If you’ve ever spent much time on a boat, you probably already understand how precious fresh drinking water is.  During our teen sailing camps, we go to great lengths to communicate the importance of water conservation – we even wash dishes and shower differently than you do at home!  Though we work hard to respect our resources and minimize our daily usage, we make a point to encourage one another to drink as much water each day as we can.  Here’s why!

Headaches, stomach aches, seasickness, exhaustion, dry crackly skin, sunburns that take forever to heal, and grumpy crew mates – none of that is any fun especially when you’re living on a boat sailing across gorgeous Caribbean waters.  Be aware of the Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration.

There is a simple way to prevent and heal more rapidly from these ailments – you guessed it!  By drinking lots of water.  It seems almost too simple to be true but when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.  A healthy human body’s mass is composed of nearly 70% water.  Every single cell, tissue, vessel, and organ requires a certain amount of water in order to function properly.  Water helps keep your body temperature stable, transports nutrients and oxygen to your cells, protects joints and organs, and removes waste.  All very good and very important things!

So how much water should you drink?  Well, the exact amount is a little different for every body, but according to the Institute of Medicine: Food and Nutrition Board the recommended daily amounts are as follows (there is about 1 liter of water in a nalgene):

Young Adolescents (9 – 13)
Males need 2.4 liters (81 fluid ounces, or about 10 [measuring] cups)
Females need 2.1 liters (71 fluid ounces, or about 9 cups)

Teenagers (14 – 18)
Males need 3.3 liters (112 fluid oz., about 14 cups)
Females need 2.3 liters (78 fluid oz, just under 10 cups)

When you’re on a Sail Caribbean teen summer program, we will ask you to drink even more than that – don’t worry, you’ll be craving it!  Our students spend much of their time each day in the sun sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking and participating in water sports.  All that physical activity combined with the intensity of the Caribbean sun means you’ll definitely sweat out a lot of that precious water as your body works to keep you cool.  It’s a good rule of thumb to drink 5-10 ounces (around one cup) every 20 minutes of physical activity or being in the heat.  If your water bottle doesn’t mark the ounces for you, a good way to keep up is this

1 big gulp of water = approximately 1 ounce

When you sweat, you don’t only lose water – you lose electrolytes comprised of minerals and salts.  These are also important for your body to keep on keeping on – among other things, they help you retain the water you drink.  We keep Gatorade powder on board our boats to add to our water and help replenish electrolytes lost during the days’ activities.

So, the next time you find yourself running around in the heat remember to drink enough water – I promise you will feel much better for it!