Only a few of us are lucky enough to say that we live within driving distance of a beach. With this luxury comes knowledge from years of experience combing the beaches (during the on- and off-season) to know the unwritten rules while you are at the beach. Check out my top five tips if you’re planning on heading to a beach this summer.
The Ocean Is Not a Pool
I know this might sound like a “duh” statement but you would be surprised at the people that go into an ocean, feel something swim by them, freak out, and run to shore. Fish, crabs, dolphins, and yes, sharks swim in the ocean because it is their home! Screaming while you’re running towards the shore will not prevent animals living in the ocean and sometimes coming into your comfort zone. Sharks terrify anyone, and if you’re sure you see one, scream like mad hell towards the shore, but for the most part (and despite if the media is having a slow week and decides to run “shark attack” stories) the attacks are extremely rare. If you’re only comfortable with the occasional bug or frog, go to a pool.
Take Your Garbage With You
No one likes a litterbug. Especially when you are on a beach, usually walking barefoot and lying in the sand. Nothing is worse than lying down and seeing someone’s garbage they left behind because they were too lazy to clean it up. Eventually that same garbage will get washed up in the tide and an animal will probably think it’s food and suffer horrible health defects (or even die) because you couldn’t take five minutes to throw away your trash.
Another pet peeve (no pun intended) is when beach-goers take their animals to the beach and let them do their business without picking it up. If you are a shell collector, those little pieces of poo can sometimes look like a piece of driftwood or other shell until you pick it up and get grossed out. (That is the exact reason I do not pick up “cool looking rocks” anymore at the beach!) Beach rules are the same as anywhere else; pick up after your pet!
Watch Out For Surfers/Fisherman
Not everyone goes to the beach just to lie out or walk up and down the shoreline. There are surfers that pick certain spots in the water that have the best waves. These spots, once rightfully claimed (rightfully claimed meaning whoever gets there first), are not the spots you want to take your children to play in the water. Surfers are competitive athletes that try to beat each other out for the best wave and once they are riding that wave and see a small child playing in the water, it could be too late to switch course to avoid hitting the child. Any size surfboard could easily pop out of the water the wrong way and slice your head open.
Fisherman also have the same rights to the ocean as anyone. Though they cast their line out very far, there is no
telling how far the line can drift with rip currents and wave patterns. One rogue wave could leave you as the only thing getting hooked. If you are in the water, stay a good 40–60 feet from any fisherman or surfers to avoid getting run over or hooked.
Don’t Feed the Damn Seagulls
Seagulls are rats with wings. I absolutely detest the bird and could sleep soundly if I never have to see or hear a cackle of another sea gull again. One sure fire way to tell if someone has never been to a beach before is when they start holding out their food so the “seagulls will come and eat it!” It’s not cute; it’s not fun. Especially for the people around you who are trying to relax and you cannot relax on a beach with 100 sea gulls around you fighting for food and will poop on you the second they get a chance. I cannot think of a single circumstance where it was funny/cool to feed a seagull. (Scratch that, it was insanely funny when, coming back from a trip on a boat, a ton of sea gulls were following us and my friend held out a potato chip to lure the sea gull in to catch him, he grabbed part of the bird, only to be bitten. Hilarious.)
Please Don’t Run Over My Shells
For anyone that knows me, you know I am an avid shell collector. Shells are in every room of my house and I showcase them proudly as if they were trophies. Where else can you go that has beautiful treasures on the ground for anyone to pick up and take home FOR FREE? Nothing annoys me more as when I am walking a beach and someone rides their bike, runs, or takes a car directly over a shell bed. It may not seem like anything to you, but shells are beautiful treasure from the sea and to run your equipment right over a shell bed is just plain rude. I can’t tell you how many times I have been at the beach actually looking in a shell bed and have someone run over the exact bed I’m looking in, destroying everything in his or her path. Have a little respect for nature’s beauty and one of the few things are both beautiful and free in this world.
A couple of other tips to help you if you are heading to beach is don’t invade others spaces. If room on the beach permits, keep a good distance from other families and visitors to the beach. We are all going to relax and having a stranger in your “bubble” makes anyone feel uneasy. Another good way to avoid invading someone’s space is to be considerate when you are shaking out your sand-ridden items. Step away from anyone that is around and proceed to shake off your towels and clothes from a safe distance to avoid getting sand over someone who is reading a book or napping.
Bonus Tip: Keep your feet from frying! When you arrive at the beach (or pool), flip your sandals over to avoid putting your feet into burning hot sandals when your ready to leave.