By Ashley Hamm | It’s 4th of July weekend and everyone will be gassing up the boat, grabbing a cooler and heading to the Beaufort Sandbar. Rising out of the water as the tide goes out, it’s a temporary fun spot for everyone to gather. You’ll see folks of all ages in all kinds of watercraft at the Sandbar. You can’t miss it. Look out into the Beaufort River about halfway between downtown’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park and Beaufort Memorial Hospital…it beckons you.
Many people don’t understand the traditions the Sandbar holds. For us in Beaufort, it is more than just a place in the river…it is a way of life. Talk to any local, and you’ll find that spending days out there is a true Beaufort pastime. For those long summer days that turn into longer summer nights, the Beaufort Sandbar never lets us down. It has even inspired the t-shirt design for the Beaufort Water Festival a few years ago.
It’s an institution.
If you’re new to the idea, or perhaps new to the area, here are a few tips to make sure you have the greatest time possible:
1. The basics: make sure all of your craft’s paperwork is up-to-date and that you have a life jacket on board for each passenger. South Carolina DNR will stop you periodically to make sure you’re registration is current, and that you are following safety regulations.
2. Don’t skimp on the waterproof sunscreen. Just because it is overcast does not mean you cannot get sunburned. I have seen many people end up in the hospital from sun poisoning and terrible sunburns. Protect yourself and apply sunscreen before going out on the river, and reapply as needed. C’mon everyone, being sunburned is neither painless nor sexy.
3. Pack your coolers! Make sure you have plenty of food and drinks for those long days on the river. No matter what you’re ‘consuming’ at the Sandbar, bring some fresh water with you as well. Fried chicken and watermelon are Sandbar favorites. As all of us locals know, staying hydrated is an absolute must in this Carolina heat. It can be brutal and can lead to many dangers both for you, and for those relying on your captainship.
4. Learn how to read the tides. Tide tables are available in the local newspaper and online, and are quite easy to read. Make sure you check the tides before planning your day out so you’re not disappointed. Nothing is worse than going to the boat landing at the wrong time, after you’ve prepared for your day. Yeah, try not to be that person.
5. Be courteous to, and aware of those around you. Everyone goes to the Sandbar to have a good time. Whether you’re with your family or with a rowdy group of friends, remember that you’re all out on the river together and it’s only right to look out for one another. The Sandbar is an institution that we all share in. Unfortunately, we do know that sometimes bad things happen on the river, so it’s imperative that everyone keeps their eyes wide open, and ‘takes up’ for oneanother.
6. Take in that glorious Beaufort scenery. A sunny day on the river is Beaufort at its most majestic. We are truly privileged to live, and play, in one of the most naturally beautiful places on Earth. Take advantage of it every moment you are able to. The sunsets on the Beaufort River can be breathtaking, and you might just see a porpoise or two swim alongside your boat.
Above all, have fun! The Beaufort river and Sandbar are amazing places to spend your summer, and you are sure to create memories you won’t soon forget.