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As crowds gather at the summertime coastline, so do their manners—or lack thereof.
TripAdvisor, a travel website, recently brought that revelation to light with release of results from its latest beach and pool etiquette survey of more than 2,000 U.S. travelers.
“For the second year running, Americans take the swim cap of shame as the worst beach and pool offenders, with New Yorkers named the worst culprits, followed by travelers from Florida and New Jersey,” reads a press release. “Eighty-two percent of respondents think that people often violate some form of beach or pool etiquette, while 30 percent have gone so far to ask a stranger to stop behaving rudely at the beach or pool.”
Blasting loud music, beach chair hogging and urinating in the water top the lists of most common and most annoying beach and pool etiquette violations. Eighty-three percent of respondents believe smoking should be banned at the pool, while 64 percent believe it shouldn’t be allowed at the beach.
Other offenses are people who dare to wear Speedos and skimpy bikinis at the beach, the former even more offensive than the latter, according to survey results, and more extreme the older the wearer(s).
“Piddling at the pool” is a no-no for 15 percent of travelers opposing urination in the water. Yet “53 percent think it’s acceptable to urinate in the ocean if no other swimmers are near,” and “4 percent maintain that it’s acceptable to ‘let go’ in the pool. Two percent believe it’s acceptable to do so in the hot tub.”
Beach boozing generally is viewed as OK, as long as people are mannerly about it. Just 11 percent deemed public intoxication the most annoying violation. Kids and pets are viewed as other annoyances, and 52 percent think it’s offensive for parents to change a child’s diapers at the waterside.
Other do’s and don’t’s: Don’t ask a stranger to help apply suntan lotion. Do have a shower before coming into the pool. Do keep your distance—at least 6 feet is a recommended buffer zone by 26 percent for not intruding on someone’s space at the beach, while 38 percent recommend at least 20 feet on an uncrowded beach.
Here’s what Sunset Beach sunbathers had to say about beach manners this past Monday.
Robert Castagna, who has a condo at Brick Landing, said the only thing that bothers him “is if you’re reading something, and some kid comes along and splashes the pages.” He adds it’s part of beach life, “and you have to be willing to realize that.”
His wife, Terry, doesn’t care for foul language, which she added is more prevalent in their native New Jersey than around here.
Lee Heinricher of Hanson, Mass., said people throwing trash and cigarette butts on the beach is a bummer. She’s even had to pick up after people.
Toni Tollison of Martinsville, Va., said beach rudeness reigns “when people don’t pay attention to where the sand is going” when they shake their towels off and when she gets run over by boogie boards. The latter is more an act of the ocean than human error, she added.
Kathy Hinson of Sunset Beach and Concord faults people feeding seagulls. “You sit under them and they poop all over you,” she said. “They took my Subway sandwich.”
Waiting for a parking space to open up is another pet peeve for her and her friends, Linda Kafka and Margie Calhoun.
Sunset Beach code enforcement officer Dan Colfer’s main beef is people bringing glass bottles to the beach.
“I think they know the rules and try to hide ‘em,” he said as he sat on his four-wheeler near the pier, adding otherwise he’s not seen “a lot out of place. Most people out here are very polite.”
Heather Walker of Sea Trail doesn’t like people climbing on the dunes or taking too long “rinsing things” at the shower.
“These are meant to rinse people—not things,” Walker said as she stood by the shower next to the gazebo. “Water is pretty precious in North Carolina right now.”
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email email@example.com.