THE SUN AND THE WATER
Spring has officially sprung and those of us in the cooler climes are anxious to get on the water. While it’s been a
mostly mild winter, nothing beats what Nat King Cole called, “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.” However, we
need to be aware of the fact that while summer certainly will feel great again, the heat of the sun that we yearn for
can have an unwanted impact on us.
A sunny and warm weekend brings out more boat traffic. If you’ve taken United States Power Squadrons® (USPS)
or United States Coast Guard Auxiliary classes, you may think that you’re a pretty safe boater. But, what about the
other guy – does he know the “Rules of the Road?”
As the day goes on, even white boating “defensively,” we may not be as sharp: tired and maybe dehydrated. The
crew may not be much help, because they too may not be any more observant than are you.
So what can we do about it? We’re not going to avoid going out on the water so here are a few simple things to
• If you have a Bimini on the boat, put it up over your crew and yourself. Run the boat from under the shade it
gives you. You will be cooler and the shade will make it easier to see your surroundings. Tanning will still occur,
because UV rays will reflect off the water and your boat’s surface.
• If you don’t have a Bimini, wear a hat. The brim will shade your eyes and you’ll actually feel cooler.
• Wear good polarizing sunglasses. These will block much of the sun’s UV rays and you’ll see much better.
When we are outside, the sun’s long-term effects on the eyes can cause problems.
• Drink, drink, drink –not beer or other alcohol, which actually accelerate dehydration. Water is best, and juices
and other fluids that are good. On a hot day in the sun, if you and your crew aren’t perspiring or don’t use the
head, chances are you’re dehydrating. In the extreme, this can cause heat stroke. At minimum, you’ll feel more tired.
• If you’re feeling tired, anchor up or pull in someplace until the sun goes down some more. The rest will also
help refresh you.
Remember, there’s no substitute for common sense. When you’re on the water in an unstructured environment,
you need to be sharp. Reinforce your boating skills by taking a boating course. Check for your local Power
Squadron’s education schedule or contact it through our national website, www.USPS.org.
As members of the United States Power Squadrons remind us:
Boating is fun . . . We’ll show you how.