Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Leaving the Beach? Take Your Stuff!
Unattended beach equipment becomes a hazard for both people and sea turtles. Obstructions on the beach, which are particularly difficult to see at night, can result in injuries and impede emergency personnel responding to calls. During heavy winds, unattended beach equipment can become dangerous projectiles and litter the beach. Adult sea turtles (federally protected species) can become entangled or frustrated while attempting to nest; hatchlings can be impeded from reaching the ocean.
For example, on Bald Head Island last summer, a group of interns observed a nesting female struggling to make her way up the beach. “She ran into the kayak, toys, and chairs, and could have gotten tangled in ropes from one of those semi-permanent tents!” they reported. And pictures from Florida illustrate what can happen if a turtle is not so fortunate or persistent. By the way, the Kemp's Ridley was successfully removed, but experienced much trauma.
The following three sections were added to the Code of the Town of Kure Beach (passed unanimously at the June 17th Town Council meeting):
Defines beach and beach equipment as used in the article. Specifically, beach equipment means "any apparatus or paraphernalia that is designed or manufactured for use, or is actually used, on the beach or in adjacent tidal waters. Examples include, without limitations: chairs, lounges, umbrellas, cabanas, tents, horseshoes and stakes, sailboats, kayaks, paddle vessels, sailboards, surfboards, fishing gear, sporting equipment, rafts, flotation devices, beach toys, baskets, bags, towels, coolers, other personal effects and equipment used by concessionaires, such as tables, podiums, booths or storage boxes. Beach equipment shall not include municipal trash containers, signage or structures placed by a government agency, items placed by bona fide conservation agency or organization (such as signs or protection devices for turtle nests or equipment approved for use by duly licensed concessionaires)."
12-43. Placement of Beach Equipment.
Unless it is in active use and personal presence of the owner or permitted user, beach equipment must be removed from the beach between the hours of 7 PM - 8 AM, year round, and placed in a lawful location. All unattended items remaining on the beach between these hours will be classified as abandoned property and will be removed and disposed of by the town.
Also, all beach equipment must be at least 15 feet from any marked or staked sea turtle nest or dune vegetation. No beach equipment may be placed within a 25 foot perimeter of an emergency access or any public beach access.
First offense subject to $50.00 fine; second offense $100.00 fine. After the second offense can be charged with a misdemeanor (as prescribed by law).
*"Tent forest" photo by Matthew Godfrey; sea turtle photo by Zoe Bass