Finding the Right Kind of Shade on the Beach

Mar 22, 2019

With Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer season at the Jersey Shore, just nine weeks away, it’s the perfect time to start planning for the long days of sun, surf, and sand on Long Beach Island – everyone’s favorite barrier island. Bathing suits and other summer clothing items have whetted nearly every beachgoer’s appetite for the warmer weather since right after the holidays, and while there is certainly nothing wrong with that, it’s also a good idea to consider how to protect oneself from UV rays beyond sunscreen and swim shirts.

Beach umbrellas, once a mainstay on summer beaches across the region before fading away in latter part of the last century, have staged a comeback in the 21st century with a new twist. Gone are the hard to open, easily rusted and impossible to secure umbrellas. In their place, umbrellas such as those made by beachBUB USA have made sun-shade devices a must-have for any serious beachgoer.

With a beachBUB umbrella, there is no hole to dig or screw used. Instead, the base is weighted using sand – easily found at the beach, inventor Bill Schermerhorn said. Its transport weight is about a pound, and the whole base folds up to the size of a small towel, he said.

The beachBUB began as a beach umbrella base-anchoring device in 2009 after Schermerhorn and his wife witnessed a child get injured by a fly-away umbrella on Vanderbilt Beach in Naples, Fla. When they returned home, he immediately began working on an idea to make a beach umbrella base as sturdy as those for patio umbrellas. The three components that make a patio umbrella so sturdy are the large footprint, its anchor point and the weight of it, he explained.

After a quick trip to a local fabric shop and hardware store, Schermerhorn built the first beachBUB that same night. He tested it out the following day with winds gusting at about 30 mph, and it worked. In 2015, beachBUB USA began offering an entire umbrella system, not just the base, he said.

Fly-away beach umbrellas are “a very serious problem, and we’re working to eliminate it. Our product does three things: It brings awareness to beach safety, gives a protocol for setting up beach umbrellas, and prevents the tipping and rolling of umbrellas.”

Before setting up a personal outdoor living space on any public beach, remember to check local ordinances governing what type of beach umbrella or tent is permitted. Some Jersey Shore municipalities were forced to limit type and size of beach umbrellas because they were taking over beaches and impeding others from enjoying the sun, surf and sand.

On Long Beach Island, there are no limitations in Barnegat Light, Harvey Cedars and Ship Bottom, according to their municipal code books. However, Surf City, Long Beach Township and Beach Haven do have some limitations on the books for the erection of any tent, beach umbrella or sunshade device.

Under the township code, the maximum diameter of a beach umbrella or other sunshade device cannot exceed 8 feet.

In Beach Haven, tents, shelters, gazebos and temporary and permanent structures of all sorts are prohibited on the beach or strand. However, sun shelters for children are allowed, but cannot exceed 16 square feet, contain more than 4 feet on any one side and or be taller than 40 inches. Pop-up tents are also permitted as long as they have no sides and a roof that doesn’t exceed 10 feet in width and 8 feet in height. A special event permit must accompany the use of a pop-up tent, which can be erected one hour after sunrise to one hour after sunset, according to the Beach Haven municipal code governing sun shade devices.

Canopy tents are conditionally permitted on the beach at the discretion of the Surf City Beach Patrol and code enforcement. Tents may not be larger than 8 feet by 8 feet, and they must be anchored. They may not be placed on the beach with the intention of securing space prior to beach use. You may be asked to dismantle the tent due to strong winds, complaints due to view obstruction, or other issues.

— Gina G. Scala

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