The history of the umbrella dates back 4000 years. Their use was for protection from weather elements, like rain, snow, and the hot sun, but also to symbolize wealth, and rank among the community.
Fast forward to the modern-day and the use for the umbrella on the beach is far from royalty.
In fact, unless it’s obvious a beachgoer was part of some beach club where their designated spot on the sand came exclusively with reserving an elaborate beach umbrella, lounge chair, and fresh towel, it’s not easy pointing out who is wealthy and who is not on the beach. All the umbrellas kind of look the same, or do they?
Just like luggage at the airport people can also use beach umbrellas for identification. Well, I am excluded when it comes to luggage. My black suitcase looks like everyone else’s on the carousel. But eventually, I find it.
I guess the same goes for the location of the proverbial beach umbrella. If you arrive late to the party, the navigation as to where everyone is set up on the beach becomes a challenge. Once you pass the beach badge checker and walk your way through the dunes, onto the hot sand the real challenge begins as a sea of parasols hits you smack in the face. You said you’re set up where?
I see a tent, an “easy up” umbrella, a traditional umbrella, a colorful umbrella, a solid color umbrella, a name brand umbrella, the inverted umbrella, the umbrella the wind just overwhelmed and went sailing down the beach. But I don’t see your umbrella. Am I at the right location?
If you look carefully, chair, cooler, and umbrella placement are as unique to user preference as arraigning the furniture in one’s home. Everyone seems to have their own stake in the sand.
Some come with creative ways to battle the ocean winds and creatively anchor their umbrellas while others choose not to use them at all. That’s dangerous.
Back in 2018, a runaway beach umbrella impaled a British woman in her ankle as she enjoyed a day at the beach in Seaside Heights. Other accidents of the same have occurred in other beach towns.
These medical emergencies caught the attention of Monmouth County Assemblyman
“secured to the ground using an auger, sandbag, or another anchoring device that restricts the uncontrolled movement of the beach umbrella due to wind.”
The bill language goes on the state...
“A person who violates the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense, and $250 for the third or subsequent offense.”
Who knew? U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, says over 2,800 injuries were caused by airborne beach umbrellas between 2010 and 2018.
During a recent trip down the shore at Seaside Park, I encountered many different looks of colorful and individual styles of presentations.