Since we live on a boat and are surrounded by the sun every time we walk up the companionway stairs, making sure we have good sun protection gear is important. While we are not technically at sea all the time, we are definitely outside MOST of the time. The sun shines down from above and reflects off the water onto us while on the boat. When not on the boat, we are either outside swimming, exploring, or beaching. We try to take the precaution of staying indoors during the “worst” hours of the day, however this frequently just can’t happen. So I have been hunting down some of the best products to protect us while we are in the direct rays of the sun.
One lesson I have learned in the past nine month of living on a boat, is you only have one body, so you better take care of it. Not only does skin cancer run in my family, I also recently had another “wake up” call with an abnormal mole resulting in stitches on my toe. Going through this uncomfortable situation again is definitely something I want to avoid and has made me even more diligent in finding products that protect us during all daytime activities. From tents on the beach, sunscreen, and protective clothing, here are some of the best products that I have found and that we use on a consistent basis.
Thanks to a dear friend, we were pointed in the direction of Blue Lizard Sensitive sunscreen. After doing LOTS of reading about sunscreen and finding the best protection with the least amount of dangerous chemicals, Blue Lizard continuously is at the top of the list.
As testament from our crew, we have ONLY used Blue Lizard for the past nine months and not one of us has gotten burned. We purchased the gallon size container with a pump and keep it in our cockpit for easy assess. We just transfer the lotion into a handheld container when we go ashore.
When we head to the beach, we wanted a tent to take with us that was easy to carry, set up and store away when on the boat. The Neso Tent met all of those requirements. This tent is so lightweight (3.92lbs) and stores easily under our navigation station. It is simple to set up with just two poles and the shade fabric….no complicated instructions needed. It is high quality and high stretch fabric with sun protection of UPF 50. When the wind picks up, it stretches and then relaxes back into place without disturbing the setup. And an added bonus for us is its great performance as a shade cover for the boat when stretched over the boom while at anchor.
I admit that I really do not like lathering lots of sunscreen on my body, so when possible I will try to wear sun protective clothing. Coolibar has some really nice looking clothing for the whole family. We try to keep the girls in rashguards as much as possible. We love the colors and designs that Coolibar provides and they are lightweight, breathable, quick drying, and saltwater and chlorine resistant. Also they provide UPF protection of 50+ and the fabric does not wash or wear out easily which I have found with some other brands. I have especially loved their cover up because it is so comfortable and breathable, perfect for boat living. Plus, it is versatile and can also be used as a causal dress, not just a cover up!
Eclipse Sun Products is another company that provides some different options for sun protective clothing. Their shawl has been one of my favorites to wear on the beach and in the cockpit over a swimsuit. It is lightweight and flowing, a nice change up from rashguards that fit tighter, and it covers my shoulders and arms. Bryan has also enjoyed wearing their sun sleeves which not only protect his arms, but also his wrist and top of his hand, perfect when steering the boat. Both the sunsleeves and shawl are quick drying, durable and ultra light.
I have had the same pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses for 6 years now and they have provided excellent sun protection for my eyes and have held up against all types of abuse. They are actually at a point of needing some repairs and all I have to do is send them in to Costa and they fix them for a small processing fee! The girls will not keep sunglasses on, so we try to stick with hats for them. We particularly love our Sunday Afternoon Hats. Not only do they have a brim that goes all they way around their head, but they can get wet and dry easily. This company also has a really neat back story about the evolution of their travel blanket into sun hats.
I’m afraid that damage has already been done by the sun from my younger careless years, but at this point my hope is I can protect my girls from damaging rays and instill in them the importance of protecting their skin through example.