Regulation of the Day 209: Playing on the Beach


When President Obama and his family took a recent vacation to Hawaii, paparazzi snapped some pictures of the big guy playing a game of pickup football on the beach. It’s a good thing he wasn’t in Los Angeles, or he might have been fined. A recent ordinance made it illegal to throw balls and even Frisbees on the city’s beaches.

After the public raised a hue and cry, the city’s Board of Supervisors liberalized the ordinance. Kind of. Now Angelenos are allowed to play a game of catch on the beach – if they ask the lifeguard first, or get a permit. And if they don’t follow orders, they can still be fined. This lighter touch is still awfully heavy.

You can read the entire 37-page ordinance here.

Other highlights:

  • “No person shall dig a hole deeper than eighteen inches (18”) into the sand… except at Director’s discretion, in consultation with Fire Chief, for film and/or television production purposes only.” (p. 16)
  • “[A] person shall not camp on or use for overnight sleeping purposes any beach[.]” (p. 20; Oregon has a similar law)
  • “No person shall operate any model airplane, boat, helicopter, or similar craft… except in an area that may be established and/or designated for such use by the Director, and subject to all rules and regulations pertaining to such area.” (p. 28)
  • “A person shall not use, possess, or operate in the Pacific Ocean opposite any beach regulated by this Part 3 a fishing pole, spear, sling, or other spear fishing equipment… within 100 feet of any person[.]” (p.34. Worth asking: is the “opposite any beach” clause sending a message to spear fishers in Japan, China, and other countries on the opposite side of the Pacific?)
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