Three Types of UV Radiation

Sun Safety Tips for Boating

Learn what you need to do to keep your skin safe from the harmful UV rays and enjoy a day on the water!

We all know how important it is to keep your skin safe from the harmful UV rays of the sun. But do you really know the difference between UV rays, how they affect your skin? How about sunscreen? Can you understand what you read on the labels?

Sun protection! How are you protecting your skin when you're enjoying a day on your boat, whether it's a sunny or cloudy day? Are you using the right sunscreen and wearing the right clothing to fully safeguard against the UV rays? Are you taking full advantage of your boat's bimini?

In today's blog, we will answer these questions as we break down the types of UV rays and best practices for sun protection for you and your family. We'll also cover the details of suncreen, including application and amounts, as well as the best way to get shade on your boat.

What Are UV Rays?

This is the first step in understanding sun protection. Ultraviolet Radiation, also known as UV rays, is part of the natural energy produced by the sun and other resources like tanning beds, black lights, and halogen lights. There are three types of UV rays.

Three Types of UV Radiation - Sun Safety TipsThree Types of UV Radiation - Sun Safety Tips

1. Ultraviolet A (UVA)

UVA rays cause your skin cells to age faster and are the culprits responsible for sunspots, wrinkles, and skin cancer. UVA does tan the skin quickly and is present all year long. These rays can penetrate clouds and glass, which is why you can burn on a cloudy day and be exposed to the UVA while driving.

2. Ultraviolet B (UVB)

UVB rays are much stronger than UVA , cause sunburns and are responsible for the cause of most skin cancers.  They have the second shortest wavelength. These rays can harm the top layer of your skin very quickly - within 15 minutes of sun exposure. UVB rays vary in strength depending on the season and time of day.

3. Ultraviolet C (UVC)

UVC has the shortest wavelength. The good news about UVC is that it isn’t a significant risk because the natural UVCs emission from the sun is unable to penetrate the skin. People who work in welding and use welding torches, mercury lamps and other man-made lighting are exposed to UVC rays. This is why welders wear welding masks and other protective gear.

What is the UV Index?

We’ve all heard about the UV Index. Think of it as the ‘weather report’ for sun exposure or UV rays.  Let’s break this down so you’ll know how the best UV protection practices to follow on a boat, at a pool, or the beach.

Suncreen Bottle - Sun Safety TipsSuncreen Bottle - Sun Safety Tips

LOW - This means you can enjoy being outside as long as you are using the recommended daily sun protection of SPF 30 + sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. White sand doubles UV rays when it is reflected-so you’ll want to take that into consideration when you’re boat excursion takes you to a sandy beach.

MODERATE - It is recommended that you stay in the shade from the late morning through mid-afternoon and wear SPF 30+ sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.

HIGH - Stay in the shade as much as you can, especially between 10am-4pm. Wear 30 SPF 30+ sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants.

VERY HIGH - If you must be outside; you’ll need extra protection. Change up your sunscreen to an SPF 30+ with zinc, protective clothing (long-sleeved shirts and long pants), sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. It’s strongly encouraged to stay out of the sun from 10 am-4pm.

EXTREME - Unprotected skin and eyes can burn in minutes when the UV Index is extreme. It is recommended to stay inside if possible or avoid the sun between 10 am-4 pm. If you must be outside, wear a sunscreen  SPF 30+ with zinc, protective clothing (long-sleeved shirts and long pants), sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

Sunscreen Safety Tips

We’ve all seen the many types of sunscreens at the store. It can be overwhelming to know what you are looking for and give you the protection you need.

We’ve broken down what’s on the labels, so you understand what they mean. It’s important to be in the know about the best sun protection for you and your family.

1.  Sun Protection Factor

The sunscreen element is the Sun Protection Factor, also known as SPF. This  number will indicate how long it would take your skin to redden when using the sunscreen versus not wearing any.

For example, a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 means that it will take 30 times longer for your skin to burn wearing this sunscreen than if you were not wearing it at all. So, the higher the number, the longer it will take for your skin to burn.

2. Broad Spectrum

You’ll want to make sure that the sunscreen you’re using is broad spectrum. This simply means that the sunscreen will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.

3. Applying Sunscreen

For sunscreen to work against the UV rays, it must be applied properly. It is recommended to use approximately one ounce of sunscreen per full body application. An easy way to remember this is that one ounce of sunscreen is the equivalent of two tablespoons or a shot glass. Applying a ½ teaspoon of sunscreen to your face and using the remaining amount of sunscreen to apply evenly to your shoulders, arms, and legs is recommended. Experts from the American Cancer Society to the world’s leading dermatologists recommend that sunscreen be applied a full 30 minutes before going outside.

Sun Protection for Boats

Nothing beats a day on the boat!  Blue skies, and nothing but water and sun. Sun exposure when you’re on the water can be intense, especially if you’re not using the best sun protection.

In addition to wearing the proper protective clothing and applying sunscreen every two hours, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough coverage on your boat. Lippert has a selection of manual and power biminis, as well as shade solutions, that offer additional coverage from the sun. Refresh or replace your bimini with our collection. Choose from having the ability to control your shade with simple the push of a button or update your boat’s look with a new manual top.

When you practice sun safety, you are protecting your skin and your health. Stay safe and have fun!