6 Basic Beach Rules for Keeping Our Shores Clean and Safe

Whether you’re a true blue (aquamarine?) lover of the sea or you’re hitting the shores simply because you’re hoping to spend a portion of your remaining summer vacation in a place you’ve never been to before, going to the beach is bound to be an experience you won’t soon forget. This is true whether you’re going to a Batangas beach resort like Eagle Point Resort in Anilao, or you’re spending your summer holidays in other beautiful Philippine beach destinations like those in Zambales, Palawan, Bohol, or Siargao in Surigao del Norte.

Sadly, not all tourists who visit these places know exactly how to behave properly when they do go there, and the traces of garbage that blight the pristine environments of these destinations serve as proof of the frustrating fact. This why to help remind people of the things to do and not to do when visiting our country’s most beautiful beaches this summer, we present this short and handy list of beach etiquette rules. Feel free to share it with your family, friends, and workmates you’re going on a company outing with!

1. Don’t litter—and pick any garbage you might find along the way

This is probably the most important reminder that everyone should keep in mind whenever they get the privilege to visit a beach in the Philippines. Remember that plastic litter is especially harmful to the environment since it can take hundreds of years for plastic to decompose. Such garbage can eventually harm marine animals (which will likely mistake them for food), or break down as microplastics that can contaminate our food chain. Other types of trash, like broken glass and sharp pieces of metal, can injure other people and their pets that visit the beach.

To prevent your litter from reaching the sea or causing harm on people and animals, always keep a trash bag within easy reach so you can bring your garbage back to your hotel or resort. Additionally, you can even use it to secure pieces of trash that you find and pick up along the way.

2. Don’t bring home seashells, corals, starfish, and other things you find on the beach

These objects and creatures don’t belong on your bookshelf—they belong to the sea. Corals and sea stars are actual living animals, while sea shells serve as home to a variety of sea critters, including a range of mollusks and crustaceans.

How then do you immortalize their beauty without taking them away from their natural environment? Easy peasy. Simply take photos of them using your smartphone or action camera (if you’re scuba diving or snorkeling), then publish them on your Facebook or Instagram account for others to appreciate.

3. Play your frisbee and ball games safely

Yes, the beach is supposed to a be place where you can enjoy your games freely, but not when there are people sleeping or enjoying picnics nearby. To avoid the danger of clobbering someone on the head or ruining a family’s peaceful beachside merienda, go instead to another spot where you can throw and catch frisbees and balls to your heart’s content.

4. Take care of your business in a proper toilet facility

You might think it’s okay to do your nasty business right there on the beach since the ocean is already one big toilet for all of the world’s fish, turtles, whales, and seabirds. However, let us tell you right now that it’s NOT okay. If there’s nothing stopping people from defecating or urinating in the ocean, why then should the cleanup of places like Boracay be an issue? And besides—while your child can probably get away with peeing in the sea—imagine what it will be like for another person to find the solid monster that you tried to bury a few inches under the sand. Yick!

5. Use coral-friendly sunscreen

Some sunscreen products, particularly those with the ingredient oxybenzone, is contributing to the massive coral bleaching that is killing thousands of square miles of corals all over the world. Make sure to buy only sunscreen that is labeled coral-friendly to protect not only your skin but the Philippines’ coral reefs as well.

6. Respect the space of other people you share the beach with

Sure, the beach is a public space, but it is a space that you share with so many other people who also want to enjoy their time to the fullest. As such, make sure to respect others’ personal spaces. As a rule of thumb, set your stuff up at a distance where others won’t be disturbed by you group’s loud voices, the music you play on your speakers, or by the sand that get flicked from your towel when you shake it off. Also make sure to never to leave glass bottles behind and to flatten back the spots on the sand that you or your kids dig up, lest someone else stumble over them and suffer a fall injury as a result.

The next time you go to the beach, remember the golden rule of visiting natural environments: “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.” In addition to that, make sure to respect the people around you and to keep everyone else’s safety and convenience in mind. Visiting a beach is not only a privilege, it’s something that entails responsibility. It is only by following even the most basic rules of beach etiqeutte that we can keep or shores beautiful and safe for everyone to enjoy!

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