The Caribbean offers some of the worlds most beautiful beaches and best vacation spots. However, seasonal seaweed and sea grass or a change in the tide can cause catastrophic amounts of seaweed to accumulate on popular resort beaches. On many islands, beach tourism is the backbone of the economy. Therefore, the ability to not only remove vast amounts of seaweed quickly, but also to make the beach look as pristine as it did before the seaweed's arrival, is critical.
For many beaches in the Caribbean, sea grass/weed often arrives seasonally. It may hit eastward-facing beaches off the Atlantic heavily in November and December, while beaches on the westward side of the islands may get hit with weed at other times of the year.
Traditionally, resorts have their beach maintenance employees hand rake the beach and bury the weed/grass at another part of the beach or resort.
However, this poses several challenges to resorts.
Beach cleaning machines make seaweed removal exponentially more efficient and effective, and they have become a major tool in maintaining the Caribbean's reputation for pristine beaches.
Beach cleaners improve upon traditional hand raking methods in many ways:
When cleaning sea grass/weed with a beach cleaner--especially in the Caribbean, where vast quantities can accumulate quickly, a machine that utilizes a top-down cleaning method should be utilized.
Top-down beach cleaning means that the machine removes seaweed in layers, starting with the top layer. With each subsequent pass, the machine removes another layer of grass until nothing is left but sand. The machine can then clean deeply into the sand to remove any other debris or impurities.
This top-down cleaning method used by tine raking machines is the most effective method of removing seaweed, because it prevents the machine from getting clogged. Sifters and screeners that use rotating bars in the front of their machines to scoop sand and debris onto a vibrating screen try to pick up the seaweed all at once, which results in overloading the machine or tangling the weed around the front 'beater-bar.' Additionally, unlike sifters that utilize this beater-bar, the top-down method will not cut grass into smaller particles or 'chew up' the weed, which would bury the weed deeper into the sand and make it harder to remove.
The video bellow demonstrates how a tine-raking machine would remove large piles of sea grass in several passes. It was taken in the Turks and Caicos islands, where heavy grass is a seasonal hazard to their normally pristine beaches. The Barber SURF RAKE depicted bellow operates on numerous beaches on the island of Providenciales, which was recently named the 'World's Best Beach' by TripAdvisor.com. The resorts' beach cleaning programs have certainty contributed to earning this honor.
In closing, sea grass and seaweed are natural elements found in the Caribbean, but a tine raking beach cleaner that utilizes top-down cleaning methods can effectively mediate its negative impact on tourism and beach-goer satisfaction to make world-class beaches.
This blog is managed by H. Barber & Sons. Founded in 1966, Barber is the world leader in beach cleaner production and authority on beach cleaning practices. This site and blog have been compiled to provide information about beach cleaners--their methods of cleaning, importance, and many applications.
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