Stay Sun Safe

05:07 am | Thursday, 17 September 2015

There's nothing better than a bright sunny day to push the boat out and enjoy the water. And you should. But don't let the sun spoil the party by giving you a sunburn. Every sailor knows the dangers of getting a sunburn. UV rays can cause mild to severe sunburns, eye damage and even skin cancer in the long run. Protection against and prevention of sunburns must be taken seriously by all sailors. UV rays are classified on the basis of their wavelengths into UVA and UVB. Both are harmful in different ways even though UVB is normally said to be the bigger villain. Sun protection means following a few standard practices.

1.    Eye protection in the form of polarised sunglasses will help reduce the glare bouncing off the water, the boat surface etc. A wide brimmed hat also makes sense as it shades the face from the direct sun. 
2.    Long-sleeved upper body clothing is recommended as it limits the areas of exposure. 
3.    Know your skin type before you buy your sunscreen. A higher SPF is not necessarily an indication of greater protection. Experts disagree on the best SPF level but concur that a minimum SPF of 15 is a must. Sunscreens must be applied every 30 minutes and they do not guard against UVA. Hence it is better to use a metal oxide-based sunblock that contains either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These reflect both UVA and UVB without irritating even the most sensitive skin types. Their only drawback is that they are thick and leave a white coating on your skin for a little while.

4.    If you are a regular sailor, a yearly or half yearly visit to the dermatologist would serve you well; just so you can continue to enjoy your boat time for longer without the fear of sun damage.