Please select your home edition
GJW Direct - Yacht 2019 - Leaderboard

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

OCC Southern New England Cruise in Bristol Harbour
Thousands of people attended the 234th annual Independence Day Parade in Bristol Members enjoyed a BBQ at the lovely home of Jill Westcott and John Bell followed by a parade and fireworks in the historic town. Posted on 7 Jul
OCC Lifetime Cruising Award for Pardeys
Lin and Larry are legendary North American sailors Past Commodore Anne Hammick arranged for Lin to accept the award on behalf of herself and Larry Pardey while on a visit to the UK. Posted on 5 Jul
Circumnavigating the Americas on Novara
Steve Brown set off from Camden, Maine and returned 5 years later Rambler Award-winning adventure sailor Steve Brown departed Camden in the summer of 2014, sailed around the Americas via the Northwest Passage and Antarctica, climbed a few mountains along the way, and returned to Camden 5 years later. Posted on 28 Jun
Announcing the OCC Challenge Grant
A Challenge Grant to encourage challenging oceangoing adventures The OCC has established a Challenge Grant to encourage ambitious expeditions for environmental conservation or challenging oceangoing adventures. Posted on 22 Jun
OCC Regional Rear Commodores' report for GB
A busy season so far with visits from several members Bill and Laurie Balme did a great job of organising this fun event which was the first 'on the water' joint event with the RWYC since they offered us a reciprocity arrangement. Posted on 14 Jun
OCC report from NE USA
A number of exciting events scheduled for this sailing season Although it might say we have reached spring according to the calendar, the northern part of our region is still caught in winter's grip while the southern area is seeing temperatures in the 60s. Posted on 13 Jun
NOAA released for 2019 hurricane season
2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially gets under way today As the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially gets under way June 1, NOAA forecasters say that El Nino and a warmer-than-average Atlantic will shape this season's storm frequency and intensity. Posted on 1 Jun
The Western Caribbean Cookbook
What do you get when you mix a rally of Ocean Cruising Club members? What do you get when you mix a rally of Ocean Cruising Club members, their boats, and the waters of the Western Caribbean? Well, a cookbook of course! Posted on 28 May
Scottish Open House Weekend 2019
Boats from all directions converged with the Celtic Rally Boats from all directions, as well as members arriving by land, converged with the Celtic Rally at Commodore Simon & Sally Currin's home in Traighuain. Posted on 22 May
OCC RoRC report - West Coast of North America
Winter pause Our 2018 cruising season ended with the advent of November and arrival in Blaine. People have asked us "Why Blaine?" After our long haul across the North Pacific a goal was to park Spruce, travel east and visit family and friends in the UK. Posted on 29 Apr
Grapefruit Graphics 2019 - FooterGJW Direct - Yacht 2019 - FooterMarine Resources 2019 - Footer