14 Terms Every Beach Lover Should Know - 30A


14 Terms Every Beach Lover Should Know

By: Rachel Kester | Posted Oct 11, 2021

Asked to think of beach-related words or phrases, most people throw out things like ocean, saltwater, palm trees, boardwalks, seashells, possibly a cocktail or two. While these are definitely great ways to describe the beach, there are plenty of other interesting and important terms that all beach lovers should know.

We’ve outlined fourteen of these terms for you to know and use on your next trip.

1. Flotsam

When shipwrecks or treasures from the sea drift up to shore, it’s known as a flotsam. So, when you find a boat washed up suddenly one day on the sand, that’s a flotsam.

2. Jetsam

Jetsam is the opposite of floatsam. This is when things are intentionally thrown overboard to help lighten a boat’s load.

3. High Tide

True to its name, high tide is when the tide is at its highest point. It can be choppy and rough but it’s also often the best time to go sailing and fishing.

4. Low Tide

Low tide is the lowest point of the tide. When the tide draws back due to the intense gravity of the moon, it shows all the hidden treasures beneath the ocean you can explore for a bit, like tide pools and sandbars.

5. Sandbar

Also known as a shoal, a sandbar is a large ridge of sand built up by currents.

In other words, it’s basically just a small platform of sand that descends into the middle of a body of water. At low tide you can usually walk out on it.

6. Beachcomber

Do you enjoy walking along the sand searching for shells or other signs of sea life? What about taking metal detectors out and trying to find buried treasure in sand?

If you do, you’re a beachcomber, or in other words, someone who enjoys scavenging along the sand looking for things.

7. Whitecaps

If you look out at the ocean you’ll more than likely see faint white lines everywhere. This isn’t some trick of the sun, but rather whitecaps. These outline the tips of small ocean waves with foam which adds a nice contrast to its blue water.

8. Seamark

Also known as a beacon, seamarks are the large and often colorful objects you see floating out in the middle of sea. They’re designed to help boaters navigate the sea better by avoiding things like dangerous currents and low water levels.

9. Lagoon

While it has a rather comical sounding name, a lagoon is actually a quiet body of saltwater that’s separated from a larger body of water by a sandbar.

These hidden spots often have beautiful shades of blue water and mysterious sea life which makes them a beach lover’s dream to find.

10. Ebb Tide

Ebb tide is the period between a high and low tide. It’s a peaceful time where you can walk along the sand by the edge of the ocean without fear of the tide suddenly rushing up on you.

11. Sand Dune

If you do a lot of beach hiking or enjoy lounging in uninhabited beach settings, you’ve probably come across sand dunes. These are towering piles of sand created by the force of the wind. They provide natural protection and a beautiful rugged look to the surrounding landscape.

12. Breakwater

A breakwater is long barrier that helps to protect the shore from massive waves. It’s also similar to a jetty, which is a long line of boulders that extend out into the water to prevent the shore from ocean destruction. These also can help boats out in the water see where the shore is better and can act as a pier for them.

13. Undertow

Undertow is just another name for a rip current and can be one of the most dangerous parts of the ocean.

These swirling masses of water spiral down into the sea and can be a deadly trap for swimmers who don’t realize they are caught in one.

14. Thalassophile

If you’re reading this, you’re probably an ocean lover. Or in other words, you’re a thalassophile, someone who loves the ocean.

As a thalassophile, you can use these words to help you better connect to the beach and enjoy the beauty it has to offer even more. BEach Happy and Knowledgeable!

Discover more about beaches, beach living and the beach lifestyle that 30A.com features every day. Facebook and Instagram are great places to start.



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Rachel Kester is a Journalism major who lives in Virginia. She loves spending her summers at the beach and capturing its natural beauty through photographs. She blogs at Musings of a Coffee Addicted Bibliophile.