|What are the beach rules for island beaches?
Beach rules are established by City Ordinance, specifically Article 1, Section 12. Please note that the ordinance may be amended from time to time, which may not be reflected for some period of time here or on the official ordinances above. For example, see below regarding the pier.
The rules are currently as follows:
Sec. 12-1. Use of municipal beaches.
(a) Rules and regulations. All persons entering upon the public beaches, or structures erected thereon, shall comply with the following rules and regulations, and failure to do so shall constitute a violation of this article:
(1) Swimming area. It shall be unlawful for any person to swim outside of the area extending 50 yards from the water's edge.
(2) Placement of litter. It shall be unlawful to throw, place, deposit, sweep or scatter, or cause to be thrown, placed, deposited, swept, or scattered, any paper, food, cigarette butts, bottles, cans, trash, fruit peelings or other refuse upon the beaches or structures erected thereon. Beach goers must contain their trash at all times.
(3) Glass or breakable containers. It shall be unlawful for any person to take or carry upon the beaches or structures erected thereon any glass or breakable containers.
(4) Pets. It shall be unlawful for any person who owns, is in control of, or is in charge of, any dog or other pet, to allow or take that dog or other pet upon the beaches or structures erected thereon. This does not include properly certified guide dogs, or similar animals assisting the blind, deaf, or other physically handicapped persons.
(5) Motorized vehicles. It shall be unlawful for any person to take any motorized vehicle on to the beaches or structures erected thereon. This includes automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, all-terrain-vehicles and similar motor driven vehicles and craft. This does not include properly marked emergency vehicles while in the course of an emergency operation, or maintenance/utility vehicles in the employ of the city or similar governmental entity and engaged in a legitimate operation.
(6) Motorized watercraft. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any motorized watercraft, such as a jet ski, motorboat, and similar craft, within 1,000 feet of the waterline on any part of the beach between the north and south rock jetties.
(7) Fires. It shall be unlawful for any person to build or maintain any type of open fire on the beach, including any type of charcoal fire, whether or not in a grill or similar container.
(8) Disturbing dune vegetation. It shall be unlawful for any person to pick, gather, remove, walk in the dunes, or otherwise disturb the vegetation present on sand dunes, including sea oats.
(9) Surfboarding and fishing. No person shall operate a surfboard or fish except in areas designated for such purposes.
(10) Commands of lifeguards. It shall be unlawful for any person to deliberately disobey any reasonable command of a duly appointed and identified lifeguard while in the legitimate performance of his duty, such commands being intended to ensure the safety of persons using the beach and any structures erected thereon.
(11) Disorderly conduct; endangerment of self or others. It shall be unlawful for any person to come upon the beaches or structures erected thereon, and individually or in concert with others, do any act or create any condition which does or is calculated to encourage, aid, abet, or start a riot, public disorder or disturbance of the peace; and it shall not be necessary to prove that that person was solely responsible for that riot, public disorder or disturbance of the peace, but only that his appearance, manner, conduct, attire, condition, status or general demeanor was a motivating factor that resulted in the riot, public disorder or disturbance of the peace. Any person who refuses when commanded by a police officer or other enforcement official of the city to leave the beach or structures erected thereon immediately, shall be guilty of an offense for refusal to obey the order or command of a police officer or other enforcement official of the city, and deemed to be a rioter or disturber of the peace. It shall also be unlawful for any person to come upon the beaches or structures erected thereon and act in any way which is likely to cause endangerment to himself or others.
(12) Nudity. No nudity on beaches.
(13) Beer kegs. The presence of beer kegs on the beach is often associated with underage drinking, littering, public intoxication and disorderly conduct and because such activities are in direct conflict with family recreation, such containers and similar devices for dispensing of large quantities of alcoholic beverages are expressly prohibited.
(b) Exceptions to rules. Exceptions to any of the above rules and regulations may be allowed by way of a special permit grant by the mayor and council.
(c) Enforcement of rules and regulations. Enforcement of these rules and regulations shall be by employees of the city police department or the city marshal. The duly employed police and city marshal are authorized to require persons using the beach or structures erected thereon to obey reasonable commands designed to protect the public and public property, and the failure to obey any lawful command of those individuals shall be a violation of this section.
(d) Penalty for violation. Any person convicted of violating any of the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months and to perform community service for a period not exceeding 60 days, any or all such penalties in the discretion of the judge. When found by an employee as described above, the person responsible for the violation will be issued a citation and subpoena which names the violation and establishes a date for the violator to appear in court to answer the charge. Violators may elect to pay the fine without appearing in court; such action shall constitute a plea of guilty to the charge. When confronted with a violation, enforcing officers may exercise discretion to the point of transporting violators without delay to the police station for the purpose of posting bond in order to ensure their appearance in court.
(e) Penalty for pet prohibition . The fine for the offense of violating subsection (a)(4) of this section prohibiting pets on the beach, shall not be less than $200.00 for the first offense plus applicable court fees, and not less than $400.00 for subsequent offenses, plus applicable court fees for any subsequent offense occurring within a 12-month period of a preceding offense.
(Code 1983, § 9-5-1; Ord. No. 2005-11B, 6-21-2005)
Sec. 42-63. Sleeping in public areas.
It shall be unlawful for any person to camp or sleep on the streets, beaches, parks, parking lots or other public areas, whether in automobiles, trucks, campers, recreational vehicles or other vehicle, or in equipment designed and intended for the purpose of camping. Such activity may be permitted in public areas specifically set aside and designated for that purpose. Any person suspected of such activity may be charged with a misdemeanor and fined in accordance with section 1-8.
(Code 1983, § 11-1-10)
Sec. 12-2. Shark fishing prohibited.
(a) It shall be unlawful for anyone to fish for sharks of any species on or from any of the public beaches, docks or piers of the city.
(b) Violations shall be punishable by fines not to exceed $300.00 and/or imprisonment not to exceed six months and/or to perform community service for a period not exceeding 60 days, any or all such penalties in the discretion of the municipal judge.
The following amendments have been made regarding the pier and rocks:
Section 12-1a (14) Jumping or Diving From Pier or Public Structure
It shall be unlawful for any person to jump or dive from any pier or public structure except those that might be specifically built for that purpose and as may be specifically authorized in connection with a properly authorized special event.
Section 12-la (15) Walking or Climbing on Public Structures
It shall be unlawful to walk or climb upon the rocks, jetties, or other manmade structures which are marked with appropriate signage.
How do I reserve City-owned facilities?
Questions can be answered and reservations made by contacting our facilities coordinator at City Hall - (912) 472-5045.
Can I reserve a spot on the beach for my group?
Reservations are not required for groups on the beach, although you may be subject to availability of space on your arrival. The City may issue permits for special events, such as weddings, company picnics, or other events; however, be aware that the primary purpose of the beach is for public use, and a permit for your event may not be possible. Call the facilities coordinator at City Hall - (912) 472.5045 - to discuss your event details.