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15 Tips to prevent theft at the beach

Surely, it has happened to you on numerous occasions. You plan to enjoy the beach with your family or friends, and when the time comes to go into the water, you think, “Should I just leave my things here? The beach is crowded, anyone could take advantage of the distraction and steal my backpack where I keep my keys, money, phone, etc. But at the same time, it’s just going to be a couple of minutes, right? I don’t think anything will happen, will it?”

In the end, it’s always the same. We can’t all swim together, and someone has to stay behind to watch over the belongings, while the others come back early to avoid leaving that person alone. It’s a shame because no one can fully enjoy themselves. However, you shouldn’t resign yourself to this situation because there are plenty of tricks and easily applicable tips that will allow you to swim with peace of mind, knowing that no one will be able to steal from you.

Here are the top 15 tricks to prevent theft at the beach:


1. Trick of burying a bag in the sand

If you want to enjoy a nice swim with your whole family or all your friends, without anyone having to stay behind to watch over the belongings, it’s a good idea to use the trick of burying your items in the sand.

Usually, a shopping bag is used for this purpose, but you can use any object, such as an empty sunscreen bottle. Simply place your valuables inside it (keys, money, phone, etc.), dig a small hole, and safely store your belongings.

This way, pickpockets or opportunistic beachgoers won’t be able to steal from you because they won’t be able to find your belongings. Just make sure to remember where you buried them (next to the umbrella, under a chair, or any other landmark), so you don’t have trouble finding them later!


2. Waterproof case

Nowadays, you can find 100% waterproof cases that even allow you to use your mobile phone. With this option, you can leave your towel on the beach and head into the water with your waterproof case, where you can securely store your phone, keys, identification, and money.

In the past, these cases weren’t completely waterproof, and water would always find its way in, potentially damaging your phone. However, nowadays you can easily obtain an affordable and truly waterproof case perfect for the beach, like the one you can find at this link. With it, your belongings will be safe from water and sand.


3. Rent a locker

Renting a locker is a very useful and practical option that completely eliminates the risk of theft. It is becoming increasingly common, and many beaches now offer locker rental services. However, if you don’t see this service provided by the beach or any nearby restaurants, you can always look for a nearby store, as almost all shops have lockers. Keep in mind that you will need to go back and forth if you want to use your phone.


4. Car safes

If you’re someone who goes to the beach with the bare minimum and doesn’t mind leaving their phone behind for a while, a perfect solution for you is to use a safe box for your car keys. In the following link, you can see how a small safe box can securely store your car keys and more (money, cards, jewelry, etc.), allowing you to go to the beach without worrying about anything since everything will be safely stored in the car, with the keys protected in the safe box. The only thing you need to remember is the secret password!


5. Cap with a hidden pocket

Continuing from the previous point, if you’re someone who only takes the essentials to the beach and either doesn’t have a car or wasn’t convinced by the previous advice, you can always use a cap with a hidden pocket. In this pocket, you can store your apartment keys, some money, your credit card, or anything small. This way, you can swim with peace of mind without having to abandon your most valuable possessions.


6. Anchored security boxes

Lately, there has been a trend of using security boxes that take advantage of the force of the sand to prevent them from being moved. Although these boxes are still not very common, we can gradually see them being sold or available for rent on more and more beaches. With a quick and simple installation, you can ensure that the boxes remain completely anchored, making them impossible to remove (it would require a force of more than 100 kg or several minutes of digging to unearth the system).


7. Towels with anti-theft pockets

You should be aware that unfortunately, there are beaches with a high crime rate where thefts not only occur when people go into the water but also while they are enjoying the sun. Thieves take advantage of any carelessness to steal mobile phones or wallets.

To avoid these situations, there are towels with pockets where you can safely store your phone and money while lying comfortably on your towel. This way, no one will be able to steal from you while you’re on top of the towel.


8. Anti-theft mobile apps

Currently, there are several anti-theft apps that can make your phone vibrate and emit an alarm sound when any movement is detected, unless a secret code is entered. These apps also allow you to track your device using GPS and even render it unusable. This way, any thief attempting to steal your belongings will be deterred by the commotion caused by the app.


9. Neighboring camaraderie

If you establish a rapport with a nearby group at the beach, you can ask them to keep an eye on your belongings for a moment. They will likely agree, but keep in mind that they might ask you to return the favor later.

