Did you know they call skin cancer “the sailor’s Disease”? Summer boating season is here and direct sun coupled with intense UV reflected from the water dramatically increase the amount of sun you get when you’re out on the boat. A beautiful afternoon on the water can lead to serious sunburn for the unprotected.
While that can cause real discomfort, the real danger lies in Skin Cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation http://www.skincancer.org/Skin-Cancer-Facts/ :
- Roughly 700,000 cases of Basal Cell Carcinoma are reported each year and roughly 150,000 cases of the more deadly Melanoma
- Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults ages 25-29
- 1 blistering sunburn during childhood can double chances of developing Melanoma and 5 burns at any age will also double the risk
It’s not just the medical community that is concerned with the danger, as many serious boaters are aware of the risk too.
We wear life jackets to protect ourselves from the dangers of drowning and have blowers to help prevent on-board explosions. If you’re aware of the danger, there are several things you can do to protect yourself, your passengers and family from the dangers of excessive sun, when you’re out on the water.
Wear Sunscreen – Sunscreen is a good foundation to help protect against UV radiation damage, but it isn’t enough.
Wear a Big, Ugly Hat – A big hat with a wide brim can protect your scalp, face, neck and ears from the sun. It might not be the height of fashion, but it can be a life saver. My Dad spends a lot of time fishing high lakes in the summer and I have to smile every time he breaks out his beat up old Huck Fin style straw hat and cinches it under his chin. But I’m as glad to see him do it as when he puts on his Mustang Inflatable life vest. It helps insure that we’ll have a lot more years to fish together.
Get a Bimini Top – Sunbrella Bimini Tops are endorsed by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV sun screen. In addition to protecting your family, the shade they offer can mean the difference between heading in early and extending your time on the lake. Bimini Boat Tops come in a wide selection of sizes and styles including Pontoon Boat Bimini Tops and Bimini Tops for boats with wakeboard towers. The best biminis on the market are handmade in the USA using sturdy aluminum frames that will stand up to years of use. Sunbrella fabric is the most popular material for bimini tops. Designed specifically for outdoor applications, it stands up well to the elements, is extremely durable and comes in dozens of popular colors.