Skin cancer prevention: Local tour company educates its boat captains

Watermark focuses on preventing skin cancer at this month’s captains meeting Photo: Chelsea Hicks seafaringwoman, Flickr

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2013 – As the record-breaking heat wave subsides, Watermark, a local boat tour company, is focusing on educating their boat captains and the public at large about the dangers of skin cancer and how to reduce the risk of developing it. 

At the July captains’ meeting, Watermark featured a presentation doctors Krista Buckley, DO and Christina Ambro, MD from the Annapolis Dermatology Center.

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While boat captains are especially at risk for developing skin cancer because of their time spent on the water and in the sun, the information and advice is useful to everyone. 

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.    

“The skin is your largest organ,” said Dr. Buckley. “There is a cumulative effect of sun damage. When you get a tan, it’s your skin’s reaction to protect you from sun damage.” She went on to emphasize that there is no such thing as a healthy tan, as the skin is still damaged.

Dr. Abro suggested using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SFP to lower the risk of sun damage to skin.

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“Even when you’re under cover or in the wheelhouse behind glass, you are getting hit by UV rays,” said Dr. Ambro.

The doctors also recommended applying even water resistant sunscreen every one to two hours. 

“We tell people to use the A B C D E method of accessing potential problems with your skin,” Dr. Buckley continued. The letters stand for A=Asymmetry, B=Border, C=Color, D=Diameter, E=Evolving. “If there are changes in any of these traits, you should not ignore it but have it checked out by a dermatologist,” Dr. Buckley emphasized.

On the question of which were worse, UVA or UVB rays, Dr. Buckley responded, “both. It was previously thought that UVB rays caused more damage but recent studies show the deep penetration of UVA rays are equally damaging.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 61,646 people were diagnosed with skin cancer and 9,199 people died from it in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

The CDC recommends seeking shade, covering up, using sunscreen and wearing a hat and sunglasses when in the sun.  It also recommends checking the National Weather Service and EPA’s UV Index to help assess how many precautions to take when exercising, playing, and working outdoors. 

The UV Index forecasts the risk of overexposure to UV rays for the entire United States and many major cities.  The higher the index, the higher the risk of overexposure. 

For more information on skin cancer, visit the CDC’s website.

For more information on Watermark, visit


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Laura Sesana

Laura Sesana is a writer and DC, Maryland attorney, joining the Communities in 2012.  She is the author of Colombia: Natural Parks, and has also written several articles on literary criticism.  She writes about food, health, nutrition, women’s legal issues, and the environment.  

In addition to writing for the Communities, Laura also works as an attorney and legal content writer.


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