As watermen we are the protectors of the ocean. The ocean is our natural habitat, playground, and sanctuary; if we don’t do our best to keep it around for generations to come than who will? One of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, coral reefs, is in danger of dying off and there may be a simple solution we can all do to keep it around for our grandkids and their grandkids. The solution is to wear rash guards and limit the amount of sunscreen you apply.
Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean’s floor but are home to millions of fish, invertebrates, and algae. Not only are they one of the most important marine ecosystems they also support commercial and recreational fisheries and local tourism. Studies show that the chemicals in conventional sunscreen are harming the coral reefs. Reefs are also important barriers for coastal areas during storm surge. The harmful chemical found in sunscreen is known as Oxybenzone, a UV filtering compound, that is killing coral and is found in high concentrations around reefs that tourist frequently visit. Oxybenzone is a primary cause to endangering reefs and threatening reefs resiliency to climate change.
What You Can Do
Limit the amount of sunscreen you use by wearing a short or long sleeve rash guard. Original Watermen’s rash guards are SPF 50+ and fit like a second-skin. The special blend of 78/22% Xtra-Life Nylon Lycra in Original Watermen’s rash guard guarantees protection, comfort, and top-performance. Not only do rash guards keep you in the water longer and get you out there in a more timely fashion, it also is a stride in the right direction in protecting the marine environment. We know that you can’t exactly wear a full body and face rash guard and is still absolutely necessary to wear sunscreen on some areas of your body, just make sure the sunscreens you are using are reef-friendly. You can check if sunscreens are reef-friendly by checking the labels and seeing if they contain natural elements like zinc-oxide or titanium oxide instead of the harmful ingredient, Oxybenzone.
By taking small steps, paddles, strokes, and kicks we can preserve the coral reefs and the many benefits they provide for the next generation of watermen. Remember that the lotions your apply to your skin before entering the ocean may contain harmful chemicals and are ultimately affecting one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world.