A beach vacation may sound like the chance to shirk all responsibility, but remember you’re not the only one enjoying the sun and surf

The last thing I want to be is the fun police, but there are certain rules (some official, some unspoken) that should be followed at the beach. To ensure maximum enjoyment for you and your fellow beachgoers, be a good citizen when it comes to what you should and shouldn’t do while soaking up the sun.

The Unwritten Rules of the Beach

Don’t smoke on the beach: Smoking is already prohibited on Vancouver beaches, but keep this rule in mind while you’re away too. Not only can warm summer breezes blow secondhand smoke into the faces — and lungs — of other beachgoers, but cigarette butts are also harmful to the environment.

Don’t shake out your towel or blanket around others: What you are shaking off will likely fly into someone else’s face or onto their blanket.

Don’t feed the birds: Not only is trying to eat your beach snacks around relentless seagulls annoying, it’s not good for the birds’ health either. Handouts of bread, fast food and so forth can make birds sick and lead to overcrowding in places that humans frequent, like beaches.

Don’t leave trash behind: Not all beaches come equipped with trashcans, so pack a plastic bag in your tote to dispose of trash and take it away with you.

Don’t blast your tunes: I’m sure you have a really amazing beach playlist, but unfortunately, you are not the beach’s DJ. So, put your speakers away and pull out your headphones. That way, everyone can enjoy their own tunes, beach reads or just the gentle sound of crashing waves.

Don’t ignore local customs: As always when travelling, be respectful and observe local customs, including manners of dress and public behaviour. Teeny bikinis and public displays of affection may be acceptable at home, but in some countries, they’ll be frowned upon.

Don’t ignore warnings: Those signs warning of riptides, strong currents and jellyfish are there for a reason — to keep you and other beachgoers safe. So pay attention!

Claire Newell is the travel media expert for Global BC, host of the travel series Operation: Vacation, best-selling author, spokesperson, wife and mother of two.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.