Between the long work days, the water’s reflection and all those days off we spend exploring new towns or chilling on the beach, yachting is hard on our bodies. I’m sure we’ve all had those moments when we’ve been working outside in the sun and everything is fine, until it hits you. And, if you don’t find air-conditioning within the next minute, you feel like you might spontaneously combust into flames. But maybe before it gets to that stage, we should take a few steps to ensure our bodies are still going to function for things like work and play after a day spent in the sun.
Here are a few things to consider while working on yachts this summer to prevent skin damage for later on in life.
Prevention is Key
When it comes to sun damage, the first line of defense is prevention. This is nothing new, as we have all been hearing the words “sunscreen” since we were kids. However, somewhere between building sand castles and wave jumping like we did as kids, we forgot how to regularly apply it consistently. Thanks Mom!
As adults, skin protection is not something to take lightly. Not only do you want to prevent an irritating, itchy sunburn underneath your uniform, you want to think long term such as lowering your risk of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
By taking preventative measures such as wearing sunscreen, a brimmed hat, sunglasses (with UV protection) and limiting your time spend in the sun overall (the hours of 10am – 3pm are when your skin is at the highest risk) you can ensure your health is kept for years to come, while still gaining all the benefits that sun can give you in moderation.
Things to Watch For
Staying out of the sun when it comes to yachting is as hard as watching paint dry, we realize this. However, if you are smart about it, and keep an eye out on your body for changes, you can help discover when you need to take more serious actions, such as take a break, increase your prevention measures, or worst case scenario, see a doctor. Overtime the ultraviolet light (UV) from the sun can damage fibers in the skin called elastin. When the fibers start to break down after repeated, unprotected sun exposure you will notice skin will start to sag, lose its elasticity. When this happens, the skin also becomes more apt to bruises and tearing. This is one thing to keep an eye out for. More sudden changes to the skin you could notice, and should most definitely keep an eye on are if you develop freckles and/or moles after repeated sun exposure or sunburns. Wrinkles or showing of fine lines or any discoloration to the skin are other signs to look for.
Who is at Risk? Working On A Yacht?
While working in the yachting industry, it is hard to fully eliminate anyone to who “wouldn’t be at risk” because we are typically known to travel, beach laze or patio hop on our days off. As well as the added fact that we live on the water, where reflection and UV can access us twice as bad. However, those who work outside on a daily basis such as the deckhands, first mates, bosons, captains etc. have added risk due to the nature of their job. Positions that spend a majority of time inside, such as the stewardesses, chefs and engineers do not have as high a risk while working in the yachts interior. Yachting positions aside, the risks for people who have fair or freckled skin are higher, as they have a tendency to burn easier. People with light eyes and blond or red hair are also at higher risk, when compared to those who have darker hair and darker skin pigments. Naturally, those who have a family history of personal history of skin cancer should also take added precautions.