Whether you’re boating on the lake, river, ocean, or other areas in North Carolina, the summer’s sun can be relentless. It is difficult to escape the power of the sun’s rays. The sun can cause your body to overheat and your skin to become burned in a short period of time. You can stay safe while spending a day on the water by reducing sun exposure by following these five steps. 

Why is it Important to Reduce Sun Exposure When Boating In North Carolina

The sun is an essential part of survival for life on earth, but it can also damage the human body. Prolonged exposure can result in rapid dehydration, which can land a boater in the hospital if the signs are not recognized early enough. 

Skin damage, both short-term and long-term, is another added danger. Short-term skin damage can be a severe sunburn that causes the skin to blister and peel. Long-term sun damage from repeated exposure can eventually lead to the formation of skin cancer. 

Five Tips To Reduce Sun Exposure on a Boat

By following these five steps, you will better protect your body from the sun to keep you on the water and not have to return earlier than planned.

Overhead Shade

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the sun’s intensity beating down on your body is to utilize shade. A bimini top is ideal because it covers the boat from side to side and nearly from front to back. However, far too many boaters leave in the down and stowed position rather than up above your head where it should be. 

The second means of overhead shade is with a T-Top which is typically found on center console boats. The T-Top of a craft is not nearly as effective as a bimini top because it provides shade in the size of a postage stamp when compared. However, some shade is better than no shade. 

Wide Brim Hat

A wide brim hat is similar to that of an overhead boat covering. To reduce the sun’s exposer on the top of your head, face, neck, and shoulders, utilize a hat that the brim extends all the way around. A wide brim hat will keep your body cooler by deflecting direct rays and help to reduce the risk of sunburn.

Long Pants and Shirts

Yes, it may sound counterintuitive, but it is not. Many would think it will cause your body to overheat because so much of your skin is covered. The key is selecting the correct type of fabrics. Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants that allow for your body to breathe and that have SPF protection. Your body will remain cooler because the sun’s intensity will not be absorbed into your skin but rather again being deflected. 


While sunscreen does not affect keeping your body cooler, it provides both short-term and long-term safety measures by protecting your skin from harmful rays. The combination of the sun overhead and the rays reflecting from the water beneath you can quickly lead to a sunburn. Sunscreen must be applied before you head and for the day and throughout the day to help avoid a severe burn. 

The long-term effects are more crucial. Repeated exposure can cause skin cancer; therefore, if you are an avid boater, apply sunscreen every time. 

Face Coverings

UV facemasks are becoming a popular option for boaters. The face-covering is similar to that of a turtle neck but is not connected to a shirt but instead slips over your head and rests on your neck. A UV facemask can be pulled up above your nose to protect the skin from your nose down to your neck when properly worn. 

Will You Utilize These Five Sun Protection Tips When Boating in North Carolina

The solutions to reducing sun exposure for both you and your guests are simple. When someone new to boating is heading out with you on the water, send them a friendly reminder to properly prepare for a day in the sun.  A bad first experience can result in someone never wanting to go back and enjoy all of the benefits associated with boating.