21 Songs About Sailing (2023)

Sailing can be a metaphor to life. The adventures we take as we set on life’s journey are like setting sail on the vast ocean of life, with all of its challenges and discoveries. These deep introspections we may have are often captured in these beautiful and timeless songs about sailing. No matter the musical genre, these songs mirror the spirit of exploration to sail forward.

Here are the 21 best songs about sailing.

21. “How Far I’ll Go” by Auliʻi Cravalho

Album: Moana Original Soundtrack

Style: Pop

Moana is an animated film for kids but its musical soundtracks have mature effects that even old people could easily relate to. This song focuses on the character’s determination to fulfill her destiny and find her through the vast oceans. It is stapled to one’s desire to discover the world and pursue her goals no matter how far she should go.

20. “Sailor’s Lament” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Album: Mardi Gras

Style: Rock

This song has that mechanical quality to its sound which is greatly loved by avid fans worldwide. The proverbial lyrics of the song suggest the difficulties of the life on seas and the isolation that comes with it. The element of redundancy in the song sets the tone and mood.

19. “Son Of A  Son Of A Sailor” by Jimmy Buffett

Album: Son Of A Son Of A Sailor

Style: Rock

Originally, this song is a tribute to the singer’s grandfather whom he has a deep relationship. It’s a rock song that tells of a man who grew up in a family of sailors. It captivates the persona’s pride in having a seafaring heritage. This song inspires its listeners to embrace their roots wholeheartedly.

18. “Sail On” by Commodores

Album: Midnight Magic

Style: R&B/Soul

This ballad is a story of someone dealing with separation and failed relationship. This may be why a lot of fans could relate to it. The fact that the persona in the song is trying to encourage the other person to move on and sail on is very heartbreaking. However, the pain of letting go always pays off with immeasurable lessons.

17. “Sailin’ The Wind” by Loggins & Messina

Album: Full Sail

Style: Soft rock

This 1973 soft rock music is an ode to the wind. For sailors, winds are navigators of their route. For children, it is the force that makes their kites fly. But somehow, life is compared to a boat which the wind may carry away wherever it takes.

16. “Sailing Away” by Chris De Burgh

Album: The Love Songs

Style: Pop

How much have we dreamed of a wide world when we were young? “Sailing Away” makes us go back to those youthful days when we stare at the vast oceans and wish to sail away. This song encourages us to take risks and explore horizons as much as we can.

15. “The Last Farewell” by Roger Whittaker

Album: The Best of Roger Whittaker

Style: Folk

Now, this is a tribute to navy armies and sailors! Its lyrical narrative speaks of a sailor’s pain of leaving his family for an inevitable journey with the promise of returning again. This sentimental song makes goodbyes even harder to endure which is why it is oftentimes used as a memorial song.

14. “A Pirate Looks at Forty” by Jimmy Buffett

Album: A1A

Style: Country rock, Folk rock

Generally, this sailing song may be dedicated to retirees – sailors and not. The persona in the song narrates how a sailor could have been living a carefree life at the seas all his life and this life is now taking a toll on his body due to old age. The song vividly captures the struggles brought about by aging.

13. “Rock the Boat” by Hues Corporation

Album: Freedom for the Stallion

Style: Disco, Funk, Soul

The grooving disco feel of this song gives us the notion that falling in love is like sailing in a boat full of love and devotion. It shouldn’t be rocked ‘though because it might just tip over. This song had been a dance floor hit since then and had been a staple of parties for young and old alike.

12. “Paddy’s green shamrock shore” by The High Kings

Album: Memory Lane

Style: Irish Folk

This traditional Irish song appeals most to travelers and people who live in a different place from where they used to grow up. Its lyrical narrative captures the tale of an actual sailing on ships. Yet, it speaks of longing and homesickness which makes this song a perfect representation of people who cannot shake off their love for their homelands despite the extravagance of their new homes.

11. “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison

Album: Moondance

Style: Folk Rock

This is one of the many great songs that could really touch the heart. It talks about the sad reality that life has its own limits. Thus, it should be lived to its maximum potential. It also holds an underlying notion of falling into the mystic of “falling in love”.

10. “Sail Away” by David Gray

Album: White Ladder

Style: Folk Rock, Alternative Rock

Have you ever been so lonely that you just want to sail away and forget everything and everyone? This song relates so much to that feeling. The grief and desperation to escape from the harsh and stressful life with a loved one are captured in this melodious song. “Sail Away” is a beautiful and thought-provoking song that will continue to inspire across time.

9. “Come Sail Away” by Styx

Album: The Grand Illusion

Style: Progressive Rock

What makes this song very special to its listeners is the way it builds up from starting off with a ballad to concluding it with hard rock sounds. It also reminds us of our young dreams and that life is what we make it. The singer’s desire to sail away is not for escape, but rather for self-discovery and spiritual exploration.

8. “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills & Nash

Album: Daylight Again

Style: Folk Rock

The more you listen to this song, the deeper it could get and hit you hard. Although it seems to be describing a sailor’s life and his pursuit of love, it applies as well to those who feel like always running away to pursue something big and find fulfillment in life. The harmony of this song’s melody is sure to bring out a lot of introspection.

7. “If I Had a Boat” by Lyle Lovett

Album: Pontiac

Style: Country Folk

The approach of this song is very straightforward but sincere and heartfelt. It spikes up wild imagination as to how a pony could be ridden in a boat; just as how deeply-attached human connections and feelings could be untied. In totality, this song is about freeing one’s self from all predicaments of societal norms.

6. “Sail On, Sailor” by The Beach Boys

Album: Holland

Style: Rock

It is evident that this song talks of the adversities of life and how we must sail on regardless of what happens. If we don’t, we may become shipwrecked and may lose our direction. Avid listeners of this song love the metaphorical connection between the struggles of life, which don’t always work out, and the unpredictability of the sea.

5. “Sailing” by Rod Stewart

Album: Atlantic Crossing

Style: Soft Rock

This could be a love song or a farewell song depending on the perspective of the one singing it. Nevertheless, the song will capture that feeling of searching for a final destination – be it somewhere like a home or someone like a loved one. Overall, this will keep you crying while sailing on your stormy waters.

4. “Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall

Album: EP

Style: Indie pop

Unlike most songs about sailing on vast ocean floors, this song talks more about sailing on clouds and skies into the sun. It connotes an intention to get away or just fade away from the remarkably harsh realities, and it speaks so vividly of one’s will to be free.

3. “Cool Change” by Little River Band

Album: First Under the Wire

Style: Soft Rock

There will always be a time for everyone to make big changes in life. After listening to this song, it will be evident to make those big changes is “cool”. The cool change called for by the persona in the song metaphorically means to search for new directions and positive changes, which we should do more often, too.

2. “Sailing” by Christopher Cross

Album: Christopher Cross

Style: Soft Rock

This song is more about valuing the precious moments of life. It is best played when at the beach watching the waves and the sunset and introspecting on the fantasies in life.  Its lyrics and soft rock melody evoke a sense of relaxation that could take your stress away.

1. “Set Sail” by The Movement

Album: Golden

Style: Reggae

You’ll surely dance to the tune of this song by the way the hip-hop rhythm of the lyrics combines with the soothing flow of the reggae. You may also find yourself reliving that desire to embrace life with renewed enthusiasm and new optimism. This song is great for people pursuing their dreams.

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