Keeping Your Valuables Safe at the Beach

A very nice reader, Chris, from Oahu recently wrote me saying,

I noticed that a lot of visitors to Hawaii forget about protecting their cell phones around the beach.  They either drop it in the ocean, leave it by their towel and not realize that an occasional wave can reach the towel and anything else laying near it like a cell phone.

I have counted at least 3 friends and a family member who have their phones ruined by the ocean.  Even if you have cell phone insurance, you will still have to pay $50 for a replacement in many cases and go through the whole activation process.

Thanks, Chris, for suggesting this important topic that’s often not considered until it’s too late!

In addition to cell phones, it’s important to keep your money, identification, camera and car keys dry and secure. These days, most car keys have electronics embedded in them that will not work if they become wet.

Another important point about protecting your valuables that Chris hasn’t observed, but other readers have mentioned is that unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for an opportunistic thief to snatch your valuables when you step away from your beach towel or aren’t looking. To be safe, you really should keep your valuables with you at all times.

So, what can you do to protect your valuables at the beach?  I recommend that you purchase a type of dry bag or waterproof pouch that you can securely attach to your wrist or waist. Amazon has a very big selection of dry bags and waterproof pouches with straps with hundreds of positive reviews. For example, this waterproof pouch with a waist strap gets great reviews.

What other solutions do you have for protecting your valuables at the beach?

  1. I use a bag (VentureSafe 25L) or portable safe (TravelSafe 100) from Pacsafe, then lock it around a tree or another secure fixture if I can find one.

  2. One time I accidentally waded into the ocean with my iPhone in my pocket. It didn’t get submerged but it did get soaked. It quit working for a few hours but then it magically came back to life! 🙂

    Another time I was standing on a sea-wall enjoying the view when a wave washed over the wall. (Only about 2-inches deep) I was in my work clothes & dress shoes so decided to jump over the water. My iPhone also jumped – out of my shirt pocket and on to the cement in about half an inch of ocean water. The phone still worked but the camera was busted. Luckily – The Apple store gave me a new one – no questions asked. 🙂

    Friends of mine who surf typically lock everything in the car except for the car key which they tie to the waist-string of their board-shorts.

    Our family goes to the beach all the time and we take turns getting in the water. Sometimes we abandon our stuff but we don’t go far. The beach bag has a zipper and we cover it with a towel. Then we ask the person next to us to help us watch it for 10 to 15 minutes and we tell them exactly where we will be. Nobody has ever refused.

    Sometimes people ask us to watch their bag as well. Our typical reaction is “When will you be back?” Sometimes people say 15-20 Minutes. (Always happy to do that) A few times someone expected us to watch the bag for an hour or longer. The answer was “An Hour?! – Sorry, No.”

  3. You also need to be careful where you sit. I’ve seen people camp out too close to the ocean and then a big wave washes in and soaks almost everything they own. It happens faster than most people can react.

    People typically sit there for a few seconds in denial – “Oooohhh look, a big wave… No way that wave is going to come all the way out here… Is it?… OMG!!!”

    Most people are only fast enough to get on their feet and MAYBE grab ONE thing like the baby or a purse or a camera. Nowhere near enough time to rescue everything. I’ve seen waves come up on shore and take entire beach bags, towels, shoes, etc.

  4. Great advice, Sheila. I think I will look into those dry bags. I’m more concerned with theft than getting things wet. It’s a little easier if you’re traveling with others, because you can all take turns guarding the valuables while everyone else is in the water, but when you’re traveling alone, you either need to take it with you or don’t bring it to the beach. I’ve heard stories from friends who have dropped their cell phones in the water from a boat, but I hadn’t realized so many people sit close enough to the water on the beach to get their things wet!

  5. I use the Kyss beach/tote bag! It has a built-in locking system that is perfect for protecting items at the beach! The bag has a security system which consists of an extra long chain and security lock that not only locks the bag closed, but also allows me to actually lock the bag to another item(s), such as a cooler, chair, bench, tree or even the lifeguard stand,etc. (I like to wrap it around multiple items…my fiance’ says it’s overkill, but I feel soooooooooooo relaxed when I do!) Sometimes I just lock it closed to keep the kids from getting into things in my bag!

  6. I would get a box (like a small toolbox) that has a place to put a padlock on it and a heavy duty chain. I would use one key lock to chain the box to a fixed object to where a person cannot steal the box (such as the picnic table you use for your beach towels if beach provides a picnic table). Then I put all valuables including car keys and wallet and cell phone/ipod in the tool box and then put the key to the padlock you used to chain the box. Then I would close the box and lock it with a combination padlock. This way you do not have to worry about keeping up with any keys especially since keys can be easily lost in the sand or in the water. All you have to do is remember a combination.

  7. We used an AquaVault that we bought on HSN. It worked really well and alot of hotels offer it directly to their guests, we just bought one because we stayed for a week.

  8. 2/14/15
    I am traveling alone for work. I put my phone in my pocket of my shorts… Then buried the shorts in sand and placed my towel over the buried shorts. At Waikiki as soon as I jumped in water I looked back toward my towel. A gal walked by and grabbed my towel and my buried shorts and walked away … It happened soon fast … By the time I got on the beach … She was gone. WARNING… Leave nothing on beach … If yur alone. They are professional thieves in Waikiki. I did go to police kiosk and reported it. Later that eve the police did contact me and found my shirt and shorts … In women’s bathroom. Thank God … I had everything else in hotel room. Police said … Cell phones are a hot item to the thieves…. And yes the thief was never caught but she looked like a 20 year old cute tourist. tHEy are watching you and waiting to strike !!!!

  9. Better yet. Don’t take your valuables to the beach! And if you are thinking about putting them in the trunk, do so BEFORE you arrive at the beach. Sadly there are a thieves who sit with binoculars above some parking areas and note when you stash valuables in the trunk.

    Most of us who live here full time have learned to live/play without a cell phone at the beach. If you feel insecure without your phone….There ARE water proof little containers that have wrist bands.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like