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Nothing can ruin a day of boating more than too much exposure to the sun. Continuous exposure can cause sunburn, dehydration and heat exhaustion. You should take preventive measures to protect against the effects of the sun. Extreme heat can cause fatigue and affect your ability to operate your boat safely.

The worst thing you can do is lie down in the sun for hours without moving. For a safe tan, limit sunbathing to 20 minutes a day for three to five days. The alternative is a week or more of recovery…and irritating lobster jokes.

    • Prevention: Slosh on the sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher, and limit your time in the sun. Wear protective clothing and a hat.
    • Symptoms: Red, inflamed skin that’s sensitive to heat and touch.
    • Treatment: Take a cool bath, then apply sunburn cream or aloe-vera gel.
    • Get Help: If the burn blisters, or if the victim suffers delirium or unconsciousness.

Anyone can tell you the best way to avoid dehydration: Drink lots of water. Just don’t wait till you’re thirsty to do it. By the time you feel it, you’re already dehydrated. Keep the water flowing continually. Limit beverages with diuretics, like caffeine and alcohol (alcohol and boats don’t mix), or drink extra water to compensate.

    • Prevention: Down at least a glass of water for every hour spent outdoors.
    • Symptoms: Like a hangover — bad headache, dry mouth and lips, low urine output.
    • Treatment: Move out of the heat, lie down and sip cool water.
    • Get Help: If the sufferer loses consciousness, vomits repeatedly or shows signs of shock (clammy skin, weak pulse, shallow breathing).

Feel overheated? Find someplace cool to rest. But be aware that heat exhaustion can happen fast. Your body accumulates so much heat so rapidly that you can’t get rid of it. Wearing a hat and light clothing can help. The sun doesn’t have to be hitting you for heat exhaustion to occur; very hot and humid conditions are also risky.

    • Prevention: Slow down outdoor activities; dress in cool clothes; take breaks indoors.
    • Symptoms: Elevated body temperature, headache, dizziness and pale and damp skin.
    • Treatment: Hop in the shower or wet down and fan yourself. Sip cool water.
    • Get Help: If the person can’t keep fluids down, is delirious or has a temperature above 101 degrees.

United Marine Underwriters is more than just boat insurance. Browse our Boats For Sale at BoatBrowser or our Lake Resource Guide at LakeBrowser or share your fishing stories and photos at True Fish Tales – the ones that did not get away.

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