By Dr. Angela Sparks
Family Medicine specialist for Kaiser Permanente Washington
With Seafair starting today, Aug. 3 through Sunday, Aug. 5 in Seattle, safety comes first and foremost in the midst of having fun on the water.
Whether you’re out on a boat or watching from Genessee Park, it’s important to keep water and sun safety top of mind throughout the annual summer event.
To help fuel your weekend of fun, remember the three “S’s” of water safety — Sea, Sun & Signals:
Sea: Temperatures are expected to be cooler this weekend, mainly in the mid-70s. While you might not think that heat and sun are issues to consider, dehydration can easily occur out on a boat or on land. It’s important to have plenty of fresh, clean drinking water on hand to stay cool and hydrated all weekend long.
Sun: The best thing for your skin is sun avoidance — staying in the shade as much as possible. If your boat has shaded areas, try to spend some time under them. While this is often hard to accomplish during an outdoor event like Seafair, proper clothing cover can also act as a shading force to protect your skin, such as long-sleeved shirts and hats. And sunscreen is crucial! Make sure to apply UVA/UVB lotion with SPF 30 or greater every 2 hours. Remember: base tans don’t protect against skin-cancerous sun rays. Be sure to follow these tips for proper protection.
Signals: Seafair is one of the most crowded times on Lake Washington. Utilizing US Coast Guard-approved recreational water traffic signals are best to avoid dangerous water travel patterns, injuries or crashes. Additionally, even if you think you’re just hitting the water in a smaller boat to join in on the action, (canoe, kayak, paddle board), it’s important to make sure you have the proper safety equipment such as flotation devices and life vests as well as a way to signal if you need help, such as a whistle.
Seafair is one of Seattle’s most joyous summer celebrations. While great fun is to be had by all, practicing the three “S’s” of water safety can make for an enjoyable and safe Seafair weekend to remember. For more information on the event visit Seafair’s website.
Dr. Angela Sparks, MD is a and serves as the Medical Director for Clinical Knowledge Development & Support with Kaiser Permanente Washington’s Clinical Improvement and Prevention team.