I only wish I had known in my youth what I know now. Probably wouldn't have made much difference because young folks all think they are immortal and don't need to worry about overexposure to sun until they are older. WRONG. It is the sunburns and the heavy doses of sun you get in your younger years that increases your chances of getting skin cancer when you are older.
Over 2,000,000 cases of skin cancer every year in the US. Many of those become fatal melanoma. Most could have been removed and the outcome much better if they had been diagnosed earlier. And a very high percentage could have been prevented by taking better care of your skin while you were younger...and especially when out on the water. Water magnifies the effects of sunlight on human skin.
I have lost a couple of former fishing buddies to skin cancer...almost certainly as a result of spending a lot of time on the water with little or no concern for covering up or using sunscreen. One buddy...Gary Lindstrom (Big Dog)...was a fishing buddy in northern California. We went different directions and he ended up running a guide service on the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska. About 4 years ago he noticed some crusty patches on his ears...early in the season...and just figured it was basic sunburn before his skin was conditioned to the long days on the river. By the end of the season...when he went to the doctor...it had become malignant melanoma and he did not last much longer after that.
Recently had a cousin in Idaho...a few years younger than me...who had a golf ball sized chunk of flesh removed from the back of her leg...in a spot where she had gotten sunburned a few times in her youth. All of us kids ran around with few clothes all summer and we all got burned a lot.
Been reading fishing reports on the board and I am amazed at how many anglers seem to feel it is a badge of honor to come home fried by the sun. There is really no excuse for it and every time you damage your skin like that you are shortening your life. Wonder if your heirs will appreciate your "toughness" at your funeral.
Harsh? yep. But not as harsh as skin cancer.