At the Beach — October 1, 2014 at 5:00 am

Beach Etiquette 101

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When it comes to enjoying the beach, a little cooperation can go a long way. After all, it only takes one lousy beach-goer to ruin everyone’s fun. Avoid being that guy at all costs with this helpful guide to beach etiquette.

Respect the View
There’s not much more irritating than setting up your beach gear, spreading out your towel, and sitting back to enjoy the majestic view only  to have your neighbors settle in right between you and the ocean. Granted, sometimes they don’t have a choice. Crowded beaches, limited sand space, and other unavoidable circumstances can mean that every square inch is fair game. However, if you find yourself lucky enough to be enjoying a spacious seaside area, always make sure you’re not setting up shop in a spot that will affect another person’s  enjoyment of the landscape. There’s plenty of sand to go around and as they say, sharing is caring.

Mind the Wind
Wind direction may not be something you think about except when it comes time to set up your umbrella or toss your Frisbee around. That being said, it can make a huge difference to the folks beside you when you’re spraying on your sunscreen or shaking out your towel. No need to be paranoid, after all, the beach is for relaxing, but do consider which way the wind is blowing before reapplying aerosol anything or lighting up that cigarette. Or just move to a slightly less populated area while you’re doing what needs to be done and everyone will be happy.

Consider Nature’s Soundtrack
Ahh, the beach. The sound of seagulls bantering, crashing waves, gentle winds rustling the wild grass and… techno music from the 80’s? Before charging up your speakers and setting up for your own beach dance party, evaluate your surroundings. Is anyone else playing music? Are there people nearby who may object to your blasting some beats? Some beaches are perfect for boom boxes and guitars whereas others tend to be more unplugged. If you think that no one will mind your acoustic rendition of Losing My Religion, then by all means, rock on.

Share the Waves
Ahh, the ocean. For such an enormous body of water, things sure can get crowded awful fast. When it comes to swimming and general frolicking, the consensus seems to be that it’s all fair game. Just try to avoid getting all up in someone’s face and you should be good. When it comes to surfing, on the other hand, there are rules that need to be obeyed. If you’re a seasoned pro, you know what to do. If you’re just learning the ropes, stick with someone who can guide you or stick to uncrowded areas.

Corral Canines
There’s nothing cuter than a dog enjoying the beach. Their enthusiasm is contagious and watching them negotiate the sand (so uneven!) and waves (so big!) is better than any television show. That being said, not everyone loves dogs, as hard as that is to imagine. So it’s your responsibility as a pet owner to keep your pups under control at all times. Be sure to check ahead to find out what (if any) regulations concerning dogs apply to the beach you’re going to and respect the guidelines at all times. Once you’ve got it all figured out, go ahead and let your furry friend have the time of his life. Just don’t forget to clean up after him.

Look Out for Each Other
Soaking up the sun and breathing that restorative air just brings out the best in everyone. Strangers become friends, memories are made, and a whole lot of fun is had by everyone. Keep things awesome by being the kind of person everyone wants to be. Notice a runaway umbrella? Help wrangle it back. See someone struggling with their gear? Lend a hand. Overhear someone lamenting the fact that they forgot their sunscreen? There’s plenty to go around. Beaches are amazing, and so are the people who visit them. Let’s do what we can to keep it that way.

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