Ways to Stay Cool While Boating
We know you love the sun, but don’t underestimate the importance of staying cool while you’re out boating.
The effects of heat and prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays are not to be taken lightly. When your body overheats, expect to encounter fatigue, loss of concentration, dizziness and nausea, among other things. Eventually heatstroke will occur if you don’t cool down, which is a potentially fatal medical emergency.
It’s not always easy to notice your body overheating on a boat. A breeze alone could give you a false sense of feeling cooler than you actually are. On that note, here are some tips to stay cool while boating in hot weather.
Stay in the Shade
The best way to keep cool is to find shelter under shade, obviously out of direct sunlight.
Easier said than done to find adequate shade when you’re on something like a bowrider boat, but that’s what Bimini tops are for. If you plan on spending more than an hour or two on your boat (of course you do), a Bimini top is an essential boat accessory. Bimini tops are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and add resale value to your boat, plus they look cool!
Hydration is obviously cooler than dehydration, yet people tend to forget to pack hydration supplies in favor of things like alcohol and salty snacks like chips (more on this later).
Dehydration causes dizziness and loss of concentration, both of which are extremely dangerous if you’re piloting a boat. The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink plenty of water. Not juice or sodas, which are loaded with sugars that prevent the body from absorbing water, or energy drinks loaded with caffeine that act as a diuretic. Not to be party poopers here, but alcohol is also a diuretic and definitely not meant for hydrating! When you’re out on your boat, drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and cool.
Wear Cool Attire
It may seem counterintuitive, but wearing a long-sleeve shirt and pants might keep you cooler than just wearing swimming shorts or a bikini.
As long as the material you’re wearing is loose-fitting, breathable and lightweight, clothing that is not swimwear allows air to circulate across your body, wicks away sweat and shades the skin from direct sunlight.
Dampen the Deck
Pouring cool water onto a hot deck absorbs much of the surface heat, keeping the feet of both you and your passengers and the deck itself cooler.
Tying a bucket to a rope and hoisting water up onto the deck is one way to do it, but a more elegant solution is to use a washdown pump to hose water onto the deck. Adding a washdown pump to your boat not only helps cool down a deck, but also comes in handy when you want to clean the salt or dirt off your boat once you’re back at the dock.
Eat Healthy Snacks
Back to the snacks! You need to replace the sodium and potassium your body loses when you sweat, and that means you need to eat.
However, having a heavy meal is bad because the body heats up when it has to digest large quantities of food. Instead, graze on healthy snacks so you don’t overload your digestive system. Crisp salads, cold meats or seafood, and fresh fruit are all ideal boating snacks. Avoid carb-laden foods such as bread and potato chips.
Swimming and Watersports
Nothing cools your entire body off better than getting off the boat and taking a dip in the water.
A relaxing swim should bring your body temperature down a few degrees. If you prefer something a little more exciting, watersports such as waterskiing, wakeboarding or tubing will cool your body down. After all, what good is boating if you're not having fun, right?