Provided by the Clean Beach Council
On July 1, the Clean Beaches Council released its annual list of beaches which have been officially certified as clean, healthy and environmentally well managed. The announcement was made as families and beach-lovers around the country prepare to flock to the beach for the July 4th weekend, the biggest beach-going weekend of the year.
This year, beaches in twenty states and U.S. territories, including American Samoa, California, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, are on the list. But only two beaches in South Carolina were certified as a Clean Beach: Surfside Beach in Myrtle Beach and the Isle of Palms.
“Because of the recession, the summer travel season is expected to be lighter than it has been in recent years, according to the Travel Industry Association of America, but still beaches remain one of the most popular destinations,” stated Walter McLeod, President of the Clean Beaches Council. “Even though millions of Americans spend time at beaches, there is still no easy way to determine which are clean and well managed. We hope our program increases public awareness of our individual responsibility to keep beaches clean and safe.”
The Blue Wave is the first environmental certification program for beaches in the U.S. Now in its tenth year, the program has been called the “LEEDS” certification for beaches. To become certified, beaches adhere to best management practices in the following areas: water quality, beach and intertidal conditions, hazards/safety, services, habitat conservation, erosion management, public information and education.
Seven tips for family beach safety*
1. Keep kids within arms reach (especially in the sea, but also on land).
2. Don’t dive in (Two thirds of catastrophic neck/head/spinal injuries occur in the ocean and sea).
3. Knee deep is too deep (strong winds, waves and currents create dangerous rip currents that can sweep a child out to sea).
4. Know before you go (swim near a lifeguard – know your flags; red means stop/green means go).
5. Take frequent breaks (every hour take a sun, bathroom, or water break).
6. Go with the wind (children tend to take the course of least resistance – follow the wind to find your lost kid).
7. Look but don’t touch (call local authorities to help injured/stranded sea life).
*The Clean Beaches Council has collaborated with Dr. Tom Griffiths, Director of Aquatics at The Pennsylvania State University to produce the “7 Tips for Family Beach Safety.” This guide is meant to help families make the most of their trip to the beach.