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Tide Pool Etiquette 101

Posted by Jody on October 26, 2011

Tidepooling is one of our favorite seaside activities! Tide pools are usually quite rocky areas, filled with sea water, that are very much exposed at low tide. In fact, at low tide they are often separated from the ocean entirely. It’s so much fun to peek around in tide pools, mostly because you never know what you’ll find from day-to-day and from tide pool to tide pool.  You may be lucky enough to see colorful sea stars, sea urchins, sea anemones, turban snails, barnacles and shore crabs, all in one trip! Of course, you’ll want to check the local tide tables in order to catch a low tide for the best tidepooling experience.

Beautiful Tide Pool Sea Anemones

It’s very important to remember that tidepooling, like shelling, has “rules of good conduct.”  Here’s a short list of rules tidepoolers should keep in mind for the careful and respectful exploration of these fascinating oceanfront communities.

Tide Pool Etiquette

1) Never remove any shells, rocks, plants or animals from tide pools. (This principle goes for both living and non-living items.)

2) Please don’t poke or prod the tide pool creatures. (No explanation necessary!)

3) Resist the urge to pick up the sea critters. Prying the little guys loose can be very damaging to them. Just settle in and watch them right where they are.

4) Sturdy beach-trekkers are best for tidepooling. -You should never go tidepooling barefoot.- The rocks and barnacles can cut your feet. Also, tide pool rocks can be very slippery!

5) Walk gently, taking care not to step on any plants or animals.

6) Be careful not to disturb the tide pool rocks or lift them to look underneath. The sea creatures are under the rocks for many reasons. Exposing them to the hot sun or predators could mean serious trouble.

7) Take away only happy memories and photos of your day at the tide pools!

Southern California Tide Pool

Many localities have tide pool regulations protecting the animals and plants within the marine intertidal zone habitats.  It’s always best to know tide pool laws before you go!

You can easily check out California-specific tide pool rules and regulations: California has designated Marine Protected Areas (MPA).  According to the California Department of Fish and Game: “Some marine protected areas have overlapping boundaries. When regulations differ between overlapping areas, the more restrictive regulations apply… What are Marine Protected Areas? Marine protected areas (MPAs) are separate geographic marine or estuarine areas designed to protect or conserve marine life and habitat. There are three types of MPAs designated (or recognized) in California: state marine reserve (SMR), state marine park (SMP) and state marine conservation area (SMCA).”

Laguna Beach, California is very specific when it comes to their tide poollaws! Municipal Code: “No person shall take, possess or disturb specimens of live or dead intertidal marine animal or plant life, or willfully injure, destroy or alter marine intertidal zone habitats.” (Ord. 1470 § 1 (part), 2007).

There is so much to see in a tide pool!

Tide pool regulations: Know before you go, and have a great day at the seashore!

Here are a few other helpful links on tide pools: Hermit Crab: A Different Kind of Beachcomber!

A Visit to the Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument

What will you find in a Southern California Tide Pool?

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5 Responses to “Tide Pool Etiquette 101”

  1. Elyza said

    Alkazaaam-information found, problem solved, thanks!

  2. […] Related beachcombing posts: Tidepool Etiquette 101 […]

  3. […] of its own, sea critters gather along rocks and jetties just waiting for you to explore.  Remember the rules, however, and leave the ocean as you found […]

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