Boating and summertime go hand in hand, but a fun day on the water under a blazing sun has its dangers. Learn how to protect yourself from the effects of too much sun and fun.
Save your skin
Scientists believe that sun exposure is the primary cause of skin cancer. Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is especially important on the water, where reflected rays can do twice the damage they do on land.
- Use sunscreen with an SPF between 30 and 50 that offers both UVA and UVB protection.
- Apply sunscreen before exposure to the sun, and reapply it every two to four hours or after every immersion in water, even if the label says it’s waterproof.
- Wear protective clothing, paying particular attention to the head, ears, nose and eyes. This goes for infants as well.
Wet your whistle wisely
Staying hydrated is critical, especially in the summer, so drink plenty of water. Sport drinks, which help restore electrolyte balance, are another good choice.
Steer clear of alcoholic beverages, which can lead to dehydration and impair physical and mental performance before you realize there’s a problem. What’s more, wave motion, engine vibration, sunlight, heat and engine noise can intensify alcohol’s effects, increasing fatigue.
Have a backup plan
Lastly, designate a capable crew member who can take over the helm in case the captain becomes incapacitated. Remember, the captain is responsible for the safety of the vessel, crew and other vessels sharing the water. –Galveston Bay Sail & Power Squadron Safety Committee