Summer season means beach season, and, few things can ruin a day at the beach quicker than a thoughtless ignoramus. Here are some tips to follow so you don’t become “that guy” or “that girl.”
Follow the rules.
It may sound like a no brainer to you, but, the majority of people never bother to read signs or follow instructions. Guess what? These rules do apply to you, and, if you just take two minutes to read any signs then you might just save your day at the beach. For example, if the sign post reads “no bbqs” then leave the hibachi in the car or if the sign specifically says “nude bathing” (in a specific spot) you might want to avoid that area if you have small children you don’t want exposed to adult bodies. It’s simple common sense and the rules do apply to you!
Listen to the Lifeguards
Regardless of what you may believe, lifeguards do not get their jollies by needlessly telling people to get off the rocks/jetty or to get out of the water or not to take certain objects into the water. Real life lifeguards (oppposed to tv show lifeguards) are also not there to be stared at like they are sexual objects. Their job is to keep you and everyone on the beach safe. Depending upon the town and local laws, some lifeguards do have the authority to place someone disturbing the peace or disrupting others or causing general havoc under arrest. Also, save your David Hasslehoff/Baywatch impersonations for your friends at home, most lifeguards have seen the slow motion running thing more than enough times, and, by the way — you don’t even do it right!
Flags on the beach
Most beaches use a flag system to allow sunbathers and swimmers to know conditions of the water. The flags are pretty universal and very easy to understand — the colors are the same as a traffic signal. Green means all is safe and you may proceed to use the water, yellow means conditions aren’t perfect but they aren’t horrible either and caution should be used, and, red means dangerous conditions and often mean keep out of the water.
Be considerate of those around you
While chances are you’ll be on a public beach that doesn’t give you the right to do what you want or when you want to do it nor is it a license to turn into the biggest jerk in the world. Have consideration for those around you and use your own common sense. If you’re a young family and don’t want to exposure your kids to certain language or behavior then don’t take the spot right next to a group of teenagers. Additionally, if you have a radio playing, keep the noise levels low — just because you love Jay Z doesn’t mean everyone else does too.
Don’t be a litterbug
You may think it’s just fine to let your garbage sit on the beach and not clean up after yourself, but, if you don’t clean your spot then someone else has to do it for you. More than likely that person is a paid employee of the town, and, in turn for your inconsidearation and laziness, you are directly reflecting the price of a beach badge or hike in taxes to take care of your mess. Nearly every beach has waste disposal units/trash cans. Use them. It only takes a few minutes to clean your space.
Do report sharks, jellyfish or any other dangers in the water
If you see a shark, jellyfish or anything else that might be dangerous in the water, do report it to the closest lifeguard station. Don’t set off a panic, just go as quickly as possible to the lifeguard station and allow them to make the determination. (Also, if you see a “cute” little shark about a foot in length in shallow water — don’t think it’s some type of cute baby. That’s actually a sand shark and even though they’re small they can still do damage (such as bite a finger or toe off) with their powerful jaws. If you see a sand shark report it to the nearest lifeguard station as soon as possible.)
Know what to do if you’re caught in a rip tide
Rip tides can be dangerous and even deadly. A rip tide is a strong current that pulls unsuspecting swimmers out to sea in the blink of an eye. The key is not to panic. Instead start swimming parallel to the shore until you are free and then start swimming into shore. If you don’t have the strength to swim back, do your best to get the attention of a lifeguard, they will pull you back to safety.