Spend some time at the beach, on a boat or at the marina and before long you’ll sense opportunity. That’s what happened to Roberta Lemon, who worked as a crew member aboard several private and charter motor yachts. She looked around and realized there were no garments to fit the unique uniform needs of those who work on the water. Her response was to create a garment company, Wet Effect, which provides apparel suitable for those in the water sports industry.
The key item: a rash guard. It is simply a type of athletic shirt made of a stretchy and/or water-repellant fabric such as a polyester/spandex combination. These shirts are most well-known for their popularity among surfers. The shirt fits snug to protect against board burns caused by sand and chafing from loose clothing. It can also regulate surfers’ body temperature and provide sun protection.
Lemon opened the door for distributors to sell rash guards, as well as board shorts, to a variety of markets. She says, “The rash guards and board shorts are great for resort staff and resort boutiques, yacht crew and sailing clubs; life guards and YMCAs; swim teams and summer camps; water parks; company retreats; paddle boarding; surfing schools; family celebrations and vacations; and all water sports.” Because the rash guards are polyester-based, they can be successfully screen printed or dye sublimated. Organizations and brands can replicate full-color logos and designs, creating an eye-catching uniform or a fun promotional/incentive gift.
“The water sports and recreation industries now have access to rash guards and board shorts that can be branded for staff uniform or resort boutiques,” Lemon says. “It is so important to be sun safe. Our rash guards are cool to wear, fast drying and provide UPF 50+ sun protection. It is a great item for kids in and out of the water all day. … You can relax knowing that they are protected.”