If there’s one thing nearly all Australians have in common, it’s that they love a trip to the beach. However, getting out to the golden shorelines of our country can be a little bit daunting, especially if you live further inland and aren’t as familiar with the rules and etiquette. In this article, we’ll look at six essential tips to get the most out of your day at the beach, from wearing sun screen to bringing bags.
Bring sun screen
This is the first and probably most important thing to remember when planning a day at the beach. Since beachgoing is undoubtedly a summertime activity, it usually means the weather is hot and the sun is shining – and there’s no shade on a beach. If you don’t apply sun screen before heading out there, you’re at short-term risk of sunburn and long-term risk of skin cancer.
Swim between the flags
When it comes time to dive into the surf for a refreshing and fun swim, make sure your time remains fun by swimming between the flags at all times. Australian beaches will have yellow and red flags set up at various points along the shoreline, and if you swim outside of these flags you’re putting yourself at risk of being caught in a rip, which can wash you further out to sea. This is particularly important for those who are not strong swimmers.
Remove your footwear
Before you step onto the sand at a beach, make sure you remove your shoes. There are various reasons for this. First of all, it’s simply the done thing: if you’re wearing shoes on the beach, people are likely to scoff at you. However, if that reason isn’t enough for you, then consider that your shoes will quickly become filled with sand. It’s okay to wear thongs if the sand is extremely hot, but bear in mind that thongs kick up loads of sand as you walk in them, and people will not be very happy with you give them a sandshower while they’re trying to relax on the beach.
There’s a myth in Australia that it’s illegal to take photos at the beach. While this is not true per se, there is a code of ethics you should follow. You should always respect the privacy of people around you and only take photos of yourself or your friends – many people won’t appreciate being photographed in their swimmers. Never take pictures of young children who are not your own either. Finally, remember that sand can easily get inside and ruin a camera, so make sure you have a beach-proof camera.
Keep an eye on your things
While most beachgoers are extremely honest people, there are always a bad few who wander down to the beaches looking for people who have left bags behind while going for a swim. Try to make sure one member of your party is minding your things at all times and, if that is not possible, don’t wander too far away from your possessions and always keep a watchful eye out.
This is a general rule but is also very important. When on the beach, be respectful of those around you. Don’t kick sand up on people when you’re walking by them. Don’t shake off your towel in a crowd of people either, as this will result in them being covered with sand. If you’re going to throw a ball or frisbee around, do it far away from the crowds – generally, the back of the beach has plenty of space to do this without disrupting sunbathers. Be sure to put all your rubbish away at the end of the day too. Bring one or two green bags with you (these don’t have as large a risk of blowing away like plastic bags and, if they do, they’re not harmful to the environment) and load all your gear into it at the end of the day.