Beach umbrella safety a concern after boy impaled in Massachusetts

MARGATE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Officials and concerned beach goers are advising folks to properly secure their beach umbrellas after a 13-year-old boy was impaled in Massachusetts.

Michele Tucker says she was enjoying a day at the beach in Margate, New Jersey on Saturday, when suddenly people yelled "watch out!"

"An umbrella came out of the ground, coming right towards me - right behind me," said Tucker.

On Friday in Massachusetts, a 13-year-old boy was impaled by a beach umbrella, puncturing his shoulder. Officials say he's expected to be fine.

As folks set up their umbrellas in Margate, we asked them what they do to secure them.

We caught up with Tom Madorna from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania as he was setting him his umbrellas with corkscrew anchors.

"There's a mark on the spiral part and you have to make sure that it goes down into the sand at that mark or lower," he said.

From bungees to sandbags, the people we spoke to were serious about securing their umbrellas.

This year, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez has called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to improve regulations on beach umbrellas.

"No one is calling for a ban on beach umbrellas, but something is wrong when any consumer product can so easily take off and kill someone," said Menendez at a news conference last month.

Margate Beach Patrol officials advise beach goers to take the extra few minutes to make things extra secure.

"A rule of thumb - make sure you dig it down deep enough, then try to pull it out. You shouldn't be able to," said Mike Cincotta of the Margate Beach Patrol.

Another tip from the beach patrol: make sure you're angling the umbrella into the wind. And if it's really windy, don't put the umbrella up at all.
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