How to Help Keep Your Beaches Clean and Safe

Millions of people in the U.S. are lucky enough to live near a beach or a lake. And if you don’t personally live near a beach or lake, chances are you may take an occasional vacation to one during the summer months to go for a swim.

At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we are fortunate to live near some of the most beautiful beaches in the country—beaches that stay beautiful thanks to the hard work of the people who make an effort to keep them trash free and clean.

Protecting the water we live by is so important. We don’t know about you, but the last thing we want is to jump into the water and float around with a bunch of garbage. Gross!

Second, there are thousands of sea creatures (and lake creatures!) that depend on us to keep their habitats clean and safe. Sadly, every year animals die due to polluted waters.

There is good news though! It’s not hard to pitch in, do you part, and help keep the water safe for everyone to enjoy, whether you live near a beach or are just visiting.

This summer when you’re at the beach, we encourage you to lend a hand and help keep our beaches clean by doing the following things…

Pick Up Litter

It’s not uncommon to walk across a beach and find a food wrapper or a soda can. The next time you’re at the beach, bring a garbage bag with you. When you stumble upon a piece of litter, pick it up and throw it in your trash bag.

It may not seem like you’re making that big of an impact, but if everyone who visited a beach picked up just one piece of trash, it would make a world of difference to the animals that live in and near the water.

Use Reusable Containers

When you plan on spending an entire day on the water, it’s important to pack snacks and drinks to keep your energy up and keep your body hydrated. Unfortunately, many people pack their snacks and drinks in plastic bags and drink from disposable water bottles—items that can easily get left behind or blow away.

We know you’d never intentionally leave trash at the beach, but it’s really easy for lightweight plastics, water bottles, wrappers, etc., to get caught up in the wind and blow away without anyone noticing. To fix this problem, we encourage you to pack your snacks in reusable lunch boxes and fill up hard plastic, reusable water bottles to cut down on accidental litter.

Be Mindful of Using Water Toys/Floats

Rafts, water guns, and boogie boards all make playing in the water a lot of fun! And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying these water toys. It is a good idea, however, to be mindful and keep an eye on your beach toys—especially when you’re not playing with them.

It’s so easy for plastic squirt guns and floating toys to get swept away when a big wave crashes down on you. And during high tide, the sneaky water line creeps up and can wash away the toys and floats you thought were safely placed on the beach.

When you purchase rafts, boogie boards, surf boards, etc., look for the ones that have ankle or wrist straps so you don’t lose them if you get knocked over by a big wave.

Pick Up after Your Pets

If you’re a pet lover, you know how fun it can be for both you and your dog to spend a day at the beach together. What’s not fun is accidently stepping in a mess a dog left behind while you’re walking down the beach.

Out of respect for everyone on the beach, always be responsible for picking up after your pet.

Don’t Leave Cigarette Butts on the Beach

First and foremost, we strongly advise that you not smoke. Smoking leads to so many health problems such as asthma, respiratory diseases, and even cancer. It’s dangerous and harmful to your health.

For some tips on how to quit smoking, go here!

If you must smoke though, please be courteous and keep your cigarette butts off the beach. Not only is it disgusting for other beachgoers to have to walk over your cigarette butts, but it’s also dangerous for animals, like seagulls and sand crabs, that mistake the cigarette butts for food.

If your beach doesn’t provide a place for you to dispose of your cigarette butts, bring a plastic container to the beach with you to dispose of them.

Do you have any other tips about how to help keep our beaches clean? Please share them in the comments below!


Charleston’s Five Beach Towns

Whether you’re taking the kids out for sandcastles and swimming lessons, or your friends need a day suntanning with gossip and a good book, Charleston beaches have something for everyone. We’re known for gentle waves, fun beachside events and friendly neighborhoods, but how do you choose which one to visit?

Check out our short guide to plan a day-trip on the coast:

Kiawah Island: Known as one of the most popular southeast wedding destinations, Kiawah Island is all about Southern comfort and luxury. Not only can you enjoy ten miles of untouched beaches, the family can explore forests, sand dunes and enjoy wildlife. The Island is mainly known for its impressive golf course and resort, so if you get sick of the surf, you can trade it for turf. Coastal Living Magazine recently voted Kiawah the “Happiest Seaside Town.”

Isle of Palms: Six of the seven miles that make up Isle of Palms are accessible beaches, which are used by a number of year-round residents as well as thousands of visitors and guests. Many of the beach houses on the island are available for rent. It’s quiet and perfect for families who want a subdued getaway. Rent or bring some bikes and explore the island through its many bike paths!

Folly Beach: Folly Beach is where the action is! Catch some waves at the most popular surfing spot in the area. But note: From May 15th to Sept. 15th surfing is prohibited from 10 am to 6 pm from 2nd Street East to 3rd Street West, known as the swimming zone. From September 16th to May 14th, surfing is allowed in any area except surfing is always prohibited 200′ from the fishing pier. Build sandcastles and enjoy the sun on these wide beaches. If you want to escape the coastline for lunch, break with a picnic and check out the pier or gaze at the Morris Island Lighthouse in the late afternoon.

Seabrook Island: Exclusive and serene, Seabrook is a privately-owned island for members and their guests to enjoy. That’s right, you have to join the Seabrook Island Club to gain access to its amenities, but it’s worth it. Miles of pristine beaches, gorgeous dunes, old live oaks and more await. You can enjoy ultimate comfort, plus switch between playing in the waves and playing in the pool.

Sullivan’s Island: Sullivan’s Island is a truly day-trip spot, with hardly any vacation rentals and no hotels available. A serene and casual neighborhood, it offers the best in family-oriented activities. Bring your buckets, bikes and blankets for an all-day sun fest! Be sure to pack a cooler, too. This island is so quiet, it only offers a handful of restaurants. You’ll feel like you live there!

Remember to check beach guidelines and rules before you travel!