It’s best to ask families with children, as it is unlikely that anyone would betray your trust and steal your things in front of their own kids.


10. Rent a beach chair

Many beach chairs nowadays come with built-in safes or at least nearby locker services. If these anti-theft security options are not available, you can use the beach chair to secure a bag containing your belongings by using a lock or a sturdy rope. Unless a thief plans on carrying a beach chair away, it will be impossible for anyone to steal from you.


11. Check beach reviews

Always be aware of the location you’re going to. Just like there are safer streets than others, there are also safer beaches.

While you should always remain vigilant and take safety measures, you should adjust your behavior according to the environment and take extra precautions if you’re visiting a beach with a high crime rate. If you’re unfamiliar with the place you’re visiting, it’s useful to read reviews on blogs and internet forums. These reviews can provide information about the beach’s safety and other relevant details such as family-friendliness, instances of intoxication, or nighttime fights among foreigners.


12. Take turns watching

The foolproof trick is to take turns going into the water, ensuring that someone is always watching everyone’s personal belongings. It might be inconvenient as everyone won’t be able to enjoy the water simultaneously, but it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent theft at the beach since the presence of any person deters potential thieves.


13. Position near the water

If you choose to follow the previous advice and have someone always stay on the beach to watch over the group’s belongings, but your group isn’t very large and there’s always someone left alone without any company, the best alternative is to position yourselves at the water’s edge.

Although it can be a bit uncomfortable due to people walking along the shore, this way you can stay in a group with only a few meters separating you.


14. Leave belongings at the hotel

If your hotel is close to the beach, an ideal option is to leave all your belongings at the hotel and store the key or card for your room at the reception desk. This way, you can enjoy the beach with total security and peace of mind.

However, keep in mind that although hotel rooms are generally safe, there’s still a possibility of theft, and legally the hotel will not take responsibility for any losses. To learn how to prevent theft in your hotel room, you can check out our article on “24 Tips to prevent robberies in hotel rooms”.


15. Carry the minimum

It may seem obvious, but we often make the same mistake of bringing unnecessary items to the beach that we end up not using. Carrying more objects not only increases the chances of theft but also distracts our attention among multiple things, making it impossible to be fully aware at all times.

Additionally, avoid bringing valuable items such as expensive watches or earrings that are easy to lose in the sand and water.


What to do in case of theft at the beach?

  1. Ask nearby beachgoers: If your belongings were stolen while you were swimming, it’s likely that someone nearby might have noticed something. By asking people closest to where you had your things, you might gather some clues about what happened.
  2. Notify the beach attendant: While the primary responsibility of beach attendants is to provide medical assistance to beachgoers, they are present on the beach all day. If there are frequent thefts, they might have insights on how to help you. For example, they might know that thieves take valuable items and discard what they don’t need in a specific location or trash bin. Other beachgoers might bring these items to the lost and found office in the following hours.
  3. File a police report for stolen mobile phones, money, or personal documents: The chances of recovering your stolen items are usually low, but if there are surveillance cameras in the area, they might provide some assistance. Regardless, it’s important to file a police report, as it helps authorities increase surveillance if there’s a rise in theft cases, ultimately aiding other beachgoers. Additionally, if you have mobile phone insurance, personal insurance, or home insurance with extensive coverage, you’ll need a police report to claim compensation. Similarly, reporting the theft of personal documents is crucial to protect yourself from potential identity theft.
  4. Block your cards: If your bank cards are stolen, block them through your bank’s mobile app or by contacting your bank directly.
  5. Lock your phone and request a SIM card replacement: Using your phone’s IMEI number, you can call your mobile service provider to block your phone. It’s important to request a replacement SIM card and block the current one as well. With your phone in the hands of a thief, they could attempt to recover passwords for financial apps, brokers, social media accounts, etc. By having control of your phone, the thief would receive the new passwords.
  6. Request replacement of personal documents: If your personal documents are stolen, renew them with updated photos and, if possible, change your signature to prevent identity theft.


Final conclusion

For most of us, the beach is one of the favorite parts of our vacations. Don’t let thieves ruin your day and enjoy the beach with peace of mind and security. Use common sense and apply the advice that best suits your personal situation based on the beach you’re visiting and the items you plan to bring along.