Did you get lured by the siren's call? Are you heading to the beach this summer?
The smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves, the sights of the sunrise and the sunset, ahhhh re-la-xa-tion...maybe.
Just because your sunglasses are on, it doesn't mean that your manners should go to the wind and that you can turn into a beach bum. To make sure that all sand, surf and sun lovers have worry free memories, here are twelve beach friendly reminders that will make you a good beach buddy.
1. Take off your flip-flops (and your children's, too) when walking on the sand.
At the beach, there is nothing worse than being sprayed by sand, as a family of five walks on by, especially when you've just applied a fresh coat of sunscreen.
2. Don't hog beach chairs and cabanas.
Trip Advisor has done a survey of beach and pool irritants and this complaint is high on the list. Eighty-five percent of those surveyed disapprove of reserved seating for hours. A couple of chairs for up to an hour would be acceptable to most of us.
3. Set up about 2 metres away from your closest neighbour.
That is the acceptable radius to be respected around each group of sunbathers. If the beach is bare, double up on that distance.
4. Don't block the view for those admiring the water.
If you have a shade tent or a mega sunbrella, set up towards the back of the beach, closer to the beach house or the boardwalk.
5. Anchor your paraphernalia safely.
Make sure to take the necessary precautions to keep your gear in place, even at high tide. If it is very windy, close up your stuff before it flies away and injures someone.
6. Remember that the wind carries sounds.
Keep that in mind when calling for Honey, Muffy, Fluffy, Johnny and Suzie. There is no need to yell. Take a walk and talk close up.
7. Keep the music down and your words 'G' rated.
Your language should be appropriate for all to hear. Not only can loud music hinder others' zen moments, it may also disrupt the lifeguard's ability to hear an S.O.S.
8. Text, instead of talking on your cell phone.
For all the reasons that you do not have long lengthy phone conversations elsewhere in public, do not have them at the beach. Although you are outdoors, people can still hear and may be annoyed by your constant jabbing and phone ringing. If you must have a long conversation, step away from the rest and relaxation area and have your talk in the parking lot or in another area away from people.
9. Don't leave children or pets unsupervised.
As the parent or the pet owner, this means not lying down to work on your tan. Yes, you also deserve a break. But make sure that while you are being caressed by the sun and soothed by the waves that you keep watching your precious ones. Lifeguards are not daycare workers. Nobody likes to have their beach blanket 'wetted' by a wandering dog's soaked paws. Between adults, take turns watching your little and four-legged ones.
10. Play away from sunbathers.
Most beaches have identified play areas, but if yours doesn't, make sure that ball or Frisbee throwing and sand-building will not disturb bathers, sun worshippers, or walkers.
11. Shake away from sunbathers.
When it is time to go and pack up, do so away from your sand neighbours. This also applies when you get out of the water and rush to your towel for warmth and comfort. Slowly pick it up to avoid sands being dispersed on your neighbors. At departure, if the beach is crowded, roll up all your gear and carry it to shake out in the parking lot.
12. Take your memories and only leave footprints.
When picking up your stuff, also take with you your garbage, cigarette butts and dispose of your baby's diapers in appropriate bins. Buried leftovers in the sand can attract pests, be bad for the environment and can also be a health hazard to the next beach comers. One peanut could cause an anaphylactic reaction.
Ok, now that you are a good beach buddy and have your beach manners down in the sand, you are probably wondering what to do about those beach bums that dare to breach beach etiquette.
Sticky situation(s): loud sounds, hindered views or smoky smells.
Solution(s): Evaluate your options, including moving to another area when possible. If not, approach your beach neighbour and without accusing, say something like: "Hi, I guess it gets pretty crowded on the beach at this time. If you could please lower it down, move up or down a little, we can all enjoy the beach."
Have a Sticky Situation? Write to me and I will reply promptly. Want more Solutions to Sticky Situations? Like me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter. Planning a conference? I happily travel to spread the word about etiquette. At your service.