Summer Fun

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Protect your belongings at the beach

Spending time at the beach is a popular form of recreation and keeping cool when temperatures soar. A day of swimming necessitates bringing along supplies, namely towels, sunscreen and maybe even a bestselling novel. Having a few dollars on hand also can be beneficial, especially for those who plan to visit shops or concession stands along the boardwalk. But keeping your belongings safe at the beach while you're playing in the water may require a little ingenuity.

Many beachgoers want to enjoy the sand and surf. However, a select number of people visit the beach hoping to take advantage of vulnerable people who leave their valuables unattended. When swimmers wade into the water, potential thieves may be canvassing the personal belongings swimmers leave behind, so it's best that swimmers take steps to protect their valuables.

* Do not bring valuable items. It is best to leave expensive tablets, smartphones and jewelry at home if at all possible. If you are a beach reader, invest in a paperback for summer reading and leave your e-reader safely at home. Remove jewelry before you leave for the shore. Rings, earrings and necklaces can come off in rough surf and be lost forever. Flaunting a lot of jewelry could make you a target for theft. Establish a beach wardrobe of inexpensive attire that won't be missed if they happen to be stolen.

* Don't advertise what you have. Avoid flashing cash or credit cards at the beach. Try not to showcase certain items, such as mp3 players or costly cameras, that you brought along to the beach.

* Camouflage money. Wallets left behind on the sand become easy targets. Find ways to keep money and other belongings out of sight. A good idea is to use an empty sunblock container as a money holder. Clean it thoroughly and allow to dry. Cut the container in half or cut the neck of the bottle enough so you can easily insert cash, phones and keys. Stashed with other beach supplies, sunscreen will not look out of place. Women can store money in a sanitary napkin wrapper as another option. Any container that would blend in with other beach supplies will suffice.

* Keep cash and cards to a minimum. The beach is not the place to bring all vital documents and large amounts of cash. Carry only what's needed, which may include only a few dollars and a driver's license. Should personal effects become stolen or get swept away by the waves, it is much easier to only replace a few items instead of the contents of an entire wallet.

* Set up camp far from the incoming tide. Sometimes the incoming surf is a greater danger than potential thieves patrolling the sand. If the tide is coming in or if the waves grow rough, clothing, shoes, towels, and other belongings can be quickly dragged out to sea. It may require a bit of a hike to the water, but placing blankets, tents and umbrellas far enough inland on the beach can save your belongings from being washed away.

Ensure a trip to the beach is a safe and enjoyable venture. Keep money, keys and other personal effects in mind when packing for your trip.

Gadsden Times