Few things are as synonymous with summer recreation as a day at the beach enjoying the sun, sand and surf. Whiling away the hours at the coast is an ideal way to get fresh air and enjoy family or solitary time and also can be an entertaining way to exercise and learn about marine life.
While a beach isn’t a beach without sand, sand can adversely affect beach excursions. Sand is a loose, granular material that blankets the coastlines of beaches, lakes and riverbeds. Depending on location, sand is comprised of many materials and comes in a vast array of colors. The resource LiveScience says silicon dioxide in the form of quartz is the most common component of sand. Feldspar, mica and rock fragments are other materials. In tropical locations, the sand varies because there are no rich sources of quartz nearby. Tropical sand may take on a white or pastel hue thanks to the shells and skeletons of reef-living marine organisms that make up the sand in these locations. Black sand is comprised of volcanic glass.
Regardless of its composition, sand is a nuisance to some people. Because it is lightweight and can stick to clothing and other items, sand often follows beach revelers home. During and after a beach trip, these suggestions can make sand less problematic.
• Protect the skin. Sand reflects the sun’s rays and can be hot to the touch. Experts estimate that beach sand can reach 120 to 130 F. Wear sandals or water shoes to protect delicate undersides of the feet. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen to all areas of the feet, which are vulnerable to sunburn.
• Powder up. Baby powder, made of simple cornstarch, can help remove sand from the feet and body. Apply a thin layer to areas where stubborn sand is sticking, and it will fall away.
• Avoid digging dangers. Digging holes in the sand seems like fun, but it can be dangerous if a collapse occurs. Harvard researchers have catalogued 72 sand collapse stories over the past decade-plus, and 60 proved fatal. A good rule of thumb is to dig sand holes that are no deeper than the knees of the smallest person in the hole.
• Rinse all items. Shake and rinse all beach toys of sand before returning home. Hang towels, coverups and other clothing outside to shake off on a clothesline before laundering. This will cut down on the amount of sand tracked inside.
Sand can be a bit of a nuisance. Make summer excursions more fun by handling sand effectively.