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Standards Make a Splash at the Beach!

Now that the heat wave has passed, the weather is perfect for a trip to the beach. Whether at an ocean beach or a lake's sandy shore, Americans rely on standards to keep them safe during these summer trips.

Before even arriving at the beach, many people slip on a highly necessary accessory for beach time fun - sunglasses. ANSI Z80.3-2010, Nonprescription Sunglasses and Fashion Eyewear Requirements, is an American National Standard developed by American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-Accredited Standards Committee Z80 (ASC Z80), which is administered by the Optical Laboratory Association (OLA). This standard applies to all nonprescription sunglasses and fashion eyewear, detailing requirements for the accessories that keep eyes safe from the sun's rays. For more information on American National Standards for sunglasses, click here.

Once the towels, beach chairs, and picnic blankets are set up, many beachgoers head straight for the water. Swimsuits are comfortable and functional thanks to standards developed by ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator. ASTM D3994-02(2008), Standard Performance Specification for Woven Swimwear Fabrics, provides requirements on the length and width directions for men's, women's, and children's swimwear made of woven fabrics. A second standard, ASTM D3996-02(2008), Standard Performance Specification for Knit Swimwear Fabrics, provides similar requirements for swimsuits made of warp knitted fabrics.

Lifeguards are there to watch swimmers and splashers alike, but beachgoers must take care to follow the flags guiding them where lifeguards will be on duty. An International Standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) details the specifications, color, shape, meaning, performance, and use of these flags in several parts:

  • ISO 20712-1:2008, Water safety signs and beach safety flags - Part 1: Specifications for water safety signs used in workplaces and public areas
  • ISO 20712-2:2007, Water safety signs and beach safety flags - Part 2: Specifications for beach safety flags - Color, shape, meaning, and performance
  • ISO 20712-3:2008, Water safety signs and beach safety flags - Part 3: Guidance for use

These standards were developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC)145, Graphical symbols, Subcommittee (SC) 2, Safety identification, signs, shapes, symbols and colours. The ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator for this TC and SC is the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

Safety is a priority for all families at the beach. Thanks to American National Standards and International Standards, beachgoers can rest assured that their time on the shore will be as safe as it is fun.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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