Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius EU 728x90

There's no such thing as a 'good tan'

by Robert Osborn 7 Apr 05:46 UTC
Cruisers are more exposed to damaging sunlight than most. © Robert Osborn

Cruisers are more exposed to damaging sunlight than most. Here are some insights in how to protect yourself against exposure to UVA/UVB.

Nearly everyone knows that excessive sun, or at least extra ultraviolet (UV) radiation, is not good for you. But what works best to protect against exposure on a boat?

When his wife, Brenda, was diagnosed with melanoma (which thankfully, nearly three years on she remains clear from), PO for Essex, CT, Robert Osborn purchased a testing instrument from General Instruments that would accurately measure both UVA and UVB light waves, the parts of the light spectrum that have been identified as being the most damaging to skin. He set about testing how much UV he and Brenda would be exposed to on their boat s/v Pandora, and these are the results of his tests:

Control: As a control I took measurements directly into the noon sun on a cloudless sky. The reading, and the highest that will register on the instrument, was 10,000 units. Deep shade, away from the water, registered between 500 and 600 units, about 5 per cent.

Sunscreen: I put a very light smear of SPF 15 sunscreen on the plastic wrap and took another reading, again in full sun; UV reading was reduced to about 2,000 units. With a thicker spread of SPF 15, the readings fell to half of that. SPF 60 sunscreen yielded a reading of 600 units, which is about the same as readings taken in deep shade.

Reflected light (off the sea): Perhaps the most interesting readings came from pointing the unit toward the sun at 45 degrees off the water, simulating "reflected light." This delivered a reading of 2,000, only 20 per cent of full, direct sunlight. That was much less than I had expected. Also, in the middle of the cockpit, where the light was still very bright but not directly from the sun, the measurements were equivalent to deep shade.

Vinyl: I also took measurements through the clear plastic of the vinyl dodger, both new and old material, and the measurement was, again, zero. Even old and weathered vinyl cut out 100 per cent of the UV rays.

Glass: Our hard dodger has large pieces of tempered glass and I was surprised to find that it only blocked 10 per cent of the UV rays.

Clothing: An old white T-shirt, even when wet, blocked about 95 percent of UV, while a dry shirt let through somewhat more. I was particularly surprised by that given all the hype about UV protective clothing. My test suggests that just about any clothing that covers you works well, even if it doesn't have a "UV rating".

It is important for everyone who spends a lot of time in the sun to understand what to look for before a pre-cancerous spot becomes cancer and spreads because the earlier it's discovered, the better the survival rate. Unchecked, melanoma is often fatal, in part because even an advanced case often doesn't look like much, just a mole with irregular borders. The American Cancer Society has some useful tips.

For more:

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

Related Articles

Blind sailor crosses the Pacific Ocean
The happiest person on earth Mitsuhiro Iwamoto, with the assistance of OCC member, Doug Smith, arrived in Japan on the 20th April after 55 days at sea. Posted today at 6:45 am
First Regatta "Challenge of Cabo Horn", March 2019
Exploration of the fjords, glaciers, pinguineras and castoreiras Last February, I embarked in sail vessel 'Guga Buy' of Eduardo Zanella, which was in Ushuaia, for some exploration of the fjords, glaciers, pinguineras, castoreiras, among others, to acquire background with navigation in high latitudes. Posted on 16 Apr
Sea Mercy calling on yachts
Sail with a greater purpose If you are heading into the Pacific, please consider connecting with Sea Mercy to provide much needed assistance to remote communities. Posted on 15 Apr
The OCC Annual Awards Dinner
Ninety members were booked in for the dinner at Plas Menai Ninety members were booked in for the dinner at Plas Menai, arriving from all directions, including as far away as Australia and British Columbia. Posted on 14 Apr
In praise of the Suzie Too OCC Rally organizers
Great week anchored off Guanaja Sailing the Western Caribbean with what were a group of complete strangers has been very eye opening. Posted on 7 Apr
Roving Rear Commodore Report - Western Caribbean
The Suzie Too OCC Rally is making waves throughout the less travelled Caribbean... The Rally finally started with 64 boats and crew arriving in Curaçao in the Dutch West Indies at the beginning of November for the start of the second Suzie Too OCC Rally. Posted on 5 Apr
Roving Rear Commodore Report - Baltic
Sailing in the Baltic is still very quiet at the moment Update from January report: the publishers of the Hamnguiden (or Havneguiden) series of pilots have issued a new edition ("3rd Utgåva") of Hamnguiden 8, Arholma - Landsort (the Stockholm archipelago). Posted on 5 Apr
Roving Rear Commodore Report - The Mediterranean
First report as a newly posted RoRC for the Mediterranean I am humbled and honoured to have been considered & elected RoRC, thanks to the committee and all concerned for their support. Posted on 4 Apr
Registration open for 2020 Viking Explorers Rally
For the second year, rally will land in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Mike Westin and Oliver Solanas Heinrichs wrote the 'Cruising Guide to the Canary Islands' together and now arrange the Viking Explorers friendly rally across the Atlantic. Posted on 17 Mar
2019 Periplus to Northwest Passage
The new edition guide under the new name Victor Wejer adds important up-to-date information about additional anchorages and recent conditions in the North West Passage in his Yacht Routing Guide for 2018. Posted on 17 Mar
GJW Direct - Yacht 2019 - FooterMarine Resources BOTTOMClick&Boat 2019 Footer