Sailing is one of the most exciting pastimes in the world. As a simple and relaxing activity, it’s easy to see why so many people enjoy it. We’ve put together a list of 20 tunes that capture the spirit of sailing.
- 1. “Sailing” by Rod Stewart
- 2. “A Sailboat in the Moonlight” by Billie Holiday
- 3. “Single-Handed Sailor” by Dire Straits
- 4. “Come Sail Away” by Styx
- 5. “Sailor’s Lament” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
- 6. “Son of a Son of a Sailor” by Jimmy Buffett
- 7. “A Pirate Looks At Forty” by Jimmy Buffett
- 8. “When the Ship Comes In” by Bob Dylan
- 9. “Wellerman” by Nathan Evans
- 10. “Sail On, Sailor” by Beach Boys
- 11. “Sail Away” by David Gray
- 12. “All At Sea” by Jamie Cullum
- 13. “Wooden Ships” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
- 14. “Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall
- 15. “Sailin’ The Wind” by Loggins & Messina
- 16. “Sail On” by Commodores
- 17. “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
- 18. “Sailboat” by Ben Rector
- 19. “Sailing Away” by Chris de Burgh
- 20. “Drunken Sailor” by Irish Rovers
1. “Sailing” by Rod Stewart
Starting this list with a soothing rock song about sailing through life, “Sailing” by Rod Stewart is a great choice for any sailing playlist. The lyrics are about taking life’s journey to be near the Lord which draws a tranquil and calming feeling.
2. “A Sailboat in the Moonlight” by Billie Holiday
There’s nothing more romantic to be on a sailboat with the one you love under the moonlight. This classic song by Billie Holiday will set the perfect mood while you’re sailing with your loved one.
The lyrics are all about getting a chance to escape reality and sail away with your partner. It’s a loving blues track that will set the tone for a perfect night out on the water.
3. “Single-Handed Sailor” by Dire Straits
This rock song is inspired by Sir Francis Chichester who happens to sail the world single-handedly, an impressive circumnavigation that was completed in 1966-67.
The song talks about the adventure, strength, and bravery that it took for Chichester and his ship to embark on this journey. It’s an inspiring track that motivates adventure-seekers to set sail and explore the world.
4. “Come Sail Away” by Styx
Styx is a classic rock band that has many great hits, but “Come Sail Away” is definitely one of their most iconic sailing songs. The lyrics are all about leaving your comfort zone and setting sail into the unknown.
Despite the uncertainties and missing the pot of gold, the sailor in the song is hopeful for the adventure that lies ahead. It’s an uplifting and empowering song that will make you feel ready to take on the world.
5. “Sailor’s Lament” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
A groovy song that just plainly shames a sailor for his mistakes while out at sea. Despite being a sailor’s lament, the song is quite upbeat and fun to listen to.
The lyrics are all about a sailor who is a little unlucky. It’s a catchy tune that will make you laugh and sing along while sailing the seas.
6. “Son of a Son of a Sailor” by Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffet’s country song is a soothing track about a grandson who is in awe of his grandfather and is interested in following in his footsteps as a sailor.
The lyrics are all about the beauty and adventure of sailing the seas and how it compels you to set sail and be like the son of a son of a sailor. It’s a heartwarming song that will make you feel nostalgic for the days spent sailing with the elderly.
7. “A Pirate Looks At Forty” by Jimmy Buffett
Pirates existed centuries ago, but this song by Jimmy Buffett shows a sentiment that pirate enthusiasts can still relate to even today. The lyrics are all about a man who is a pirate at heart and believes to be hundred years late to be one.
Even though he’s not living the pirate life, he still daydreams about it and what could have been. This song gives off the vibe that being a pirate in today’s day and age isn’t as appealing as it used to be, but is still something worth trying.
8. “When the Ship Comes In” by Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan’s “When the Ship Comes In” is a hopeful and motivating song that relates to social change being metaphorically represented by a ship sailing into the harbor.
The lyrics are all about how the problematic society will eventually come to a time when the ship of change will come in and make everything right. It’s an empowering song that will give you the strength to fight for what’s right and sail toward a better future.
9. “Wellerman” by Nathan Evans
This catchy sea shanty was a sea ballad in the 1860s from New Zealand and has since been covered by many artists and even trended on Tiktok.
