Oh the joys of summer and crowded beaches. Before you hit the sand with your cooler, fav beach chair and sunscreen (which should have been listed first!), do you know your beach etiquette?
ranted about shared my thoughts on this topic before, but in the Triple H (Hazy, Hot and Humid) days of August beach etiquette seems to disappear as space becomes limited, patience runs thin, and dare I say the feeling of entitlement of beach space rises.
For those not in the know:
Beach Etiquette: Allowing the proper amount of space between bathers on a beach. Ideally a minimum of 5 feet on each side. See photo
Now I know that in August (or even in July for that matter), space on the beach is at a premium, but I’m amazed as the sheer lack of consideration some families and groups can show when it comes to how close they choose to sit and/or set up their chairs and towels next to other beach-goers – especially singles and couples.
They just don’t seem to have or follow beach etiquette.
On a personal note, I have felt overly afflicted by the lack of beach etiquette and often find myself crowded by large numbers of people. It’s almost as if as a solo beach-goer there’s a neon arrow above my head saying – “HEY BIG GROUPS GET AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN TO ME. I WON’T MIND BECAUSE I’M ALONE TODAY.”
This is of course not true, but it does seem that I have an above average knack for finding myself in situations where, despite how empty or how much available space is on the beach, that couples, groups and families seem to gravitate to me and put their things down within 2-3 feet of me. (No I’m not exaggerating.)
That said however, I’ve been talking to others who travel to the beach solo and they too have noticed this phenomenon. Solo beach-goers do seem to be encroached upon more often than groups. REALLY!
Do you find yourself “attracted” to the single on the beach and
tend to set up your things by him/her or do you look for a spot that has good clearance?
many some do this as they worry less about disrupting or annoying the single person, but would think twice if the group was larger OR, maybe I am over thinking this and in truth, they’ve given it no thought or simply like that spot. Regardless it’s a challenge that I face each summer and it’s seemed even more challenging this one.
Here are some examples I saw just this week. (You be the judge):
*Note while you cannot see it – there was lots and lots of space for people to spread out just a little further to the right and to the left.
Now I know many of you will say, “What’s the big deal?” or even, “Do you own the beach?” (Hey I’ve even been asked this by these offenders, when I’ve diplomatically asked them if they could move over a bit, or candidly said, “Don’t you think you’re a little close?”) NO, I don’t own the beach, but I do find this to be a personal space/common courtesy issue, and what I refer to as beach etiquette.
I think it comes down to appreciating the personal space of others. Sure the beach can be crowded and perhaps 5 feet isn’t always available, but sitting on top of someone can’t be fun for you either.
Perhaps it’s also because I’m such a beach person – getting on the beach around 11/11:30am and staying there until 6pm – and I greatly appreciate my time there to disconnect which is why it’s so upsetting. I’ll have come early to pick out the perfect spot and am happily reading or relaxing in my personal space, only to find myself suddenly in the middle of yelling kids, rowdy adults, and the drama they’re openly sharing. It’s not fun.
If this doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, another way to look at it is this: Would you casually sit next to someone at a table without asking if you could sit there or if the seat was taken? It’s the same courtesy you would show in these instances, just in a beach setting.
Here are 5 tips I’ve come up with to help you follow good beach etiquette:
- Be considerate of the single bather. Perhaps they don’t want to enjoy your vacation, screaming kids, in-laws, crazy drinking buddies or your tales of the “wild night” you had last night.
- If asked if you can move over – remember it’s just a request – it’s not an ultimatum, nor an encroachment on your civil liberties. It’s a question and it gives those you’re putting your stuff “on top of” the option to move if they must. (Personally I can get annoyed if I have to move. I’ve been there longer and then feel pressured to move simply due to a lack of beach etiquette.)
- If there is a lot of space on the beach, kindly do not crowd the single/double beach goers. There’s clearly room for everyone, so why not find a bigger spot where you can spread out?
- For the single beach goer – AVOID open spots by the entrances. While tempting, these seem to be a magnet for large families/groups to park their stuff – likely because there’s so much of it and they don’t have to walk any farther.
- Also for the single beach goer – Try to spread out your belongs in a long of a line as possible – it gives you room to move if encroached upon. (Note: I have considered one of those fences or cones – don’t laugh! – but that did seem to be going a bit over the top! 😉 )