Who can forget the old saying “…a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work.” Even non-fishermen know the implied meaning of this statement. The allure of the open ocean and the thrill of a good fight with a Snapper or Grouper is an exciting prospect for fishermen of all levels.
What isn’t so exciting are some of the risks, namely exposure to high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. What many fishermen don’t consider is how UV risks are even greater out on the open water – both water and sand can reflect up to 80% of the sun’s rays according to Skin Cancer Foundation president Perry Robbins, MD.
This amounts to a double whammy since you are not only being exposed to the original UV rays, you’re also dealing with ones reflecting off the water. While it may take 30+ minutes for your skin to burn on land, that time can be cut in half when out on a fishing charter in the Atlantic or Gulf.
What starts out as an adventure on the open seas can quickly turn into a painful experience replete with sun blisters, damaged nerve endings and more.
And don’t think a cloudy day will protect you from these harmful UV rays – although cloud cover can reduce your exposure, it depends on the thickness of the clouds. Thinner clouds will not block out much, and broken clouds can in fact increase exposure according to some studies.
How can I protect my skin and eyes while out on a fishing charter expedition in Florida?
Fortunately, there are precautions you can take so you can enjoy a good fishing trip without damaging your skin and eyes.
Although sunscreen is effective, you have to reapply it every so often. When you’re reeling in fish, the last thing that comes to mind is reapplying your sunscreen.
That’s why good clothing, a wide-brim hat and sunglasses are your best option.
Not any piece of clothing will do though. A standard cotton t-shirt for example offers little protection, which is why it’s important you wear clothing with a higher Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. Clothing specially designed for sun protection also wicks sweat and water away from your body. T-shirts generally have a UPF rating of 9 while a really effective shirt will have a rating of 50 or higher.
Also, a good pair of high quality sunglasses will help protect your eyes from UV radiation. You can check the label to see if the glasses protect against UV-A and UV-B radiation, but you can also ensure efficient protection by wearing a pair of “wrap-around” style glasses since they will cover your entire eye socket and block rays from the side.
While the sun’s UV rays are more intense out on the open water and present additional risks to fishermen and charter captains, taking additional precaution can ensure you have a great time and prevent damage to your skin.
This message is brought to you by this Tampa Bay Fishing Charter company:
Tampa Flats and Bay Fishing Charters
Captain Steve Betz