A beach is a sandy area beside the sea where people swim and enjoy the water. It is a popular location for tourists, as well as locals who like to relax and have fun in the sun. Beaches are formed by waves and currents bringing in material, such as sand pebbles rocks and seashell fragments to form the sand. Beaches also have vegetation that grows on it to provide food for birds and small animals.
The most common cause of sandbar formation is sand transport, in which the movement of the sea carries sand from farther out into the ocean. When the sand is carried far enough, it can build up to form a sandbar that is larger than the surrounding ocean.
Other causes of sandbars include tidal action and erosion. When the tide rises, it can cause a sandbar to form because the sand will be lifted higher than normal and then dropped back down as the water recedes. Erosion can also lift sand and carry it away from the shore.
Beach nourishment is an attempt to reclaim the sand lost through erosion. It can be done by digging out the sand or pushing in fresh sand from other areas. This can help a sandbar form, but care must be taken to make sure that the sand is placed in the right place so it will compact and resist erosion from strong wave or wind action. Also, foreign unwashed sediments can introduce flora and fauna to the area that are not indigenous to the location.
Some beaches have a classic bar-trough system with a series of sandbars along the length of the beach and paddling channels between them. This is the result of feedback between the waves breaking over the bars, sediment accumulation below the breakers and the gouging out of a channel by rips on the beach face.
Beaches often have a wide variety of activities taking place at one time, such as surfing and fishing. They can also have hospitality venues, such as shacks, restaurants and hotels or housing for permanent and seasonal residents. Beaches are important ecosystems and are home to a variety of plants and animals, including crabs, insects, birds, fish and sea turtles. They also serve as a major recreational area for humans and play a role in the local economy, as tourism is a significant source of income. Many beaches have lifeguards, bathrooms and showers to serve the needs of beachgoers. Beaches can be dangerous, however, and a person can drown in the surf or get entangled in ropes or lines that are left behind after a storm. For this reason, it is essential to be careful and obey the rules of a beach. It is also recommended to wear a life jacket when swimming in the ocean. This is especially important in rough seas. Those who go to the beach should always swim within the designated swimming area and watch out for dangerous wildlife such as sharks.