There are few places on earth where you're more exposed to the sun than when you're on your boat, however, many of us are guilty of ignoring the power of the sun in favour of a tan or a little extra vitamin D.
There are benefits to getting a little sunshine, but its so easy to forget the dangers when you're immersed in your favourite pastime.
To help you make your next hot weather sail a truly safe on, we've put together a selection of our top tips for avoiding sunburn and staying out on your boat for so much longer...
Be Aware of Tanning Myths!
There are a number of fallacies surrounding skin tanning that have managed to get a significant amount of traction amongst sailors and landlubbers alike. You may have heard that getting a base tan protects you from burning later on or UVB rays are harmful whereas UVA are not… It's an unpopular statement to make, but tanning isn't safe -in fact, according to the British Association of Dermatologists, 'a tan is actually a sign that the skin has been damaged and is trying to protect itself.'
Make sure you don't take one step on board without sun cream. Equip yourself with a bottle that provides both UVA and UVB protection and has a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) appropriate to the amount of time you're going to spend on your boat - at least 20 or 30+ with water-resistant properties. Remember! The moment your skin starts to feel warm, you're sweating a lot, or you've gone in and out of the water, reapply your suncream.
Get The Right Sunglasses
Constant exposure to sunlight can not only cause skin cancer, it can cause real problems with your eyes too. When you're out at sea and the sun is glistening off the water and the white surfaces of your boat, your eyes will be getting a hammering from UV rays. All of this can lead to vision problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, which can cause impaired vision, and even skin cancer around your eyes. The #1 boat trip essential is a pair of high quality wrap-around sunglasses. Not your everyday supermarket, off-the-shelf budget shades, but proper sailing sunglasses that provide coverage of your entire eye area.
Tip #1. If you want to know whether your sunglasses are any good, check to make sure they have the CE marking so you know you're actually protected from those harmful rays. Tip #2. If you're a good sailor you'll have one pair of sunglasses, if you're a great sailor, you always carry two. If you're not sure why, you've been smart enough not to sit on them, step on them or lose your favourite pair overboard just yet.
When it comes to protective clothing, it's easier to simply break down what features and functions your clothing needs to possess in order that you stay protected.
#1. Your clothing is made from a sun-shielding material - they can be expensive, but trust us, it's worth it. Look out for that UPF rating of around 30-50 to ensure you're getting maximum protection. It might seem "uncool" or even wholly impractical to be covered up while out in 20-degree heat, but even long sleeve shirts and relaxed fit trousers are going to keep you safer than the rest
#2. Always have a hat in your cabin. Sometimes sunglasses aren't enough and you need some proper head shade to keep the heat off your face and neck. Again, a good sailor will have a baseball cap put a great sailor will have a wide-brimmed skimmer to keep the sun out.
Watch Out During The 10am - 3pm window. It's as simple as that. When the heatwave strikes and you feel like every second of the day needs to be spent on your boat... Why not go for an evening sail and watch the sunset? We're not saying you have to become some sort of twilight seafarer but a few days in the sun can be easily leveled out with a few stunning sunset sails.