Summer’s gotten off to a great start around town, and the weather is sure to drive throngs of visitors and locals alike to southern California’s beautiful beaches, not the least of which will be our beloved Newport.
Hearing the siren call of the cool surf, offshore winds and fun in the sun, folks will be hitting the coast big time.
Most people are pretty aware of the do’s and dont’s of beach etiquette. But after observing the trash left behind this past weekend by some of our beach guests, it occurred to me that it would be helpful if people viewed visiting the beach similar to a friend’s backyard, or better, that of your boss or grandmother.
I mean, who would leave soiled diapers, a pile of Taco Bell bags, soda cans and water bottles in Grammy’s pretty posie garden?
Public beaches are a delicious luxury, a rare commodity for many and should be treated as such. Not only from an environmental standpoint, it’s also as a way of showing civility and politeness. Certain beach rules apply so that everyone can enjoy their day at the beach and leave with a smile on their face. This goes for locals as well.
In support of this notion, here is my top 12 list for enlightened beach behavior to help make seaside adventures more pleasant and relaxing for everyone.
- Take everything you bring to the beach back home with you. This includes trash if there is not a trash can nearby. It won’t kill you to throw stuff away back at home.
- Remember that voices travel in the wind, so if you are on your cell phone or desperately trying to get the kids to put on sunscreen, try and use your “beach voice.”
- Don’t play Frisbee or any game that ends with “ball” over the heads of, or in close proximity to, beachgoers. There’s nothing worse than dosing off to the sweet sound of the surf, only to be rudely awakened by a thwap on the noggin from an errant football.
- Keep your music to yourself. Use earphones, or if you must play the latest Gaga, keep the volume down to a minimum. I like to listen to opera, but I don’t force my fellow beachgoers to listen to Don Giovanni at full throttle.
- Boogie and skim boarders: watch out for the little ones, and the big ones too for that matter. You’re not the only ones in the water, and being perched on foam does not make you a “Wave King.” There’s plenty of ocean for everyone to enjoy.
- Insert your umbrella into the sand at an angle and note the direction the wind is blowing, so that it blows against the umbrella, not underneath it. I learned this the hard way once on Balboa Island when a stiff wind came up and launched my umbrella half way down the sidewalk. Talk about embarrassing, but more importantly, thank goodness it didn’t hit anyone or anything!
- Unless the sand is scorching, take off flip flops so they don’t go flipping sand on everyone you walk past.
- It’s a nice gesture if you are with a gaggle of kids to try and find an area where other kids are playing, that way people who are trying to relax sans the squeals of delight in close proximity can do so in relative peace.
- It should go without saying whenever shaking sand off towels, chairs, etc., move a good distance downwind of any neighbors so as not to give them a sand blast. There’s nothing worse than biting in to a gritty PB&J.
- If possible, try and find a spot that is at least a distance of about 10 feet so that it gives everyone some space and conversations can be had without disturbing your neighbor. If your dishing the latest juicy gossip with your BFF, remember sound travels in the wind at the beach.
- Don’t be a butthead. Smoking is illegal on the beach now, but I still spy the rebels (or ignorant) among us puffing away. Stand upwind if you absolutely can’t control your craving, and remember while, yes, we’re outside, the smell of the salt air is what everyone is enjoying, not that of a dirty ashtray. Which by the way, the beach is not, so if you must smoke don’t leave your butts in the sand.
- And finally, never bring glass to the beach. Ever. I stepped on a broken beer bottle that was hidden in the sand when I was a kid and it made for a very unpleasant end to an otherwise fun day for me and my panic-stricken parents.
And with that, I wish everyone very happy beach blanket bliss!
Columnist and beach lover Lynn Selich is the founder and editor-in-chief of OCSocialScene.com. Reach her at [email protected]