Standard Consumer Safety Specification For Beach Umbrellas and Anchor Devices

W. CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., April 2, 2024 – ASTM International’s consumer products committee (F15) has developed a standard specification for beach umbrellas and anchor devices.

The new standard (F3681) is overseen by subcommittee F15.79 on market umbrellas. According to the subcommittee’s chair, Bill Schermerhorn, the standard is several years in the making and seeks to address known hazards posed by detached beach umbrellas.

"People don't understand the danger of windblown airborne beach umbrellas,” says Ed Quigley, an ASTM consumer member previously injured by an airborne beach umbrella. “An airborne beach umbrella is like a javelin with a sail attached. Everyone needs to know that people have died from these. If a beach umbrella isn't used with an adequate anchor device, it isn't safe.”

The specifications within the safety standard establish minimum requirements for safely anchoring all beach umbrellas. Participating engineers from the Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded after extensive testing that a beach umbrella 7.5 feet in diameter must be secured at the bottom pole with 75 pounds of resistance, or must remain secure in winds up to 30 miles per hour. The standard also addresses minimum requirements for larger umbrella sizes.

The development process has also involved manufacturers, and retailers to witnesses and survivors of beach umbrella accidents. Its intended use is by manufacturers, retailers, safety managers, consumers, and more.

“For decades, beach umbrellas have been designed and manufactured without the benefit of scientific testing on how to safely anchor and secure them in the sand,” says Schermerhorn. “The majority of beach umbrellas used today don’t include any anchoring device at all, they are simply stuck or screwed into the sand. This standard will force manufacturers to include a compliant anchoring device or recommend one that will make their product safe. All users of beach umbrellas, including commercial entities, will know through labeling if they are using a compliant and safe product.”

ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. Become a member at www.astm.org/JOIN.

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Click here to be taken to the full F3681-24 Beach Umbrella Safety Standard document on the ASTM web site.

The beachBUB ULTRA Beach Umbrella Base is fully compliant with the ASTM F3681-24 Beach Umbrella Safety Standard. Here's a tutorial video that provides a step-by-step demonstration of the proper way to set up your beach umbrella base.

A few important tips to remember...

  • Use your hand or foot to clear away the top few inches of dry fluffy sand and prepare a flat spot for your beachBUB® Base.
  • Use the Sand Gopher to create the hole in the sand for your umbrella pole to insert into.
  • ALWAYS FILL YOUR BASE COMPLETELY FULL USING YOUR FOOT TO PACK THE SAND DOWN INTO THE BASE AS YOU GO.

After filling, your base should be firm and taut and you should be able to bounce a coin off the sides of the base.

In order for the base to be compliant with the Safety Standard it must contain at least 75 lbs of sand. When properly filled, the beachBUB ULTRA Beach Umbrella Base is designed to hold a total of 125 lbs of sand.