When vacationing at the beach, we often find ourselves bringing a fair amount of beach gear: beach towels, sand toys, sunscreen, coolers filled with cold drinks, and more. Beach umbrellas and shelters (tents and umbrellas) are also part of the equation for many families seeking respite from the sunshine.

There are a few rules to consider when visiting Gulf Shores beaches, including those addressing erecting tents, umbrellas and other shelters.

  • Tents and shelters larger than seven feet by seven feet and taller than four feet are not allowed on public beaches. Individual property owners may allow tents and shelters on private property north of the city of Gulf Shores pole markers.
  • Any structures or equipment left on the public beach after 8 p.m., will be removed and disposed of by beach patrol.
  • Keep off the dunes. Staying off the dunes helps preserve the dune system and the habitat it provides. Use beach walkover and boardwalks where provided.
  • Observe and obey the Beach Warning Flag System.
  • Swim near lifeguard-protected waters.
  • Call 251-968-TIDE for current surf conditions.

It is important to remember that there is generally a breeze along the beach, and some days are breezier than others.

With that said, beach umbrellas, when not properly anchored, can become airborne and potentially cause injury.

In fact, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 3,000 people each year are rushed to emergency rooms for injuries involving umbrellas.

To help you avoid injury from airborne beach umbrellas, we caught up with Elizabeth Carter of Gulf Shores Beach Rentals for some tips on beach umbrella safety.

Lean them into the breeze so they don’t catch air and fly away.
Work the sand spike back and forth so they dig themselves about a foot into the sand, which anchors them really well. Avoid stabbing the spike into the ground; the rocking motion is key.
When anchoring tents, the secret is to take about a foot long piece of two-by-four wood and very strong rope. Take a shovel and dig that about a foot into the sand and then attach it with the rope to each of the four corners of the tent. Elizabeth says it works like a charm!

Here are some tips from BeachUmbrellaSafety.org:

  • Use Safety Devices like the BeachBub, sand bags to weigh the umbrella down and a screw-type sand anchor with as many tiers as possible.
  • Buy the safest umbrella with features like a fabric vented top, a sturdy shaft, sturdy spokes. Be sure to use a sand anchor.
  • Never leave a beach umbrella unattended. Put down the umbrella canopy if you walk away.

For more information on keeping beaches safe and clean during your stay, read about the area’s Leave Only Footprints program or visit the program website at cleanisland.org.

Did you know Meyer Vacation Rentals offers a wide variety of budget-friendly vacation rental properties, including condos and houses.