It's summer in San Diego and that means that our beaches are filled with locals and tourists rushing to the sand for a day in the sun. No one forgets the sunscreen, the big umbrellas, towels and coolers, but the one thing that seems to be forgotten at home these days is consideration for others. After my very own beach fight with a ridiculous dad this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to write a fun and friendly article on beach etiquette.
This weekend, I went to the beach with my family for a relaxing day of boogie boarding and sunbathing. As most summer Saturdays, it was crowded, but we got there before 10am so were able to get a prime spot. About an hour and a half after we arrived, a dad showed up with his 2 kids and instructed them to put their boogie boards less than a foot in front of my towel while he propped his surf board directly behind me on top of my boogie board. All alone as my posse (i.e. my in laws and my husband) were in the water, it was my duty to hold down the fort. I sat up and said, "excuse me sir, my family and I are in this spot" and he proceeded to tell me that he had a chair there, all the while refusing to even look at me. Well, being the small, feisty Filipino I am, told him that there's no chair in sight and I literally just watched you tell your children to put their stuff in front of me. At that moment my husband came out of the water like the blue eyed prince he is, just in time to hold me back from getting cray (I could have taken him on my own...). After a few more words were exchanged, the jerk's friend came over and moved the boards to where the rest of their stuff was a couple yards away and apologized. I'm pretty sure the guy was just having a bad day and was looking for a fight, but it's guys like this that can quickly turn a fun beach day into a beach fight! Here's my Type A tips for avoiding such a debacle.
1. IF I CAN SMELL YOU, YOU'RE TOO CLOSE
Even on super busy days, leave people a 3-5 foot perimeter. Lots of people get there early to claim their oceanfront property, so if that's hard to find it's probably because you got there late and may need to sit farther away from the action.
2. DON'T KICK SAND ON SOMEONE'S FACE
If people are laying down, walk as far from their face as possible so sand doesn't go flying in their mouth; no one wants a sand sandwich. Also worth telling the kiddos as they run around... sometimes they can't help it, but it's worth trying, right?
3. WHEN NOT TO SHAKE
While we're on the topic of sand, walk your towel close to the water or to the parking lot to shake off to avoid using it as a sand shooting weapon.
4. KEEP YOUR DANCE PARTY TO YOURSELF
I am obsessed with 90's hip hop and love listening to it at the beach... but not everyone wants to join in (including my husband). So whether your jams are Montel Jordan, Ricky Martin or the Beach Boys - wear headphones or keep the volume loud enough for you to hear, but low enough where other people aren't forced to listen if they don't want to.
5. PUT YOUR TRASH IN THE TRASH CAN
If only we didn't have a need for beach clean ups, but unfortunately more people equals more crap left in the sand and in the water. Take a few minutes to pick up your own garbage and anything left behind by people before you for the protection of our families and our public beaches.
6. WATCH YOUR BALLS
Sports at the beach is the best, but be mindful of people around you and play as close to the water as possible so you don't tackle innocent bystanders as they walk by.
7. SAVING SPOTS
We all save space for people who might come later, but bring enough stuff to claim your area and occupy that area every once in a while, otherwise expect that it will be taken.
8. RESPECT THE SIGNS
Many beaches have signs up designating the swim area vs. the surf area. Be mindful of those signs because it can be dangerous when a surfer and a swimmer collide, especially in crowded waters. Staying on the correct side keeps everyone happy.