WHAT ARE BEACH CLEANERS?
Beach cleaners are machines that remove unwanted materials from beaches and make them comfortable and visually pleasing for beach-goers. Various beach cleaners can be used to effectively remove litter, sharp shells, glass, rock, and excessive seaweed from the beaches.
Beach cleaners come in all shapes and sizes. The most popular kinds are tractor-towed and powered by a tractor's hydraulic PTO shaft. Smaller walk-behind models are also manufactured for private beaches and sandy areas.
TYPES OF BEACH CLEANERS
Most popular beach cleaning machines today employ one of two prominent methods:
1. Mechanical Raking or 2. Sifting (screening).
1. Mechanical Raking or 2. Sifting (screening).
MECHANICAL RAKING BEACH CLEANERS
Raking machines employ rows of offset tines to rake through the sand, combing materials from under the sand's surface. The tines then deflect the materials off a curved deflector shield and onto a moving conveyor, which deposits the materials in the beach cleaner's bucket, or hopper.
Mechanical Raking's strengths are as follow:
- Versatility: Of all available styles of beach cleaners, mechanical raking technology is the most versatile, as it is able to remove large beach debris, in addition to smaller items, like cigarette buts and bottle caps. Driftwood, buckets, large boxes, excessive seaweed, and full garbage bags can easily be removed, as well. It is the best "well-rounded" beach cleaner option available.
- Speed: Beach cleaners that employ mechanical tine raking are typically able to clean at much faster speeds than sifters or screeners, because they remove the materials directly from the sand, instead of first removing the sand from the beach, passing it through screens to filter the materials, and then returning the sand to the beach.
- Tideline Cleaning: While mechanical raking beach cleaners work optimally in dry and wet sand, they are unique in that they can clean in wet sand, without picking up sand with the debris or getting clogged.
- Environmental Friendliness: Raking beach cleaners are generally less intrusive to the environment for a couple reasons.
- Firstly, they do not cause beach erosion. There has been a great deal of discussion about whether beach cleaners promote erosion over time. One 12-year study by Harrison County, Mississippi, claims that, because sifters lift the top layer of sand off the beach during the cleaning process, the newly-returned sand becomes more prone to blow away. Beach cleaners that employ mechanical raking methods have not been proven to have this erosive effect.
- Secondly, mechanical raking beach cleaners typically weigh less than other beach cleaners. Machines equipped with high-floatation tires , like the Barber Surf Rake, fall safely within the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's pressure restrictions and regulations for mechanical beach cleaning for preventing the eggs of sea turtles and other ocean life from being harmed.
- Sargassum & Seaweed Cleanup: Another major strength of beach cleaners that employ a mechanical raking system is their ability to remove sargassum/seaweed from the beach without clogging or removing large amounts of sand from the beach. See the section below for more information:
SARGASSUM REMOVAL: A MESSY TOPIC
In recent years, raking beach cleaners have proven especially important in sargassum removal. Sargassum is a heavy seaweed that covers beaches around the world, but especially those that line the Caribbean and Gulf Coasts. Piles of sargassum range in height from several inches to several yards deep! Mechanical raking beach cleaners have been used to mediate this ongoing problem, since the Sargassum does not clog the conveyor mechanism. Similarly, raking machines can remove large quantities of the sargassum in a short period of time. Read Travel Weekly's recent assessment of the issue.
SIFTING BEACH CLEANERS
Beach cleaners that employ sifting technology use a cutting edge to lift all the sand from the beach on to a vibrating screen. The screen then sifts the unwanted materials from the sand, while the sand returns to the beach, and the remaining debris is deposited in the bucket.
Sifting Beach Cleaners' Strengths:
BENEFITS OF USING A BEACH CLEANER
Beach cleaners make keeping large beaches clean a manageable endeavor. Large, state-run beaches need to be clean and safe for beach-goers. High-volume beach traffic often results in excessive man-made litter, which presents safety and liability threats. Beach cleaners remove glass, cans, cigarette butts, syringes, and other potential hazards. They also make the beaches visually pleasing and increase tourism. Cleaning by hand often proves too costly and takes too much time to ensure quality beach conditions during peak seasons.
Beach cleaning can be a lucrative business for contractors. Due to its unique niche market, contracting with a beach cleaner often fetches prices well-worth the effort. Beach cleaner machines minimize manual labor while maximizing effectiveness.
Additionally, some beach cleaners, like mechanical raking machines, can also be used for other common landscaping applications, like stone picking, litter picking, seed-bed prep, and de-thatching. This makes a beach cleaner a multi-season investment for landscapers and other contractors.
For an example of how a beach cleaner can help a contractor, check out Kady Landscape, which uses a beach cleaner to stand out in their local market.
Beach cleaners are a necessity for resort owners that thrive on beach-goers. Especially when paying premiums for their stay, visitors demand pristine beaches and amenities. A mechanical beach cleaner ensures that visitors will get the best use out of the beach during their stay and return for more.
Individuals who own private beaches or sandy areas can greatly benefit from a beach cleaner too. Walk-behind, self-propelled sifter units are easy to run, require little maintenance, and can ensure your beach is spotless with minimal effort.