Don't forget to protect skin when sailing

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Few activities embody the spirit of summer like sailing. Smelling the ocean air while catching some fish or preparing the boat for a fun-filled day on a nearby lake are activities synonymous with summer relaxation.

As enjoyable as sailing can be, it’s in the best interests of sailors and their passengers to take certain precautionary measures to ensure everyone makes it back to shore safely. One such measure is protecting skin from the sun. When sailing, men, women and children spend a significant amount of time soaking up the sun’s rays, which can lead to chronic skin damage or even skin cancer for those who don’t take steps to protect themselves. The following are a few ways boaters can ensure their next sailing trip is as safe as it is fun.

• Don protective clothing. When sailing, women might be tempted to wear a bikini while men might prefer to wear some swim trunks and nothing else. Such attire might be relaxing, but it’s not very safe. Instead of beach gear, wear protective clothing, including long-sleeve t-shirts and wide-brimmed hats that protect both the top of your head, your neck and your face from sunburn. Sunglasses will also protect your eyes from overexposure to the sun’s rays.

• Be even more diligent when sailing. When sailing, it’s important for sailors and their passengers to be especially diligent with regards to skin protection. Sand and water reflect the sun’s rays, increasing a person’s risk of sun damage. So be even more careful and protective of your skin on the water or at the beach than you would be if relaxing in the backyard.

• Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a generous application of a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, of at least 30. Re-apply the sunscreen every two hours, and immediately after going into the water or if you find yourself sweating. Be sure to use a sunscreen that is “broad-spectrum,” as this means it protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

• Spend some time in the shade. Even though you’re on a boat, there are opportunities to escape the sun. Sit in a shaded area on the boat, especially during certain hours of the day when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. The AAD notes that the sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. One trick of the trade is to always seek shade when your shadow is shorter than you are.

• Be prepared. A boat carries a host of supplies so sailors don’t end up stranded at sea. But don’t forget to stock up on protective items just in case some sailors forget to bring along sunscreen or protective gear. In addition to packing extra bottles of sunscreen, store some extra long-sleeve t-shirts and wide-brimmed hats so friends and family don’t fall victim to the sun or feel as thought they need to sit in the cabin or out of the sun for the duration of the trip.

— Metro Creative

Donning appropriate attire, including wide-brimmed hats, is one way to protect skin from overexposure to the sun when sailing.