As a personal favorite, the lyrics are all about a ship’s adventure and travel to deliver supplies, and how the sailors are looking forward to the arrival of the ship owned by the Wellermans. It’s a fun and upbeat song that will make you want to sing along while sailing the seas.
10. “Sail On, Sailor” by Beach Boys
Life’s full of troubled waters, but this song from the Beach boys reminds us to sail on. The lyrics are all about how we should keep going despite the hardships and sail on toward better days. It’s an encouraging song that will give you the strength to carry on and face the waves head-on.
11. “Sail Away” by David Gray
David Gray’s “Sail Away” is an enticing song about sailing away with your partner to start a new life together.
The lyrics are all about how the singer is willing to surrender everything just to be with the person they love and sail away. It’s a romantic song that will make you feel the urge to pack up your bags and set sail with your loved one.
12. “All At Sea” by Jamie Cullum
Forgetting all the troubles and immersing ourselves in the sea, this song by Jamie Cullum is the perfect track to listen to while sailing.
The lyrics are based on how the sea can make us feel relaxed and content, especially if we’re with someone precious. It’s a relaxing song that will make you feel like you’re afloat on a cloud while sailing on the waves.
13. “Wooden Ships” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Seeing a different perspective of sailing, this song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is about how some people were able to escape the aftermath of war on wooden ships.
They are afraid and hungry but feel powerless to help those who are still stranded on the shore. This track gives us a different view of sailing, one that is full of despair and hopelessness.
14. “Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall
Gentleman Hall’s “Sail Into The Sun” is a hopeful song about sailing into paradise and inviting someone you love to come along.
The lyrics are all about how the singer is willing to take their partner away to a better place and live happily ever after. It’s a romantic song that will make you feel the urge to set sail with your loved one and find paradise together.
15. “Sailin’ The Wind” by Loggins & Messina
Summer is best enjoyed with the winds on our hair when we go sailing and this song by Loggins & Messina is the perfect track to listen to while sailing.
The lyrics are all about how the singer is feeling free and enjoying the moment with his family while sailing in the wind. This track is suitable for those who are looking for a light and breezy song to listen to while sailing.
16. “Sail On” by Commodores
Not all songs about sailing are happy, as others tackle the struggles of romantic relationships. This song by the Commodores is about a man who is in the stage of acceptance after a breakup.
The lyrics are all about how the singer is tired of being taken for granted and is ready to move on. It’s a liberating track that will make you feel like you’re ready to set sail and let bygones be bygones.
17. “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Seeking love is something we have to put effort into, as this song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young suggests.
The lyrics are focused on a man who is searching for the right woman and is willing to travel far and wide to find her. This track is for anyone who’s looking to feel inspired and hopeful. It captures the feeling of following your heart, wherever it may lead you.
18. “Sailboat” by Ben Rector
This track by Ben Rector is metaphorical, as the track is about the feeling of loneliness and lack of direction in life, which he relates to sailing alone.
The lyrics are all about how the singer is feeling lost and confused, but he hopes and prays that he’ll find his way in the process. It’s a relatable song that will resonate with anyone who’s feeling lost in life.
19. “Sailing Away” by Chris de Burgh
This is a melodious track that is about daydreaming about traveling to different parts of the world. The lyrics are all about how the singer is longing to sail away to different places and explore. This song will inspire feelings of wanderlust, making you want to travel and explore the world.
20. “Drunken Sailor” by Irish Rovers
Last on this is another iconic sea shanty track that sailors are known to sing while sailing. This fun song about the many ways a drunken sailor is woken up is both comical and entertaining.
The lyrics are all about how the sailor is being woken up in different ways until he rises. As sailors are punished for oversleeping, this song is a way to poke fun at their drunken antics. This shanty is for those who are looking for a light-hearted and fun song about sailing.
Music in the waters has been a nice pair when people sail. With different stories to tell, these songs about sailing give life to the experience. In different genres, tempos, and emotions, these songs about sailing will surely give you an immersive feeling while cruising in the vast oceans.
From reflective tracks to sea shanties, there’s a song for everyone who loves sailing. So put on your playlist and let the waves take you away.