Pissing in the water is not the most common beach and pool etiquette violation, nor is it the most annoying. However, it is the only bad behavior that makes the top three on the lists of both. So say respondents to a beach and pool etiquette survey of more than 3,800 U.S. respondents compiled by TripAdvisor, a popular site among travelers and travel professionals.
And if you pee at Laguna Beach, you're really a louse. Actually, that's not mentioned in the TripAdvisor poll. But Sunset magazine's July reader issue did name Laguna Beach tops among the West's top 10 beaches, beating out Aliomanu Beach on Kauai's northeast shore and Cape Blanco State Park in Oregon. Maybe it has something to do with fewer etiquette violations.
Overall, 69 percent of travelers find that people often violate some form of beach or pool etiquette, while 13 percent believe that people always do, according to the TripAdvisor poll. A breakdown of results follows . . .
Most Common Beach and Pool Etiquette Violations
1. Beach chair hogging 2. Urinating in the water 3. Littering
Most Annoying Beach and Pool Etiquette Violations
1. Blasting loud music 2. Smoking 3. Urinating in the water
No Beach Chair Hogging
Eighty-four percent of travelers agree that people should not be allowed to "save" beachside or poolside chairs by getting up early and leaving their stuff on the chairs for hours. Twenty-four percent of travelers find beach chair hogging to be the most common beach and pool etiquette violation. One TripAdvisor Destination Expert says, "My bugbear is when people throw a towel over one of the highly sought-after sun lounges/cabanas, and then go AWOL."
Whiz in the Water
Travelers may find others urinating in the water to be annoying (16 percent called it the most annoying beach and pool etiquette violation), but it seems travelers don't practice what they pee: 53 percent of travelers admit to finding it acceptable to urinate in the ocean if other swimmers aren't near.
Don't Puff that Stuff
Eighty-two percent of travelers believe that smoking should be prohibited around the pool, while 62 percent would like to see it banned on the beach. Smoking also ranked as the second most annoying beach and pool etiquette violation, with 17 percent of the vote. One TripAdvisor Destination Expert says, "I can't stand when on a crowded beach day people smoke one foot away from you, and then discard their butts in the sand...I don't care at all if people choose to smoke as long as it doesn't affect me or the beauty of the beach!"
Sour on the Shower
Thirty-seven percent of travelers rarely shower before going in to the pool, and 14 percent admit to never washing off before hitting the pool. Thirty-one percent of travelers think it violates pool etiquette not to shower before entering the water, with the remaining 69 percent finding it acceptable to splash in the pool without first rinsing off.
Don't Stand So Close to Me
At an uncrowded beach, the majority of travelers (38 percent) believe that you should sit no closer than 20 feet away from another stranger. Twenty-two percent find 7-10 feet away to be sufficient. At a crowded beach, however, 28 percent think that no closer than six feet away is an acceptable distance. One TripAdvisor Destination Expert recalls, "I find the perfect spot on the beach, far away from the intrusion of kids, pets, and game players. Then a family of 12 with undisciplined kids sits right next to me! When the beach is empty move over!"
Playpens and Pooches
An overwhelming majority of travelers surveyed--97 percent--believe that it violates beach and pool etiquette when parents let their kids borrow others' sand or pool toys without asking permission. Fifty-five percent of travelers think it violates etiquette for parents to change their children's diapers in public at the pool or beach, and 73 percent even think the beach should be separated into kid-friendly and pet-friendly areas. Only 56 percent of travelers think that pets should be allowed on the beach at all.
Skimpy Double Standard
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Twenty-four percent of travelers think that it violates beach and pool etiquette for women to wear revealing bikinis, while 35 percent of travelers think it violates etiquette for men to wear speedos. However, 14 percent believe that speedos are only inappropriate in the U.S., while 21 percent think they violate etiquette no matter where they pop up. One TripAdvisor Destination Expert admits to being especially peeved by those who "either go topless or wear tiny little dental-floss bikinis on the beach or by the pool."
Twenty-two percent of respondents find U.S. travelers to be the worst beach and pool etiquette offenders, with Germany coming in second at seven percent. When asked which U.S. state's travelers were the worst beach and pool offenders, they awarded New York the honor, which came in at 11 percent of the vote, followed by Florida with seven percent and California with five percent.
(Clockwork note: Way to go, Golden Showers State!)