Keep your electronic devices beach-safe in Myrtle Beach

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Let's face it, in today's world, no one can — or necessarily wants to — be parted from their electronic devices for long. Whether you want your phone available to post fun vacation photos to Facebook, or need your Kindle or iPad for the novel you're knee-deep in, you will probably want to take your devices to the beach with you.

But the beach isn't always hospitable to electronics. Aside from potential water damage that can instantly disable a phone or tablet, sand can also be a threat, scratching screens and potentially working its way into small holes (such as the speaker, mic  jack or charging portal) and causing damage.

But you can have your electronics and your beach vacation, too, with a few precautions to protect your devices from water and sand.

First, some common-sense precautions. Avoid taking your phone or tablet too close to the water. You won't need your e-book in the surf, after all. And you can score some great photos from above the water line, so leave the phone in your beach bag if you're putting more than a toe in the water.

But there are some terrific ways to really protect your devices.

Waterproof cases are available for most makes and models of smartphones, tablets and e-readers. These cases — look for brands such as Otterbox and Lifeproof — generally add considerable bulk to your device, but will protect it from water damage and from sand getting inside the device, in addition to protection from damage due to dropping. Pro: The safest approach, with full protection from sand, water and impact. Con: Bulky, expensive, and sand can still scratch the protective screen cover.

Another option is to get a waterproof pouch. Available in custom sizes for most devices, these pouches provide water resistance for, generally, up to 30 minutes. Many also come attached to a long cord so you can hang your phone around your neck while you're walking on the beach. Always test these pouches for water resistance before using, as some products have been reported to fail. Pro: Lightweight, less bulky than a full case, convenient to carry, inexpensive. Con: Less protection than a full case, some reported failures.

Of course, there's also the DIY approach. A heavy-duty, zip-top freezer bag is remarkably effective at protecting devices from sand and water. A gallon size works for iPads and Kindles, quart size for phones (though there will be a little extra room).  Touchscreens work perfectly through the plastic, though photos taken through the bag may be cloudy. Pro: The cheapest option, disposable, convenient, fits any device. Con: No protection from impact, cloudy photos, may need to be replaced often.

(posted 6/26/14)