The beach is a place for unabashed relaxation, peace, solace, and sand in your nether regions. It’s for day drinking, day napping, and reading trashy tabloids and erotic novellas.

It shouldn’t be a place that brings the same kinds of stress and annoyance as your everyday life, but it can sometimes cross into that territory when rude assholes aren’t following common sense protocol.

This Labor Day weekend, don’t be an asshole. Follow these 5 tenets of beach etiquette to create an inviting environment for all beach patrons.

Keep Activities on the Dune Side

Beach athletics are one of the most fun parts of being on mounds of hot sand in direct sunlight alongside crashing waves. Who doesn’t love tossing a football around, throwing a frisbee, flying kites, playing paddle ball, flinging some horseshoes, or spiking a few volleyballs on a picturesque beach day?

The problem is, people are extremely rude, inconsiderate, and lack self awareness when it comes to the positioning of their friendly games. They’ll overthrow a football and end up hitting a family calmly laying on their beach blanket. They’ll run by and not realize that they’re crop dusting everyone with sand and surf.

The general rule of thumb is to keep the majority of beach games up by the dune side. You’re far enough behind people that you’re not creating a nuisance and there’s far less change of kicking sand and water on people or hitting them with flying projectiles.

The exceptions to the rule could be paddleball and a soft, foamy football because those items are unobtrusive enough to be played with along the border of the ocean tide without being annoying.

Don’t Obstruct / Down in Front

It’s early in the morning and you decide to get down onto the sand before the crowds start arriving. You stake out the perfect spot with a perfect view and settle in with your chair and cooler. The day ahead looks perfect.

Cut to a few hours later when a family of fat, smelly idiots draw a massive ring punctuated by a beach umbrella directly in your line of sight. Your day is ruined. You can get up and move, and many times I will, but there’s always the social awkwardness associated with that maneuver as well.

No, it can’t be expected that people will stay far away from you on a public beach, but you should at least take your surroundings into account when choosing a spot to set up shop. Leave a line of vision for the people behind you to see the ocean. Don’t put a beach umbrella directly in someone’s face.

Watch Down Wind

Going back to the topic of spraying sand and water on people via beach sports, there’s also the danger of doing so in just everyday activities as well.

When you’re shaking out your beach blanket, make sure that you’re doing it far enough away from people and into the wind gust that’s blowing away from others. No one wants a face or mouth full of sand when they’re reading a trashy sex novel in the sunshine.

Also keep this in mind when you’re using that gross spray-on sun tan lotion. That stuff is oily and full of chemicals and no one wants the mist clouds migrating in their direction. Be careful of where you’re applying and make sure that no one else is in the path of your friendly fire.

Inside Voices & Low Music

We’ve covered quite a bit about the invading of personal space, but what about invading their ears?

Anyone could tell stories about drunken debauchery they’ve witnessed on the beach and most if it involves loud people stumbling and making a scene, yelling and cursing in front of children. It shouldn’t have to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: use your inside voices. No one wants to hear the lurid tales of your sexual endeavors or how fucked up you got last night on Strawberritas alone in the back of your beaten down Dodge Caravan. Keep your personal conversations within your circle of personal friends.

Additionally, music is totally okay on the beach, but keep it at a low volume. Not everyone likes Dave Matthews Band or wants to hear that garbage while they’re trying to take a well-earned beach nap. Just keep the volume to a minimum so that only you can hear it in your immediate vicinity clearly. The ambient noise on the beach isn’t a bad thing as long as the volumes are kept to a minimum.

Watch & Wrangle Your Children

I’m sure this one is going to be controversial to people with kids and I can just hear the “He must not have children!” indignance as you foam at the mouth and ready your keyboard assaults to aim directly at my bow. I have nothing against children. No, I don’t have children, but I get along with my friends’ kids very well and I appreciate them as tiny humans.

I place no blame on the children themselves for their transgressions because they’re just being kids. It’s the parents of these little monsters who deserve the brunt of the blame.

Your kid should not be running up and kicking sand on strangers or dripping water on them as they walk by.

Your kid should not be screaming or throwing sand or chasing seagulls and trying to hit them with plastic sand pails.

You don’t have to shackle the child to your beach chair, but be aware of them and the way they’re interacting with your surroundings. Keep at least one eye on them. It’s easier said than done, I get that, but keep the little fuckers in line to the best of your human ability so that they’re not running wild like a house full of kittens.

Many of these rules may seem common sense, but you’d be surprised how many human beings choose to throw away their decency and engage in deplorable behavior as soon as they plop down their beach chairs and lather up their skin with greasy sunblock.

I beg you once again, from one beach goer to another, don’t be an asshole.

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