Island Vibes March 2024

f you come to the beach at Isle of Palms, leave your smokes, alcoholic drinks, fireworks, vehicles and even part of your curiosity in another place. Especially this spring break and summer when day visitors and vacationers are expected to reach higher levels. “Each year we experience more visitors enjoying our beaches,” said IOP Police Department Sgt. Matt Storen. “This means we have to enforce the beach rules for more people, and most of these rules are attached to a city ordinance.” Knowing the rules might save you a lot of headaches and help avoid unnecessary fines. If you need a helpful reminder, here are some regulations you are expected to adhere to: • Do not litter. Help keep the beaches clean by taking trash to the garbage and recycling containers found on each of the 13 RECREATION IOP beach rules enforced year-round, not just spring break By L. C. Leach III I beach access paths. • Smoking in any form is prohibited. Storen further pointed out that smoking turns to littering since people tend to put out stubs in the sand “and they’re not biodegradable.” • Plastics. Single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, polystyrene (Styrofoam) coolers, cups and food containers and balloons are prohibited on the beach. The use of reusable, recyclable and compostable products is encouraged. • Vehicles. Motorized vehicles, including golf carts, are not allowed. Electric vehicles, including electric bikes and skateboards are not allowed on the beach between Memorial Day and Labor Day. • Beach Equipment Storage. Overnight storage of beach equipment, such as tents, chairs, coolers, toys, etc., is prohibited. Personal property left unattended on the beach after sunset may be removed and disposed of. • Beach Holes. Fill in holes dug in the sand before you leave the beach. Large holes pose a threat to sea turtles and humans. Sea turtles cannot climb out of holes without help, and often die if they fall into one headfirst. • Sea turtles. Do not interfere with sea turtles as they are an endangered species. • Watercraft. Jet skis and motorboats may not be operated in designated swimming areas. • Dogs/Pets. Dogs must be kept on a leash, and owners must clean up after their pets. For exceptions, visit • Beach gatherings of 50 people or more require a permit. • Use designated beach access paths to help protect the fragile dunes. • Alcohol and glass bottles are not permitted. • No commercial business. • No fireworks. No open fires. • No overnight sleeping. “Littering, alcohol, glass on the beach and smoking are the toughest things for us to enforce,” Storen said. “Because, for example, on a July 4 weekend, we can have up to 60,000 people, mostly day trippers, and trying to find violators is difficult.” It’s a long way from 1953, when IOP city leaders passed the island’s first-ever ordinance banning automobiles from the beaches – a law still in place. And while most beach violations are solved with simple warnings, Storen said all beach rules are enforced at the discretion of the IOPPD. “Some offenses are jailable and others carry a maximum fine of $1,087, but it usually doesn’t come to that,” Storen added. “We’re family friendly and supportive, and the Isle of Palms Police Department is committed to keeping all those who live, work and visit our beautiful beach safe.”