Keep your cool
5 tips for protecting yourself from the summer sun
As a boater, you may be eager to get out on the water this summer, but you need to be aware that the sun can have an unwanted impact on your safety.
Warm, sunny weekends bring out more boat traffic. If you’ve taken a boating class, you may think you’re a pretty safe boater. But what about the other guy—does he know the rules of the road?
Even if you boat defensively, you may not be as sharp as the day wears on, especially if you become tired and dehydrated.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
- If you have a Bimini, put it up. Run the boat from under its shade. You’ll be cooler, and it will be easier to see your surroundings. Tanning will still occur, however, because UV rays reflect off the water and your boat’s surface, so use sunscreen.
- If you don’t have a Bimini, wear a hat. The brim will shade your eyes, and you’ll feel cooler.
- Wear good polarizing sunglasses. They will block much of the sun’s UV rays, and you’ll see much better.
- Drink, drink, drink—but not beer or other alcohol, which accelerates dehydration. Water is best, but juices and other fluids are also good. If you and your crew aren’t perspiring or using the head on a hot, sunny day, chances are you’re dehydrated, which can lead to heatstroke.
- If you’re tired, anchor or pull in someplace. The rest will help refresh you.
Remember, there’s no substitute for common sense. When you’re on the water, you need to stay sharp. Reinforce your boating skills by taking a basic boating course, seminar or advanced boating course from USPS.