GPO Summer Travel Series: Beach Health and Safety

If you’ve been following our summer travel series thus far, you know we’ve been busy sightseeing, hiking, and exploring National Parks all across the country. Phew, we are exhausted. You’ve earned a break! It’s island time. That is, time to bury our toes in the sand, embrace the ocean breeze, kick back and relax before heading off to our next destination. Make sure you’ve got your flip flops, plenty of sunscreen, a good book and your boogie board. It’s back to the beach for us, our trusty travelers! But first, let’s make sure we’re equipped for a safe and healthy trip.

While the boogie board isn’t a requirement for good times by the Oceanside, that sunscreen sure is! Did you know there’s actually a right way to apply sunblock? And even with sunscreen on, those tricky UV rays can still get through to your skin! According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer, and the number of skin cancer cases has been on the rise. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Protect the little beach bums in your life and teach them healthy habits while they’re still young! It’s true. Applying sunscreen can be a messy drag. But GPO and the American Cancer Society are here to tell you this: it really doesn’t have to be all that miserable. Prepared with the support of the American Cancer Society, Mission: Sunwise Activity Book from the GPO Bookstore provides puzzles and pages to color about how to be safe in the sun and how to use sunscreen. It will be so worth it when you avoid that terrible sunburn … owiee … and can keep building as many sandcastles, hunting as many ghost crabs, collecting as many seashells and bobbing over as many waves as you want!

And while it’s important to keep ourselves safe and healthy at the beach, it’s also equally as important to make sure the ocean itself stays safe. According to, marine debris is defined as “any man-made, solid material that enters waterways directly through littering or indirectly through rivers, streams and storm drains.” Included in debris are plastic food wrappers, plastic bottle caps, grocery bags, plastic straws, plastic bottles, soda cans, balloons, glass bottles, cigarette butts, and fishing nets. All of these items, and many more, can potentially harm marine life. How? Animals often become entangled in the debris, causing them to have trouble eating, breathing and swimming. Many birds and fish also may mistake the debris for food. For example, plastic bags floating in the water strongly resemble jellyfish. This poses a major problem for the sea turtle, who often mistakes plastic bags for one of his favorite meals! What’s just as gross? This debris can even transfer up the food chain to humans, as we often enjoy fish and other seafood from the ocean. Help children learn about this very serious issue and become passionate about saving our marine life. Understanding Marine Debris is an activity booklet from the Department of Commerce and the National Marine Fisheries Service. A booklet for all ages, it contains an assortment of puzzles, brain-teasers and coloring activities to help children understand the problem of marine debris while having fun at the same time.

With its salty air, crashing waves, ocean spray and wild sunsets, the beach has the potential to create the absolute best memories. But it’s important to protect ourselves and our beaches and oceans while we can. Make your beach vacation a positive experience for the entire family with these publications from the GPO Bookstore. Rest up for now … under the protection of an umbrella, of course. There’s more summertime to come and more adventures to be had.

More from our Summer Travel Series:

GPO Summer Travel Series: California, Here GPO Comes

GPO Summer Travel Series: Exploring the Everglades

GPO Summer Travel Series: A Cape Cod Vacation

GPO Summer Travel Series: Your Trip to Yellowstone

GPO Summer Travel Series: Discover the Grand Canyon

GPO Summer Travel Series: What to Do and See in Washington DC

Don’t forget to check out our latest catalog America The Beautiful.

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications


Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Cat Goergen is the PR Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations office.

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