The most wonderful time of the year is finally upon us, beach season! For those of us fortunate enough to live down the shore, proper beach etiquette is innate. Whether you're a local, a benny, a shoobie, or frequent beaches outside of the garden state, use the following list to refresh your mind on acceptable beach behavior.
1. Be aware of personal space
This one is huge, and counts for both the personal space of yourself AND other beachgoers! Although holidays and weekends may make you think otherwise, there is more than enough space for everyone to have a comfortable amount of room in the sand. I'm a very social person, but I'm not trying to make friends with the person whose beach blanket lays only inches from mine.
2. Your trash, your problem
Please don't leave your garbage on the beach for other people to step on later. Most beaches do provide garbage cans and recycling bins within walking distance of the ocean for your convince. If not, it takes nothing to bring your own garbage bag and dispose of your trash properly when you get home. It is the duty of each and every beach goer to keep everyone's favorite summer spot clean.
3. DO NOT FEED THE BIRDS
I cannot emphasize this enough! Seagulls are not cute! They are loud and annoying without being fed. Purposely giving them food only amplifies their already unbearable character traits. Once you start feeding one, at least 10 more are destined to show up to swarm you and irritate those sitting around you at the beach.
4. NEVER move someone else's belongings
It pains me that this isn't a given, but I've had this happen to me way more times than it should have. As I said previously, there is more than enough space at the beach for everyone to put their stuff. Just because someone left to take a tip in the ocean or to grab lunch does NOT give you permission to move their beach chair to give you a better view of the sea. Come on, you wouldn't want this done to you.
5. Actually listen to the lifeguards
These unsung heroes do more than sit at a stand for a few hours. They often spend hours outside during the most brutal hours of the summer sun, all while being responsible for countless people. Don't make their job harder than it already is. If they ask you to get off the rocks, just comply for the sake of saving them the aggravation.
6. Watch where and how you walk
Yes, sand is unavoidable at the beach, but most people don't want it in their faces. Try not to run and take off your sandals when walking on the beach to prevent accidentally kicking sand in someone's face to disturb their tanning session.
7. Control your music's volume
Believe it or not, not everyone wants to hear your music. While you want to hear the bass in your favorite song, the rest of the beach probably doesn't. If you can hear it 30 feet away, it's probably too loud.
8. Play beach games in open space
Instead of squeezing between blankets and umbrellas for the perfect spot to play Cam Jam, consider setting it up the game in a much more open space behind where most people are sitting. No one wants a frisbee in their face.
9. Secure your umbrellas
If you must bring a beach umbrella, please secure it correctly, especially on the more windy days. You don't want to be stepping on other people to chase after a loose umbrella. If you know you aren't capable of this, I suggest a hat and full coverage clothing as an alternative.
10. Enjoy yourself and be grateful
This is perhaps the most important one. The beach is a serene and relaxing yet fun and exciting place to spend your summer day. It's a happy place that in my opinion, can cure almost anything if your willing to lose yourself in the sound of the crashing waves.