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The dangers beach umbrellas pose when wind whips

Beach umbrella in sunshine
Justin Ballard
A beach umbrella can become a dangerous object when picked up by strong wind gusts.

Sea breezes can provide cooling relief along the more than 1300 miles of coastline in the Sunshine State, but that breeze can pose danger when beach umbrellas are not secured correctly.

A 63-year-old South Carolina woman was killed last Wednesday due to chest trauma when a beach umbrella was blown from its anchoring by a strong gust of wind. While deaths from beach umbrellas are not a common occurrence, thousands of injuries occur every year according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Beach umbrellas have a spiked end to help drive them into the sand, but their wide canopy can get caught up in strong gusts of wind if they are not secured properly. This results in beach umbrellas that act as wind-blown missiles, posing a serious danger to any person along the beach.

There are some ways to ensure the proper grounding of a beach umbrella. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends driving beach umbrellas to a depth of at least 16 inches, rocking firmly back and forth until its buried deep with sand packed tightly around the base. While setting up the umbrella, it is recommended to tilt the umbrella into the wind to avoid any possibility of wind lifting the umbrella out of the sand. The best way to ensure a secured beach umbrella is to anchor the base with some form of weight.