As a boat owner, it’s inevitable that you’ll begin to undertake some of your own boat maintenance and upkeep. With anything from painting to mechanical maintenance, it’s important to protect yourself.
Regardless of what type of maintenance you’re performing on your boat, you should be wearing safety goggles. And, no, your regular prescription glasses or sunglasses won’t do. Particles can still blow into your eye with a gust of wind and they likely aren’t strong enough to protect your eyes if something were to fly at them, such as a rogue piece of metal. It’s better to be safe than… well… blind.
Many paints used for boats are polyurethane and that is not something you want to be inhaling. A simple paper mask won’t be good enough. You need a respirator and filter fitting the type of work you are doing. For fumes, use an organic vapor filter and for fine particles (such as sanding fiberglass), use a particle filter. As a general rule, if you can smell the fumes you’re trying to avoid, you need to change the filter in your respirator.
At the very least, cover your hands with surgical gloves (not just regular latex gloves) to keep the chemicals you’re using from contact with your skin and toxic exposure. When sanding fiberglass or using a spray polyurethane paint for the boat, you may want to wear a cover suit to protect every inch of you. If those fine particles of fiberglass touch your skin or even get on your clothes, it can cause severe skin irritations. And the chemicals on your clothes can cause you to inhale the fumes even after you’ve completed the job.
It may not look stylish to wear all of these protective accessories while working on your boat, but it’s worth missing the mark on fashion trends to remain healthy and whole.