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The Sailor’s Disease – How to Prevent Skin Cancer



How to Prevent Skin Cancer While Cruising on a Sailing Yacht

New York (USA), October 28, 2012

Sailors are at a great risk of skin cancer due to excessive exposure to sun’s rays. While cruising on a sailing yacht, sunlight filters into decks and you remain exposed to the harmful ultraviolet rays. The reflection is consistent during overcast weather and clear sunshine. More than eighty percent of the sun’s rays can penetrate through mist, light clouds, and fog. Hence, it is possible to get sunburn even on a cloudy day. Water reflects around eighty percent of the sun’s rays back on to the deck of your yacht and you remain extremely vulnerable to its harmful effects. Skin cancer for this reason is also addressed as ‘The Sailor’s Disease’.

Preventing Skin Cancer

You should remain adequately protected during the prime hours, between ten in the morning and four in the evening. The sun is the strongest during this time.

If skin cancer is hereditary, it cannot be avoided. Similarly, people with many moles on their skin, severe sunburns on face and other parts of skin, green or blue eyes, red or blond hair face a greater risk of developing skin cancer. Children and adolescents like spending many long hours in the sun. This could lead to skin cancer in later years. However, it is possible to prevent skin cancer by following simple precautionary steps:

1. Cover Exposure

While on a yacht, you cannot stay away from sunlight completely. Instead, cover your body and wear long sleeved shirts and full pants. It would be still better if you wear UV rated clothes. These have sun blocks and thereby protect you from the harsh UV rays of sun. Prefer wearing dark-colored clothes, clothes made of unbleached cotton or silk, and clothes with shiny finish, tighter knits, and polyester.

2. Sunscreens and Sun Blocks

Sunscreen and sun blocks offer protection from sun’s rays. However, they do not guarantee protection from skin cancer. Yet, while on the deck of your yacht, you should wear sunscreens or sun blocks. It is best to use proven and tested sunscreens like those containing zinc oxide, waterproof products with at least SPF 15, or those with UVA/UVB protection. Use a similar SPF-rated lip balm. If traveling on the yacht with your family, make sure you apply such balms and lotions on your children’s skin. Young ones are more susceptible to sunburns as their skin is very tender. Apply the lotion evenly all over the exposed skin parts fifteen to twenty minutes before going out on the deck. Specifically apply on the most sensitive areas like ears, nose, tops of feet, and shoulders.

3. Sun Hats

Small baseball caps cannot provide adequate protection from sun’s rays. Use sun hats with long and wide brims of at least four inches. Stylist hats with long drapes at the back and around the neck also provide sufficient protection.

4. Sunglasses

Your eyes can be affected due to excessive sun exposure. Skin cancer develops around eyes. Photokeratitis is sunburn of the eye. This not only causes permanent damage to cornea but also is also very painful. Tissue growths within eyes can cause cataract of the eye. Use UVA/UVB rated sunglasses on board your yacht, specifically when the sun is up in the sky.

5. Tents or Dodgers

Although avoiding direct sun’s rays is a precautionary technique, reflected sunlight can also cause harm. While on your anchored yacht or sailboat, put up small boom tents or dodgers to keep away sunlight.

Guide to Sailing and Ocean Cruising in a Medium Sized Yacht
The Complete Reference Guide to Sailing and Ocean Cruising in a Medium Sized Yacht


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