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Summer boating trips are safer and more enjoyable when you are properly prepared for the summer heat. Keep your cool while boating on the warmest days of the year by following these tips.

1. Stay hydrated. Bring along plenty of water, but be sure to have a few electrolyte-enhanced sport drinks on hand as well. Sport drinks will help to replenish salts, sugars, and essential minerals that are lost during excessive perspiration.

2. Boat early. Do your best to get out early and take a break from boating during the warmest hours of the day (between 10 AM and 2 PM). Watch the sunrise, enjoy a few hours of fishing, and then take a mid-day break.

3. Keep your head covered. Wear a hat with a wide brim that will protect your face, ears, and neck from the sun’s rays. Look for features like moisture-wicking material and an adjustable chin strap (to help your hat stay put when the wind picks up).

4. Wear lightweight clothing with built-in sun protection. Look for shirts with venting, light colors that won’t absorb as much as heat, as well as moisture-wicking and quick-drying features.

5. Protect your hands. If you are tying lines and releasing fish, sunscreen can wash off quickly, so reapply often. Or, consider purchasing sun gloves that are specifically designed to protect your hands from UV rays, but that still allow you to do all things boating and fishing-related.

6. Invest in extra shade. If your boat doesn’t have a bimini or canvas soft top, consider buying something to help protect you from the sun on the hottest of summer days. You can find umbrella shades that lock into fishing rod holders, bow cover shades, and cockpit shades. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s suggested use and instructions because many of these types of shades are intended for use while anchored or at idle speed.

7. Know how to recognize signs of heat related illness. Immediately get medical attention if you or anyone on board has one or more of the following symptoms: weakness, mental confusion or loss of consciousness, muscle cramps, lightheadedness, flushed face, hot/dry skin, or pale/clammy skin.

Summer brings some of the best boating days of the year. Be properly prepared for warm weather trips, and be aware of how your passengers are handling the heat.

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