Safety and kindness needed on the beach!

August 7, 2022

Like many residents, I don’t frequent the beach as often as I want during the summertime given the number of tourists who want to enjoy their vacations as well. But at a recent visit to Bethany Beach, I saw a need to better the experience for everyone.

Arriving early afternoon, our threesome found a spot in what I would call row three. It was a lovely day with a calm breeze and our view was more than adequate, except that the family near us positioned their chairs so that one chair was six feet from all of the others, and Dad was having a loud conversation with Mom whose chair was six feet away.

We ignored them and began our own small talk.

His children were digging a hole about four feet deep to the right of us, and my friend asked, “Do you think we should tell them that digging holes is against the rules?”

“Really,” I said. “I didn’t know about this rule.”

“Someone will come by and tell them to stop; just wait,” she explained.

Sure enough, a man with an official-looking shirt arrived about a half-hour later and told them to stop. The official was angry because he had been there earlier and had told the boys to stop digging.

“Holes are dangerous as people can fall in and hurt themselves. Is your father here?” the official asked.

One son pointed to his dad, who was reading his cellphone and seemed to ignore the situation. The official explained to the father that if his son didn’t stop, he would be fined and asked to leave.

My friends and I agreed that none of the kids really understood why they couldn’t dig the hole, especially since they argued that they planned to fill it in before they left.

A mother and her son had arrived a half-hour or so before this incident and had placed her towel and backpack on an open area before leaving to frolic in the water. Now a family of five had arrived carrying what looked like tents but turned out to be hammocks, and they set up camp one foot away from the mother’s towel.

When she saw what was happening from the water, she came ashore, shook her head, scooped up her towel and walked away without saying a word. The larger group had claimed their territory and never took notice of the woman whose one towel didn’t seem to count.

When I got home and researched the beach rules for our area, Bethany was the only town whose rules included no digging holes. Next I read an article about a brother and sister who had dug a 10-foot hole on the Jersey shore this May. When it collapsed on them, the sister survived, but the brother did not.

An article from the Associated Press dated May 19, 2022, reported, “A town on North Carolina's Outer Banks issued a public plea to beachgoers about the dangers of digging holes on the oceanfront just hours before a man died at a New Jersey beach when a hole collapsed on him. Deep beach holes, in addition to possibly resulting in injuries for those who dig them, could delay or damage rescue vehicles operating on the beach, officials said in their online post. They can also trap sea turtles and their hatchlings, leading to fatal results.”

We all deserve some leisure time and the chance to relish in the joys of relaxing and playing at the beach. While I enjoyed last week’s visit, it reminded me that I enjoy the experience more when I arrive at 9 a.m. and leave at noon, or when I arrive after six p.m. and stay until sunset.

Just as road traffic is abominable, so can beach user traffic test our patience. We can follow the rules, especially if we understand their importance, and we can share the public beaches if we choose to show respect for everyone around us.

Reach Lisa Graff at Find her on Facebook by searching Our Senior Yearbook; on Twitter @#lisajgraff1 and at her website,


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