Feeling like a kid again, we head to the beach and build sandcastles of alligators, dolphins and sea turtles, but the ultimate sand experience isn’t complete without digging a hole up. in China ! As children, this is where our imagination took us.
But seriously, there is a dangerous side to digging a deep hole and leaving it empty overnight.
It can cause serious harm to humans, wildlife, and emergency and rescue vehicles.
Regular beach walkers have noticed more and more deep holes being dug on the beach and left overnight. Some pits are as deep as three to four feet deep. And it’s not just children anymore – these deep craters or pits are dug by shovels (not children’s shovels) and by young, strong adults. I don’t think they realize how dangerous these unfilled pits are. Even a fairly shallow hole can cause an unsuspecting walker or beach runner to sprain their ankle or break a bone.
There are no lifeguards on our beaches to monitor and advise diggers to fill holes at the end of their visit. It is not illegal to dig a crater and leave it overnight. There are no rules as to the recommended “safe” hole depth because there is no such thing. It is so easy to leave these holes unattended, posing dangers to other visitors.
What about its implications for the sea turtles that nest on Florida beaches from May 1 to October 31? Imagine a female loggerhead sea turtle weighing 200-300 pounds landing to lay her eggs on our Marco Beach. It’s dark and she feels comfortable stepping forward, one heavy step at a time, then KA-BOOM – into the hole, she tumbles!
She falls on her back and gets stuck until the morning when a forklift can get her out of that pit safely! The fall could possibly injure it and crack its shell or break a fin. This will certainly present a challenge for the rescue team.
How about a man-related storyline? You’re an early walker on the beach with your headphones on and all of a sudden you find yourself falling into a deep sand pit. You will be a very lucky person if you come out of this fall uninterrupted.
If this happens at night, will anyone hear your cries for help? Please, please remind every visitor to our beach to have fun but play it safe and at the end of the day fill in the holes you have dug, no matter how shallow- they.
April Beach Activity Report to City Council
April’s beach activity was similar to March’s in number of events and hours of service. Officers spent 295 hours patrolling beaches in April compared to 309 hours in March. The number of incidents requiring an officer response included: debris/litter pick-up, a 25% increase this month compared to last month; glass on the beach, a significant increase this month compared to last (almost twice as much) and holes on the beach needing filling, up 150% for April compared to March. Beach patrol officers filled 42 holes on the beach in April.