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Why Shade Sails Provide the Best UV Protection

If you live in sunny coastal areas - like Hilton Head or St. Simon’s Island, or a bit more inland in Savannah or Palmetto Bluff - and you’re not concerned about UV protection, you should be. And shade sails might be the perfect solution.

The threat of UV exposure for adults and especially children is serious. Dangers include:

  • Discomfort and lasting skin damage from sunburn.
  • Development of various types of skin cancer.
  • Damage to the eyes that can result in vision loss or even blindness.

But don’t worry - you can still enjoy the sun!

There are several ways to protect yourself. Read on to learn why shade sails are one of the best.

shade sails

Before We Get Into Shade Sails … UV Protection Basics

It helps to understand a little about where the risk comes from, because the culprit is not actually the brightness of the sun. UV radiation is the problem.

Ultraviolet Light

Not to get too science-y, but ultraviolet radiation is the part of sunlight above the visible spectrum. (We can’t see above violet.) It comes at us on two wavelengths, neither of which is our friend.

Ultraviolet A (UVA)

The longer wavelength accounts for 95 percent of all UV radiation. It ages our skin, tans us and can burn us. Some like its tanning effect (UVA is what you’re bathing in at the tanning salon), but unfortunately there’s no such thing as a safe or healthy tan. Sorry.

Ultraviolet B (UVB)

The shorter wavelength penetrates and burns and damages the outer layer of skin. SPF (Skin Protecton Factor) on sunblock tells you how long UVB will take to redden your skin while using the product compared to using nothing. (Assuming it doesn’t get wet or anything. It will.)

The Effects of Lacking UV Protection


UV rays will reliably burn skin, which doesn’t just make life miserable for a few days. It also plays a strong role in the development of skin cancer.


UV can produce melanomas, which often look like moles, the most dangerous of the common types of skin cancer. It can also cause carcinomas, another type of uncontrolled skin cell growth. These can metastasize - spread - like any other cancer if not caught and treated.

Vision Loss

In addition to skin cancer around the eyes, UV light can trigger cataracts to form and cause cloudy vision. A painful condition called photokeratitis (eye sunburn) can develop. And macular degeneration - which is incurable - can cause profound vision loss and eventual blindness.

UV protection

Your Options for UV Protection (Why Shade Sails Are Great!)

What can you do? You’re probably already taking some kind of measure to protect your family from the sun’s rays. The question is, what will work best?

Clothing and Sunblock

Covering up most of your body and applying sunblock to any exposed skin is a pretty common approach.

But on a hot, Savannah summer day, nobody wants to cover up. You just can’t enjoy the pool that way.

And no matter how “waterproof” your sunblock claims to be, sweat and pool water make the actual SPF closer to 1. Some people are more sensitive than others. But everybody has to reapply sunblock several times throughout the day to be safe.

That’s annoying. And easy to forget to do (or to remind your kids to do).


A pretty simple solution to the threat of vision loss is to filter sunlight with a good pair of sunglasses.

Of course, it’s important to remember that UV radiation, not brightness, is the danger. You can’t assume that sunglasses are effectively protecting your vision just because you no longer have to squint. UV radiation can still reach your eyes from the sides as well.

The other problem with sunglasses is that they’re easy to forget, lose or break.


Clothing, sunblock and sunglasses help. But by far, the most effective solution for UV protection is some type of shade.

Nobody wants to hide indoors, of course. How do get the right amount of shade and still enjoy the sun?

shade sails UV protection

As Promised … Why Shade Sails Are the Best

The answer is a smarter shade solution! Shade sails apply advanced fabric architecture to the problem of how to combine fun in the sun with safety.

What Are Shade Sails?

Shade sails are canopies sculpted out of durable, UV-blocking outdoor fabrics. They provide just enough shade over outdoor living areas to keep them both safe and comfortably cool in the spring and summer without denying you the warmth and enjoyment of sunlight.

Why Are They Unique?

Shade sail placement is flexible and carefully researched. We take sun locations throughout the year into account to determine the perfect size, shape and three-dimensional orientation of the fabric, then stretch the fabric panels between carefully-placed connection points.

The result is a set of protective canopies that are not only effective at blocking UV radiation. They are also beautiful architectural creations that add vibrant color to your outdoor living spaces.

Shade Sails Are the Coolest Method of UV Protection

If you can’t tell, we love shade sails!

Because we have to take so many factors into account (surface area, sun locations, wind directions and intensity, etc.), getting shade sails from Coastal Canvas isn’t exactly like picking up a simple patio umbrella. It starts with a consultation on your property.

And we promise, dreaming up your custom shade sails will be about the most fun you’ll have all year.

Get excited about shade sails! Request an estimate to start the ball rolling today.


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1674 Chatham Parkway Savannah, Georgia 31405. Phone: (912) 236-2416. Open Monday to Friday 8am-5pm.

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