It’s that time of year again when the sun beats us down from the moment it cracks the horizon until that fireball finally slips beneath the western sky. Most of us have felt the results of an ill prepared all-day trip on the water with no hope of any shade to escape the effects.
Let’s recap some of the basics needed to withstand a full day of activities on the water.
It stands without much debate that a good high-quality sunscreen lotion or spray should always, always, always be available and applied liberally and often during the day. You can do the research on what the best sun protection factor or SPF number should be, but generally the higher the better.
Wear a hat or cap. A large brim floppy hat provides the best protection. At least a ball cap provides some face and eye shade. Visor caps are better than nothing but do little to protect the scalp from burning. Light color hats are cooler than a dark hat, but many fishermen prefer the underside of the cap bill to be black to reduce bounce back glare from bright boat decks or water reflections.
While helping with underwater visibility, polarized sunglasses also reduce eye fatigue and eye strain. Wearing good quality polarized glasses protect the eyes even on hazy or cloudy days. Be aware that while some glass lens sunglasses are valued somewhat for their exceptional clarity if you are fishing, a good polycarbonate lens may provide better eye protection from a flying bullet weight or other missile projectile. Most WileyX sunglasses for example meet the American National Standards Institute requirement (ANSI Z87.1) for such disasters.
Face masks or scarfs with a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) will give your face, ears and neck the protection it needs in a lightweight breathable form that’s comforting to wear. An occasional dip in the water with these adds a cooling factor also.
Speaking of UPF, lightweight long sleeve fishing shirts also help keep the body and arms cooler in most situations than a short sleeve shirt will and is much better protection.
Hands will benefit with lightweight breathable full or half finger gloves with a high UPF rating also.
All-in-all it takes a combination of these items to sustain a long day on the water. Keep in mind that a sunburn is one thing, but a heat stroke can be a serious life-threatening problem. Always drink plenty of fluids, know the warning signs of heat stroke and use common sense when boating or fishing on long hot days.
Be sure to check back each Tuesday for new tips from our expert staff and pro staff around the country.