There’s no denying it: Summertime is the perfect time to get out on the water and fish to your heart’s content. Unfortunately, that’s also the season when you’re most likely to be exposed to ultraviolet rays, which can lead to dangerous sunburn and long-term skin damage. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from the sun during your outdoor adventures – here are some of our best tips.

Pick the Right Location

When picking a location for your trip, pick somewhere with lots of shade. When you’re next in Louisiana, make sure to head to Lake Charles and try out our wonderful state parks—they’re excellent for fishing, swimming, hiking, and just about anything else you want. One great park is Bayou Teche State Park; it has everything you need to keep cool while having fun outdoors. There are tons of trees and other plants that provide ample shade, as well as many picnic tables scattered throughout the park so that you can rest comfortably after a long day of fishing or biking around Lake Arthur. Plus, there are some really cool cabins at Bayou Teche if you want to get away from it all but still be close enough to enjoy what Lake Charles has to offer!

Pick The Right Time

Whether you’re fishing in Louisiana or Lake Charles, it’s important to take sun protection seriously. To protect yourself and your skin, you need a daily routine that works for you and includes both physical and chemical measures. A good rule of thumb is: don’t fish when it’s sunny—or at least, wear sunscreen. Here are a few ways to protect yourself while enjoying your time on the water.

Use Sunscreen

While it might seem elementary, applying sunscreen before heading outdoors is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from UV rays. Using a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and both UVA and UVB protection will help your skin ward off cancer-causing rays. Although sunscreen should be part of your everyday beauty routine year-round, it’s especially important in Louisiana. In fact, three cities in Louisiana—New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette—rank among America’s top 10 cities for high rates of melanoma cases. One reason could be our exposure to unprotected sunlight while boating and fishing along our scenic Gulf Coast waters. Remember: A little bit of sun goes a long way!

Wear Sunglasses

When you’re out in the bright sun, wear sunglasses. While it may be hard to read a map with them on, that’s a good thing—your eyes need protection from UV light. Sunglasses will also protect your eyes if you’re hit by sand or dust kicked up during your excursion. Your eyes could suffer severe damage without protection, and they’re also one of your body’s most delicate organs.

Wear Wide-Brimmed Hats

When out in direct sunlight, protect your face and ears. The best way to do that is with a wide-brimmed hat—it’s not just a style choice! Make sure it’s lightweight and light-colored, so you can wear it for long periods of time without feeling hot or sweaty. A good fishing hat will have UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) built into it, which protects against harmful rays. Look for fabric that has at least 30 SPF protection; go higher if you plan on being outside for extended periods of time.

Wear UV Protective Clothing or Swimsuits

When you’re going boating or swimming in places where there are no lifeguards, it’s a good idea to wear UV-protective clothing that covers your entire body. Swimsuits can also provide some protection, but it’s not enough when you need higher coverage areas like your head and shoulders. If you want to be really safe, you can always consider wearing a UV-rated motorcycle helmet. It might look funny, but it will protect your face and neck better than anything else.

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