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Sun Protection When Kayak Fishing

At the risk of sounding like a nag, it’s that time of year to review a vital, common-sense rule for getting out on the water. Namely: SUN PROTECTION. This can’t be overstated. Spending hours out on the waves kayak fishing may be healing for our souls; but without proper care, it can be detrimental to our skin.

But don’t let a little bit of prevention keep you from a pound of cure. There are so many benefits to getting out and enjoying nature. Vitamin D, exercise, stress relief are all advantages to be found out on your kayak. To make sure you don’t regret any of that time out and about, make sure to make sun protection a priority.

Make Sun Protection a Priority While Kayak Fishing or Kayaking

 Cover UP

 One of the best ways to protect yourself is to simply keep it covered!

  • Head...

Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head, ears, and eyes. You can make your own shade with a hat that has a large brim. If you choose a cap, you will find your ears and neck are too exposed. In that case (or even in conjunction with a wide-brimmed hat), you can accessorize with a neck gaiter. This is an excellent way to cover your neck, ear, and even face. If you are sensitive to chemicals or hate the feel of sunscreen, this can be a good option. Some gaiters include a hood that you could pull up for sun protection and not need a hat. That is a great option on windy days or if you find a hat gets in the way of your activity.  

  • Shoulders, knees...

While our summer wardrobe might consist of tanks and shorts, kayak fishermen need to clothe themselves with more than that. One of the best ways to combat the sun's rays is to stay covered. Even though it is hot outside, choose long-sleeves and pants, especially if you will be spending lots of hours outside. Light-weight, loose fitting clothing can still be comfortable. While dark clothing blocks more sun, it also absorbs more heat. Try to find light color clothing with special sun-protective materials. You can invest in some UV blocking duds to make your day under the sun safer. Add a pair of SPF fishing gloves to really up your sun protection game.

  • And toes...

Forgetting your feet might be your biggest regret when it comes to sun exposure. If they have spent the bulk of their lives covered by socks and shoes, then hours laying out in the sun can be damaging. Many kayakers tend to go barefoot, but you can avoid some pain by investing in a good pair of water shoes.

  • And eyes...

Guess what? Your eyes can burn from the sun, just like your skin. Protect your peepers with a good pair of sunglasses. Make sure your lenses are UV protectant and polarized, especially if you are on the water.

 Lotion UP

If you can’t cover up, all exposed skin should be lotioned up with protective sunscreen!

  • Apply

Every time you are going to spend time in the great outdoors, break out the sunscreen. Even on a cloudy day, it is important to slather on a layer for SPF 30 or higher. And don’t forget a lip balm that has SPF as well. These little things can go a long way to enhancing your time outdoors.

  • Apply enough

Almost as bad as not applying sunscreen is not applying enough. While not many people love rubbing in loads of lotion, it is important to use a sufficient amount to get the benefit. Experts recommend 1 oz of sunscreen (enough to fill a shot glass) applied 15-30 minutes before sun exposure. And if you are resisting water shoes and going barefoot, do not forget to apply liberally to those tootsies.

  • Reapply frequently

Sunscreen is not a one-and-done proposition. Make sure that you reapply frequently and abundantly throughout the day. At a minimum, you should repeat your application every two hours. However, if you are swimming/getting wet or sweating, you should apply even sooner.  

 Break it UP

  • Take a siesta

It isn’t a bad practice to take a break if you are planning a full day of kayak fishing.  Between the hours of 11-2, it might be a good chance to get lunch, stretch your legs, or take a nap in the shade. Those hot weather cultures, like the Italian and Spanish, know a thing or two about beating the heat. During those sun scorching hours, take a siesta or riposo. Close your eyes in the shade or rest a beat. The fish are probably drowsing in the heat too.


Keep safe while you kayak fish and practice good sun protection. It will make your day! What are some tried-and-true methods you have for beating the heat and protecting your skin from the sun while kayak fishing?



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