Unless your house or holiday house happens to be walking distance from a beach, chances are you take your car keys, house keys, money and phone with you. But where do you safeguard your valuables when it’s time for a dip? Well, that’s a complex question.

Under your hat
Leaving your stuff in plain view would be better. That might, at least, give the potential thief pause – make them wonder if they weren’t being watched or somehow set up. C’mon. You’re better than this.

Inside your shoe
Jerry Seinfeld did a sarcastic bit on this one. “What criminal mind could penetrate this fortress of security? I tied a bow. They can’t get through that. I put the wallet down by the toe of the sneaker. They never look there. They check the heel, they move on.” Yeah. It didn’t work in 1991, even when your valuables were small enough to fit in a shoe. And you can forget it now, with your Kindle and iPhone X. Also, who wears closed-toe shoes to the beach?

In your beach bag
Not bad, not bad. Just make sure it’s a nice deep bag and your exxy stuff is right at the bottom. Of course, someone who’s trashy enough to root through your bag is just as liable to take the whole thing with them, but there’s not much you can do about that.

Inside an empty chip bag, takeaway coffee cup, et cetera
Now we’re getting somewhere. What petty, opportunistic looter would think to probe inside your used packaging? Especially if you used an objectively terrible flavour of chips, such as cheese and onion or Savoury Shapes? It’s genius. Cheap. Almost zero preparation required. The only thing you have to worry about is stray chip crumbs or latte dregs finding their way into your phone’s orifices. Or a do-gooder innocently collecting your litter to throw it away.

Inside a (clean) nappy
On paper this one’s even better than the chip packet. Put your valuables in the nappy, scrunch it into a ball, then seal it closed with the adhesive tabs, to make it look, you know, used. The would-be beach brigand will surely be deterred by the stinky threat lurking within. Nappies are also water- and sand-resistant and start life clean, ready to nurture your precious valuables with the kind of softness usually reserved for baby’s bums. But unless you have a baby, or know someone who does, you’ll need to buy an entire pack of nappies to pull it off. Too much? Probably.

In a plastic bag, buried beneath your towel
Look. I know this didn’t work for Heath Ledger in Two Hands, but it’s surely the pinnacle of beach security. People can’t steal what they can’t find, now, can they? Of course, there’s the small risk you also won’t be able to find your own buried treasure when you emerge from the water, but it seems worth it, right?

With another beachgoer
Human psychology is fascinating. We won’t leave valuables in open view and expect nearby strangers to protect them. But give them to said strangers and a weird pact is formed. The giver has tacitly placed their trust in the receiver, who then feels compelled to live up to it. That is, unless the receiver has come to the beach specifically to steal other people’s shit, in which case they’ll disappear the second you enter the water. Choose your trustworthy-looking stranger wisely.

In a waterproof pouch, hung around your neck
You know in Europe, how all the American tourists walk around wearing those nylon “travel wallets” strapped to their waists, practically painting a target for pickpockets? This is the beach version of that. Provided the waves aren’t too rough, it’ll work. You just have to be comfortable with looking like the biggest gronk on the entire beach.

Attached to a kite, soaring above your towel
Kitesurfing aside, kites aren’t renowned for their load-bearing ability. But I’d like to believe a big one could hold a modern phone and some loose change while remaining aloft. You’d need a solid breeze to keep it up there – which beaches have in abundance! – and a peg to anchor the kite securely in the sand. But apart from those teeny, tiny, insignificant drawbacks, this is totally practical and doable. At least, I felt clever when I came up with it. Can I just have this one?