Top Ten Beach Tips
Ten tips for making your next beach trip environmentally friendly.
The start of summer season traditionally means beach season.
Here's a list of tips for enjoying your next trip to the beach and being environmentally friendly at the same time.
- Check ahead for beach closures - Unfortunately, more and more of our beaches (especially those that have storm drains that empty directly into them) are being polluted with various bacteria and toxins. Don't be disappointed. If you know that the beach you plan to visit is susceptible to such outbreaks, call ahead to the local radio station or other appropriate place and insure that the beach is open.
- Beware of the sun - Of course sun, sand, and a romp in the water are the main drawing points of a trip to the beach. Nonetheless, too much sun can be unhealthy. It can not be repeated enough, wear sunscreen and bring sunglasses and a beach umbrella.
- Beware of what you can not see - Whether you enjoy getting calf deep, hip deep, or in over your head, it's a fact of modern life that many of our beaches are trash repositories. Media stories such as syringes washing up to shore are becoming more common. It's always a good idea to bring protective footwear for walks in areas where you can not see the ground.
- Respect the forces of nature - The ocean is both a beautiful and powerful part of nature. The undertow (or force with which the water moves away from the shore) can be strong. Avoid playing on floating logs and/or driftwood. They can easily flip about in the water causing an accident. It's always a safe bet to visit a beach that provides lifeguards and follow basic beach and water safety rules.
- Respect the natural residents - You will always find some interesting marine creature during your trip. Please remember that most creature are especially adapted to live in the coastal environment and would die if removed. Children may be excited about the prospect of bringing home a crab, starfish, sponge, or other live resident and need to be convinced to leave them alone.
- Practice Sand Dune Conservation - Sand Dunes are an important portion of a beach's ecology, and all around the world they are in danger. While some places allow for hiking (and even driving motorized vehicles) along dunes, many places request that beach visitors stay away from them. Know the rules of the beach you are visiting and adhere to them.
- Trash -It's harmful to all beach residents, animal, and human. Many beaches now require that all visitors take home everything they bring, including their trash. This is a good idea for all beaches. Plan ahead and bring a trash bag with you on your next trip. Plan very far ahead and get involved in one of the yearly Coastal Cleanup campaigns that normally take place during the fall.
- Beachcombing - A trip to the beach can also be a wonderful educational experience. Many state park beaches provide nature guides specific to the area. If you can not find one, there is always something like a Peterson's Guide to aid you.
- Beach hikes - Some stretches of beaches go on for miles. Camping and hiking along these areas is a popular activity and requires special preparation. Check ahead to see if your intended destination requires either fees or reservations.
- Join a beach preservation club - Beach erosion resulting from natural forces and pollution resulting from population pressures are two of the most harmful issues affecting the future stability of our beaches. People power still remains the primary tool for combating these ills. In order to insure that your future trips to the beach are happy and health time, consider joining one of the many organizations (Surfrider USA) that work to maintain the integrity of the coastal ecosystem.
© 1998-2007. Patricia A. Michaels. All rights reserved.