Ah, the dog days of summer: the melted ice cream cones, the packed beaches, the sunburns. Summer can be fun for people of any age. But, before you hit the beach or board your boat, our maritime lawyers have a few sunburn prevention tips and some makeshift safety tips that just might save your life.
First, let’s talk about sun protection. Of all the dangers you might face out at the beach or on a boat, one of the biggest dangers that threatens those who enjoy the outdoors is skin cancer. Luckily, skin cancer is preventable.
According to WebMD, the best possible safety measure you can take is to simply stay out of the sun during the sun’s greatest moments of intensity. In general, it’s a good idea to stay out of the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. UV radiation is the kind of light most likely to put you at risk of skin cancer. If you’re not sure whether you’re going outdoors at a time when the UV rays are intense, WebMD suggests you use the shadow rule. If your shadow is longer than you are tall, your UV exposure risk is low. If your shadow is shorter than you are tall, then your UV risk is higher.
Of course, if you choose to go out, you should still take precautions to protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Wear long sleeved clothing with sun protective fabric. Finally, wear sunscreen and remember to re-apply it frequently if you’ll be sweating or swimming.
Now that you know how to protect yourself from the sun, let’s take a moment to talk about how to stay safe if you find yourself in an emergency situation where you go overboard. Though our maritime attorneys always advise to always wear life jackets, if you do happen to find yourself in an emergency in which you do not have a life jacket, you can actually turn your pants into a flotation device – we kid you not.
First off, if you do fall into the water, try and stay as calm as possible and tread water. Next, take off your pants and drape them around your neck, fly down. The two legs of the pants should be floating over each of your shoulders. Tie the pant legs together using two simple overhand knots. Now, rotate the pants so that the waist is in front of you and the legs are now snug around your neck. Finally, cup your hand and push air up into the waist of the pants by slapping the surface of the water forcefully with your cupped hand. The legs around your neck should inflate—and presto—you now have a personal flotation device made out of your pants!
As innovative as a floatation device made of your very own pants sounds, there’s no substitution for a proper life jacket. If you are planning on heading out into open waters, be sure to always wear a life jacket and don’t forget to put on some sunscreen to avoid serious burns.