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The City of Myrtle Beach is entering its second summer season of a new law regarding the use of tents on the beach, and there's still confusion among visitors about what is and is not legal once they step from the resort to the sand. Here's a look at the new beach laws and a few oldies you might not know:
* Shading devices: The ban on tents required careful wording of the law to accomplish its goal, which was to prevent beachgoers from setting up huge canopies that blocked the view of lifeguards and the paths of emergency vehicles. As a result, the law is very specific about shading devices. Here are some highlights:
"Umbrellas and Shading Devices must be placed above the high-tide line. ... Shading devices shall not exceed the maximum size of twelve (12) feet by twelve (12) feet or 144 square feet and the maximum height of any shading device shall not exceed nine (9) feet installed. Shading devices, other than circular umbrellas with a diameter of 7.5’ or less, shall not be placed within 10’ of any other shading device. ... Shading devices, other than circular umbrellas with a diameter of seven and one-half feet or less, shall not be allowed on the beach between Memorial Day through Labor Day. ... It shall be unlawful for any person to place any shading device or umbrella so as to impede lifeguard line of sight, access or egress from the lifeguard stand."
* Fishing: Surf fishing has traditionally been allowed in Myrtle Beach but the activity has been restricted in recent years to avoid anglers from attracting sharks to the beaches. A new state law requires a valid South Carolina license to surf fish:
"Any person(s) who surf fishes or fishing of any type from a pier or beach, at any time of the year, shall not fish in a manner that presents an unsafe condition to any beach goers, sun bathers, swimmers, or any other person and shall keep a safe distance from them. ... Any person who surf fishes must obtain a valid South Carolina issued Surf Fishing License in accordance with South Carolina State Law."
* Surf Zones: Caribbean guests who want to hang 10 are in the perfect spot. The new surf zones ban surfing in the city limits except in specific areas. The nearest surf zone runs from 37th to 47th Avenue North, just seven blocks north of the Caribbean. Surf zones are in effect from May 1 to Labor Day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other nearby surf zones include:
"From 62nd Avenue North to 68th Avenue North. ... From 82nd Avenue North to the north city limits. ... South side of 8th Avenue North, extended to north end of public boardwalk, but this area to be used only during the period the day after Labor Day through April 30.
* Dogs: The law refers to them as "animals" but you don't have to be a human to figure it out:
"(Dogs) must be on a hand-held leash not to exceed seven (7) feet in length and under the direct control of the person having custody of the animal. Persons in control of the animal are responsible for the clean-up of any animal refuse. Animals are not allowed on the beach between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., from May 1 up to and including Labor Day."
* Alcohol: Again, the law is very specific about what you can't drink on the beach. Just reading the list may make you thirsty:
"It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or consume any alcoholic liquors, beer, ale, porter, wine or any other similar malt or fermented beverage on any public beach."
* Fireworks: It's best to stroll down to the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and catch a free pyrotechnics display than try to put on your own:
"It shall be unlawful for any person to use, fire, shoot, discharge, or ignite any fireworks within the city limits of Myrtle Beach on any public beach, public beach."