Open and Shut: Beach Umbrella Safety Focus of Campaign

Aug 30, 2017

Don’t put away those beach umbrellas just yet. The weather might not be cooperating this week, but there’s still plenty of warm weather and beach days left before fall settles in for good to warrant an umbrella, especially if you’re one of the lucky 40 who picked up a free beachBUB USA umbrella Sunday in Ship Bottom as part of the company’s safety campaign.

It took about 90 minutes for beachBUB inventor Bill Schermerhorn and three others to set up 40 umbrellas. As beachgoers arrived, everyone wanted to know what was going on, he said.

“The response was overwhelming,” said Schermerhorn, who chose Ship Bottom for the beach safety demonstration because the borough purchased about three dozen umbrella bases to stabilize beach badge checker stations. “Lots of people said they saw the base at the badge checker stations but didn’t know what it was.”

With a beachBUB umbrella, there is no hole to dig or screw used. Instead, the base is weighted down using sand – easily found at the beach, he 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, he said.

“There are three components that make a patio umbrella work,” he said. “It has a large footprint, an anchor point and weight.”

After a quick trip to a local fabric shop and hardware store, he built the first beachBUB that same night, Schermerhorn said. 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.”

Schermerhorn hopes to be back on the Island with another demonstration early in the 2018 summer season, adding, “We have a great following in Ship Bottom.”

Gina G. Scala

ggscala@thesandpaper.net

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