Summer Fun

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Essentials to have when on (or in) the water

Water recreation is a popular pastime. When the weather warms, people often take to coastal areas to enjoy some fun in the sun and surf. What to wear for a day on the water depends on the type of activity one is partaking in, but there are some essentials you do not want to forget to bring along.

* Sturdy shoes: Whether you will be standing on the deck of a sailboat or baiting a hook alongside a river, footwear should be sturdy. Water makes for slippery conditions, and shoes that provide traction blend form and function. Although flip-flop sandals have become the go-to footwear, these shoes do not provide the arch support or traction necessary in wet conditions. A water shoe that has a sturdy sole as well as a breathable upper material is a better bet.

* Sun protection: The Food and Drug Administration advises that surfaces such as snow, sand, grass, or water can reflect much of the UV radiation that reaches them. A day on the water or nearby reflective surfaces necessitates wearing sun protection products, such as broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses rated for 100 percent UV protection are good ideas. UV rays are most intense at noon, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. It's also important to note the higher the elevation, the greater the UV exposure concentration because there is less atmosphere to absorb the UV rays.

* Layers: The weather can be unpredictable, and the temperature inland may differ from the temperature at the shore by several degrees. When boating or visiting the coast, wear layered clothing so you can shed layers as needed to remain comfortable.

* Change of clothing: Wet clothing can become uncomfortable to wear, and it may become dangerous if the temperature drops. Wet clothing can extract heat from the body much faster than dry clothing, potentially causing hypothermia, or a drop in body temperature. Couple wet clothing with windy conditions, and hypothermia can quickly set in. Always bring along a change of clothing and store it in a waterproof bag or container. This should include extra socks and shoes.

* Life jacket: The Centers for Disease Control and Preventionsays drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States. Whenever you are on or near the water, wearing a life jacket is a safe idea and one that can potentially save your life. A life jacket should be made available for everyone on a vessel.

Dress the part when spending a day on the water. Having the right equipment can reduce your risk for injury.