From your Cruising Captain
Cruising Captain: Norman Plotkin
Now that summer is approaching and we will be spending long hot summer days on the lake, it's important to be careful not to get too much sun exposure. We want Barefoot sailors to remain safe and healthy. So, please protect yourself from the sun.
Having grown up in South Florida, my family was always on the water in a boat. Starting at age 7 or 8, I was racing Opti prams. Being fair-skinned – I often got very sunburnt. I remember having to wear long sleeve shirts and put thick zinc oxide on my nose. I am paying the price now as an adult and have to visit my dermatologist several times a year to get inspected and have precancerous spots removed. I have learned now to be careful about my sun exposure.
There are several things a boater can do to avoid too much sun exposure. I recommend the following:
A good, broad brim hat
It's essential and the one that works best for me when sailing is a Tilley Hat with straps. It stays on even on the windiest of days.
A high SPF sunscreen
Personally, I use SPF 50. There are some brands that are better for the marine environment and do not contain zinc or other harmful chemicals. I am not a fan of sprays though many like to use them. Remember to reapply it throughout the day.
A pair of good polarizing sunglasses
Be sure to protect your eyes with polarizing sunglasses and use a strap or “croakie” to keep them from falling overboard.
A long sleeve SPF shirt
This is another essential. Nowadays there are many good wicking SPF shirts on the market that are comfortable even in the hot sun. I even swim with it on.
A pair of long, thin pants
Most days, I wear long, thin pants and only change into a short bathing suit for the time I am going in for a dip.
Again, please be mindful of your sun exposure so that we Barefoot Sailors can enjoy many more healthy years of sailing together.