Any time you’re going to be exposed for hours to strong sunlight, like the offshore sun of deep sea fishing, you need to take steps to protect your skin against ultraviolet light and sunburn. Unlike the 60s and 70s when the best protection against ultraviolet light and sunburn was a tan, there are excellent choices today for both clothing and sunscreen.

Best Clothing for Offshore Sun

Ultraviolet blocking capability in clothing follows a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating system. The UPF ratings usually fall in a range from 15 to 50+. For example, a UPF rating of 20 means only 1/20 of the ultraviolet radiation in the sunlight that strikes the clothing will penetrate it. In other words, only 5% of the incident UV light gets to your skin. If you get clothing with a UPF rating of 50, that means only 1/50 of the ultraviolet radiation in the sunlight that strikes the clothing will penetrate it. Phrased differently, only 2% of the incident UV light gets to your skin. Additionally, UPF-rated fabrics protect against both UVA and UVB.

 The UPF rating of clothing is not simple to determine and depends on multiple factors, including type of fabric, weave of fabric (the tighter the better for UV protection), how heavy the material is (heavier is better), stretch (less is better), and UV absorbing dyes. Research the clothing you’re considering and invest in quality options.

Will lower UPF-rated clothing be sufficient protection from the sun, especially as the difference in protection is only a few percent lower than the highest rated clothing? Some would argue yes, but one should also consider cutting your risk of skin cancer to the absolute minimum, especially over years of exposure.

Sun Protection and Sunscreen

Sunscreen’s ultraviolet blocking capability follows an SPF (sun protection factor) system. However, sunscreen protection is only rated for UVB (the ultraviolet that causes sunburn), whereas UVA is thought to cause cancer, wrinkles, and premature aging of the skin. While certain sunscreens may offer some protection against UVA, the protection is not rated and is not part of the number for the sunscreen.

How does the numbering system work?

If you have an SPF15 rating, for example, that means the sunscreen will keep you from getting sunburned for 15 times as long as it would take without the sunscreen. Do you burn in 10 minutes without sunscreen? The sunscreen with an SPF15 rating will keep you from burning for 150 minutes (2 ½ hours). Choose a sunscreen that is at least SPF30 and, of course, one that is water resistant. Apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before outdoor sun exposure and use it on exposed areas (back, neck, legs, face, and ears). If your hair is thinning, use sunscreen on your scalp. Reapply it about every two hours or after sweating or swimming.

Protecting your skin against sunburn from fishing trip is important, so invest in the best options you can. Are you ready to start your fishing adventure? Reach out to Charleston Fishing Charters today for more information!