful Dead

Sailing Away — Chris de Burgh

Set Sail — The Movement

(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay — Otis Redding

Sail — Awolnation

Come All You Sailors — Wailin’ Jennys

Sail Away — David Gray

Cool Change — Little River Band

When the Ship Comes In — Bob Dylan

Come on Down to My Boat — Every Mother’s Son

Six Months on a Leaky Boat — Split Enz

Smooth Sailing — Queens of the Stone Age

Single Handed Sailor — Dire Straits

A Pirate Looks at 40 — Jimmy Buffett

Rock the Boat — The Hues Corporation

Southern Cross — Crosby, Stills & Nash

Only the Ocean — Jack Johnson

Full Sail — Beach Boys

Son of a Son of a Sailor — Jimmy Buffett

I’m All at Sea — Jamie Cullum

Drunken Sailor — Irish Rovers


Hopefully, you'll find your favorite sailing songs here and learn about some fresh boat music as well. Have fun and safe sailing!