New Beach Rules Take Effect for Fall

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The falling temperatures and leaves aren't the only changes that come to Myrtle Beach in the autumn. There are also some rules and regulations regarding local beaches that take effect in the month of September, and most of the changes fall in favor of beachgoers.

Summertime restrictions have been enacted because of the larger crowds on local beaches, and those rules are relaxed once the calendar strikes September. The post-Labor Day changes effect rules regarding beach tents, lifeguard service, surf zones, parking and dogs on the beach.

The latest change to beach rules came this summer with a ban on large beach tents. Myrtle Beach City officials claimed they were a hindrance to emergency vehicles and lifeguards trying to see and reach problems on the beach, and the new rule took effect this summer for unhappy beachgoers who like to bring their own shade with them. Umbrella-type cover was allowed but the ban on larger, rectangular tents is lifted after Labor Day.

Early September also marks the end of full lifeguard service on local beaches. The summer months see one lifeguard posted on every city block to accommodate the larger crowds, but the fall sees a significant decrease in the numbers and lifeguards. Now instead of every block you will see fewer and fewer lifeguards posted through the fall. There are, however, roving beach police and rescue officers in trucks and four-wheelers.

Fall also sees the end to the surfing zones that have been established in the summer months to avoid clashes between surfers and swimmers. The list includes surfboards, kayaks, paddleboards, kiteboards and other watersports apparatus, which can be operated anywhere along the beach during the fall, winter and spring. The only restrictions for such activities in the offseason are they must stay 75 yards away from fishing piers and avoid fellow beachgoers.

Perhaps the best change for folks staying in the Myrtle Beach city limits is the change of the paid-parking system that was established a few years ago. The parking meters that were added to hybrid spots, meaning spaces that are both public and adjoining a hotel, are removed in September to provide free parking for all. The public beach accesses in Myrtle Beach offer free parking year round but offseason parking is free everywhere.

And no group is happier to see the season turn to fall than our four-legged friends. Dogs, which are banned from the beach from May 1 till Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., can now visit the beach any time of day as long as they are on a leash. You may notice large groups of dogs, such as the Greyhound Rescue Club, holding gatherings on the beaches to let their dogs run and play. Owners are required to clean up after their dogs.

Although the changes may seem fairly minor, the real challenge is knowing the rules of the jurisdiction where you are staying. Bay View Resort falls within the city limits of Myrtle Beach, where the summer regulations are in place May 1 through Labor Day, but dates vary if you are visiting North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach or unincorporated Horry County. Be sure to check the signs at each beach access if you go to another town.

One safety tip to follow in the fall is to be cautious about parking in emptier beach accesses and leaving valuables in your vehicles. The smaller crowds are a blessing for smash-and-grab thieves looking purses, luggage or other items they can see through your windows. Best to lock your valuables in your trunk or leave them back at your hotel room.

(posted 9/4/14)