Beach Etiquette: The “Unspoken” Rules

Point Lookout Civic Beach 2013...not much real estate left at high tide.

Point Lookout Civic Beach 2013…not much real estate left at high tide.

Today’s lesson for shoebees*, citiots* and all others!

We all know this year the size of our beach has been severely crimped and beach goers are cramped: only a small portion of sandy stretch is left after Sandy. We are now charting new territory in crowding.

The civic association reminded everybody about “beach etiquette” in such close quarters a few weeks ago. With the current situation, and the traditional July 4th Holiday crowds upon us, it is time to speak the unspoken rules that all live by. Your rights end where someone else’s start, they say.

Extensive research has been conducted here at Making My Point to divine these seemingly secret statutes, and the sanctions scofflaws should sustain.

greetings and welcome to Point Lookout Civic Beach- the printed rules.

greetings and welcome to Point Lookout Civic Beach- some of the printed rules.

We know what we’re doing, but there’s always somebody…!

Umbrella Corkscrews Required!

The wind lifts up and blows your unsecured umbrella across the beach into people’s faces backs etc. : not acceptable. This is then almost always followed by at least one attempt to make it all happen again. Do not just Re-stick the pointy end in the ground and foot up some sand against it! Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result-we know what that is the definition of!

umbrella screw bottoms to screw your umbrella into the sand and secure it properly!

umbrella screw bottoms to screw your umbrella into the sand and secure it properly!

Second time hit with a beach umbrella, I believe I read somewhere, entitles said victim(umbrell-ee) to umbrell-a umbrell-er with pointy end!

Half the distance in all directions.

Did you just put your beach chair on my blanket? Unless you’re intentionally joining others that are already at the beach. (…i mean that know you!), it is proper etiquette to situate yourself no closer than in the middle of the existing open space, keeping relatively the same distance between the nearest people in every direction. Of course we know everybody wants to hang out with our group – but at least you could ask first! We sit in a line. An out of town couple pulls up and joins our line, rather than anywhere in the hundreds of square yards open around us. Not at the end; in the 6 feet between two people. We all look at each other and say “who the heck is this??” You know what they say… When in Rome, or Point Lookout. Hey, get your hand out of my cooler!

Sand Flies, Sandfly!

Try not to kick sand walking by others. Keep in mind a little sand kicked up blows pretty far in the wind. Do your sandals go flop flop flop in the back when you walk? That’s a pretty good indication that you are a potential “sand-on-thee-sta” -style terrorist. Watch your upwind sand flip back kick.

about 10 feet remains of beach, high tide at 2nd Beach, Point Lookout summer 2013, after superstorm Sandy did her work

about 10 feet remains of beach, high tide at 2nd Beach, Point Lookout summer 2013, after superstorm Sandy did her work

Shaking towel out, or just loosing the sand on it in close proximity to others prohibited. move away from others, to an unoccupied area, keeping towel at ground level. Better yet, do it when you leave!

Sitting in the walking area.

Especially annoying to people trying not to kick sand, then people are sitting in the pathway.Yes, there is a walking area! (At least there used to be one. I see the new cool thing to do seems to be to sit so you block up the entry and exit from the beach.) These are the people that show up at 2 PM, point to the walking area and say “wowee! look at all the open space right here! Ok group here’s our spot!”
Failure to follow this principle is grounds for loosening, if not outright rescinding the last rule about control of sand! Feel free to shake your towel out here, too, but you didn’t hear that from me 😉 !

Dune do that!

Sitting in, playing in, or walking over the dunes. Saw all last weekend. A whole family had plopped themselves almost at the top of our temporary dune. Yay -king of the hill! In the minute it took me to leave, 3 different sets of people walked right up over the dune. They walked straight up the walkway and over the dune by the pavilion.
Civic and TOH keep reminding “everyone” (by everyone i would have to say they mean it’s >YOUR< KIDS, TEENAGERS and TWENTYSOMETHINGS -yes, You!) not to walk on the dunes. (Sorry, the people at civic have been so civilized about it, I had to let off some steam)

proceed straight ahead at your doom and peril, or just make a left there... can we get some signage?

proceed straight ahead at your doom and peril, or just make a left there… can we get some signage?

I think a little fencing and a couple of signs would go a good looong way in this area. How do I point out to people “you can’t walk there” when there is no demarcation. how can i point it out when the lifeguards have left tracks over it from their 4 wheeler. Can we get some “mine field ahead” signs or something? At least we finally got the “Keep Off Jetty” signs up, maybe that’ll keep the whistle blowing to a minimum, yeah- sure it will! Lol!

