Life's a beach — with rules


We’ve all seen the giant “No” signs.

You know, you circle around for four hours looking for a parking space, strap seven beach chairs and an umbrella to your back as you try to figure out in your mind where you can balance a tub of boardwalk fries and hike nine miles to the beach entrance — only to be greeted by the sign with the giant “No” at the top. NO drinking on the beach. NO dogs on the beach. NO camels on the beach.

Well, maybe you don’t see that last one when you approach Bethany Beach or Fenwick Island’s beach. However, you would not believe what is banned on some of the beaches in New Jersey.

An Associated Press story last weekend explained some of the more odd beach rules on the Jersey shore. In Wildwood, for instance, it is indeed illegal to ride a camel on the beach. “Our beaches are wide as a desert, but you won’t find any camels on our sand,” said Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano.

Does anybody else find Mayor Troiano a little annoying with that self-gratifying garbage about how wide their sand is? Wouldn’t you just like to put Troiano on a camel, aim him toward the sea and ...

But I digress.

It is also a severe no-no in Wildwood to stand under the boardwalk and look up at people through the slits, negating the most fun I had on the beach as a teenage boy.

In Brigantine, you can’t “revel, disport or behave in an annoying, boisterous manner, emitting loud cries.” So, if your child happens to be spit on by a stray camel on the beach, the child can be tossed off for “emitting loud cries” — according to their laws. Planning on carrying a spear gun with you next time you go to catch some rays on the beach in Spring Lake? Think again, pal. They don’t play that game in Spring Lake.

On Long Beach Island, many of the beaches have laws banning people from digging more than 12 inches deep in the sand. Though I wonder how else you are possibly going to occupy your child if he or she can’t dig giant holes in the sand, I can understand this ban. A few years ago a teenager died when his hole collapsed on him. They are also facing a similar situation as we are, with a lot of unexploded munitions washing up on shore in recent years. We’ll give them a pass on this one.

But then, there are the ones that can leave you scratching your head a little bit. In Long Branch, it is illegal to park a baby carriage on the sand within 15 feet of a beach entrance.

“I can’t fathom what the thought process was behind that one,” said Mayor Adam Schneider, who said he didn’t even know about the rule until he was asked about it by the Associated Press. “We can do a pretty good job of looking foolish when we enforce ‘real’ ordinances, let alone something like this. I just hope I don’t get embarrassed and find out I voted for it in the past.”

Wow, maybe someone should call the mayor and try to get it reversed, huh?

Love nothing more than eating seven tacos, downing three shots of grain alocohol and jumping into the ocean? Don’t try that mess in Sea Bright, where their warning sign says, “Do not enter the water if you are experiencing or recovering from diarrhea, or have had any signs of symptoms of a gastrointestinal disease in the past seven days.”

Oh, so I guess whales can just go ahead and do all their business in the ocean, but I can’t wade out for a minor cleansing from time to time? Actually, now that I think about it, this rule can maybe make all of us breathe a little easier when we inevitably take that first accidental swallow of ocean water.

Of course, curiousity took over my pinheaded brain and made me look a little closer at our local beach regulations. No sleeping on the beach between 1 and 5 a.m., no surfing except in designated areas ... blah, blah, blah. Nothing fun.

By expanding my search, I was able to learn that funnels are not allowed on the beach in Dewey — a law that either prevents people from doing “beer bongs” or from changing their oil on the beach. I couldn’t determine the true spirit of the law.

Assateague has a rule that states that people should only take as many seashells with them as they need. Need? For what? I can honestly tell you that there has never been a moment in my life where I thought, “Man, if only I had a cool dozen seashells right now, my kidneys would resume functioning.”

Of course, if things function too much, I couldn’t go swimming in Sea Bright.