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“Sun damage.”

It’s not that long ago that the term in boating vernacular generally applied to the bleaching of color from canvas tops, fabric seat covers and aging fiberglass hulls.

These days it has an altogether different meaning for boaters, beach-goers, and anyone who relishes an outdoors lifestyle that centers on fun in the sun. Strongly associated with skin cancer, too much ultra violet light from sun exposure can cause more than a burn, it can ultimately be life threatening.

You’ve no doubt heard the warnings by now to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays, use an SPF with a rating of 50 or higher, schedule a dermatologist check-up at least yearly, and cover-up your skin as much as is reasonably possible if you’ll be outdoors for a good part of the day. It’s all good advice, especially that part about covering up since that’s ultimately the safest and most reliable way of avoiding a serious sun burn.

“From head to toe, it’s a good idea to heed that warning,” cautions Ron Cesark, president of Montauk Tackle, Inc., a company intent on designing and producing American-made sun-protective apparel that is comfortable, functional and stylish. “If you don’t wear some kind of garment protection you are just looking for sun-related health issues to surface down the line.”

Indeed, sun-related concerns have grown to the point in recent years that many who work and play on the water are taking them very seriously.Capt. Paul Dixon, a professional charter skipper who guides anglers out of both Montauk, NY and the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, FL, is just one of many who has taken the warnings to heart.

“I’m always protected one way or another,” explains Dixon. “I use sunscreen – even when it’s cloudy out – and I think it’s important to have a sun-protection routine if you’ll be on the water frequently. For example, I stand in front of a mirror before I head out and apply a 50-SPF water-proof sport sunblock to my face and other exposed skin. I dab it on like make-up. I don’t put any on my forehead or under my sunglasses because I don’t want to get it in my eyes if I perspire. It’s tough to drive your vessel safely with burning eyes.”

Dixon also wears a buff when driving the boat toward a strong sun, a hat at all times, polarized sun glasses, plus sun-protective clothing noting Poncho Outdoors and Montauk Tackle Company, Inc., as two brands with which he’s been particularly satisfied. Skin damage for a charter skipper, he notes, is considered by some to be an occupational hazard – but it doesn’t have to be. The tools are available to keep you safe and a yearly check-up with your doctor or dermatologist adds an extra layer of necessary protection.

So, what do you need to look for when picking out your sun protection wardrobe? Ron Cesark, president of Montauk Tackle Company, Inc., brings some industry insight to the table.

“You really want something light and breathable that can resist staining and has the ability to wick away moisture and perspiration,” explains Cesark. “Your fabric should be rated at 50-SPF or greater, and you’ll do best to spend a little more on high quality items that will last several seasons rather than cheaper garments that might only last the season.”

Cesark’s advice matches up well with Montauk Tackle’s product line-up. All of their garments are made in the USA and, he claims, they are environmentally friendly as well. “Our fabrics are made from recycled, sustainable poly-based yarns that are infused with 50+ SPF protection,” he states proudly. “We actually weave the SPF into the yarn base as opposed to spraying it on topically. That means it never washes out so it keeps working for the life of the garment. The fabrics in our sun protection line are also moisture wicking and incorporate both soil-releasing and antimicrobial technologies. They are soft, breathable, comfortable, easyy to clean and designed to last for several years.”

As time goes on, it’s likely that those who enjoy the boating lifestyle will become increasingly dependent on sun protective clothing to help limit their exposure to harsh ultraviolet rays. With sun screens currently undergoing scrutiny for containing chemicals that may leach into the bloodstream or damage coral reefs as they wash off our bodies and out to sea, it’s only logical that garment barriers will take on a leading role. While it still makes sense to rub on some sunblock whenever you’ll be exposed to the sun, the more protective clothing you can put to use the better the long term prospects for both your health and the environment.

Sea Tow Members enjoy 20% off Montauk’s entire collection of men’s and women’s sportswear.

Use code: SEATOW20 when checking out at

Sea Tow Team

Sea Tow has been the premier leader in on-water boating assistance since 1983. We want to share news, press, tips and all things boating.

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