Council Lists Healthy Beaches, Provides Tips

The Clean Beaches Council on July 1released its annual list of beaches that have been officially certified as clean, healthy ,and environmentally well managed. This year beaches in 20 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.

"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  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 United States. Now in its 10th year, the program has been called the "LEEDS" certification for beaches. To become certified, beaches adhere to best management practices in

  • water quality,
  • beach and intertidal conditions,
  • hazards/safety, services,
  • habitat conservation,
  • erosion management,
  • public information and
  • education.

Among the 2009 Blue Wave beachers are Ofu Beach, National Park of American Samoa; Wildcat Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Calif.; Fort Lauderdale Beach, Fla.; Keauhou Landing, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Sand Pont Beach, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore of Michigan; North Core Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore of North Carolina; North Beach, Sandy Hook National Seashore of New Jersey; Malaquite Beach, Padre Island National Seashore of Texas; Tom's Cove Beach, Assateague Island National Seashore of Virginia.

The council also offer some tips for beach safety.

7 Tips for Family Beach Safety*

1. Keep kids within arms reach (especially in the sea, but also on land)

2. Don't dive in (2/3 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 Tom Griffiths, Ph.D., 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.

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