Nothing Airborne Downwind!

Smokers-please sit all the way downwind. Maybe it didnt used to be, but it’s rude now. dont agree? I think we can arrange someone upwind of you spraying, say.. Raid bug killer. They’ll spritz it every 10 seconds. Aw shucks- Too bad the wind is blowing it right to you! I believe it is just as legal to do that, too, but don’t quote me on that.

My alter ego reminds me: although a great invention, Spray suntan lotion is equivalent to Raid blowing down the beach!! Wow -You can coat your children in suntan lotion as they run around and the beauty of it is, you can get it on everybody else at the beach too! A good talker, downwind, can probably tell you the SPF by the flavor!

Please keep your airborne emissions yours. unless of course, you’ve tried everything else to stop or even slow said talker!

a little signage goes a long way to explaining the rules.  Keep Off Jetty. Point Lookout Civic Beach

a little signage goes a long way to explaining the rules. Keep Off Jetty. Point Lookout Civic Beach

Beach Games

If you’re going to throw a football or frisbee, make sure you can *actually* throw it, and the other person can *actually* catch it!
Remember – this is actually a spoken and written rule that you can’t do either, so you do it at others’ convenience and will.
You do know that’s why the “youngies”, rebels they are, played horseshoes to flout the rules, while not infringing on anyone else!? (That may be a rumor!). Beach expert says- “no balls that make noise” in any way whether catching, throwing, binging or any method.

Leave the beach as you found it

If you dig a hole, YOU fill it back in, so nobody breaks their ankle later on.
Conversely, please don’t, and please don’t allow your kids to knock down another kids’ sandcastle that is freshly done, or is still being built. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who the grown ups are!

the convergence of 3 topics here: most important, put YOUR trash in it's place

the convergence of 3 topics here: most important, put YOUR trash in it’s place

Don’t leave garbage-put it in it’s place! Not just the big stuff: bottle caps, pistachio shells. We don’t need to step on them, sea shells only, TYVM!

3 minute splash rule

Standing in waist deep water for more than a few minutes and being upset someone walking, running or swimming by splashes you, is not allowed.

Swim only in protected areas.

That is between the green flags, where the lifeguards are. Nothing funny to say here except your neighbors aren’t lifeguards. I know we’ve seen some local heroes of late (Donna!) but did you really have to be reminded your 5 year old kids can’t swim (probably not at all, much less) next to the jetty in the swirling waters this weekend! (Yes, the answer was yes!)


Chair hut drives you nuts?

If you move someone else’s chair for whatever reason, put it where it WAS, not where you want it to be. This does not include the rash of “borrowings” [like our poor missing bicycles in town 😦 ] that has been occurring the past couple years: that’s a fully punishable offense.

I hear the 1970’s called, they want their trashy lowlife bike and chair stealing antics back.

I don’t need your “good luck”!

Feed the seagulls? In a crowded area? Bird feeder’s towel is immediately available for any and all clean ups.


hey people get off that dune... so "official-type" folk can ride over it without any y'all in their way!

hey people get off that dune… so “official-type” folk can ride over it without any y’all in their way!

So pass it on, get the word out, sound…the fire whistle thingy!!

Or not…if you enjoy watching that kind of thing…. up close, in woefully regrettable, life-like, high def smellovision.

What other unspoken rules apply?

Special thanks to all of those whose input and research made this list possible you know who you are – thank you!

* Shoebee: wears sneakers, or sandals with socks underneath, to beach.
* shoe-bee: derogatory NJ shore term about obnoxious city folk behavior on the beach.

* Citiot. derived from city/idiot. Day trips to beach from city, completely lacking in beach and most other etiquette. more a nuisance where they come directly off the train.



5 thoughts on “Beach Etiquette: The “Unspoken” Rules

  1. I’ll gladly abide all of these, but please add: Don’t send your kid down to the beach at 8:30am to set up a line of 10 beach chairs, umbrellas and coolers in the very best spot so that you and your entire family can smugly stroll in around noon to a fully packed beach on a summer weekend. Come to the beach, by all means, but the beach DOES NOT TAKE RESERVATIONS. First come, first served. 😉

  2. thank you thank you!!!!!! have not wanted to go to the beach for all the very rude rich ppl. it is so disappointing. Especially you see ppl crossing the dunes and tell them not to and just look at u and keep walking…disgusting.

  3. Pingback: Good Fences Made Good | making my point

  4. How about the person that puts up a tent canopy complete with dangling from the ceiling towels and full of chairs and toys directly in front of your front row paid chairs and umbrellas.

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