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Update: Supervisors Approve New Rules for Beach Games

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gives final approval to an ordinance regulating football, Frisbee and other games on county beaches from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Beachgoers in Los Angeles County who want to play a pickup game of Frisbee, sand soccer, beach Quidditch or flag football between Memorial Day and Labor Day will have to do so in designated areas or with a lifeguard's permission.

Part of a 37-page amended ordinance that received final approval Tuesday from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors identifies which flying objects are prohibited on the beach between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The purpose of the ordinance was to loosen restrictions that had been an all-out ban on football, Frisbee throwing and other ball-throwing activities, said Carol Baker, a spokeswoman for the Department of Beaches and Harbors, on Thursday.

"The intent was not to preclude football or Frisbee tossing," Baker said. "We wanted to allow ball playing while providing reasonable safety measures that the lifeguards could impose on a crowded beach day."

The ordinance allows for ball play during the off-peak season, Baker said.

"You don't have to do anything special during the off-peak season as long as you're not endangering anyone," Baker said. "In that situation, the lifeguard can always exercise his or her prerogative to stop the game."

The rules affect the 17 beaches owned, controlled, or managed by the county,  including city-owned Venice Beach, state-owned Dockweiler State Beach, city-owned Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach. It does not include Santa Monica, which has its own ordinance, Baker said.

During the peak season, the rules still do allow for games in specially designated parts of the beach or with the permission of a lifeguard or the Department of Beaches and Harbors, Baker said.

In the summer months, a lifeguard can stop a game if it threatens public safety. If the ball playing doesn't stop, law enforcement or a code enforcement officer from the Department of Beaches and Harbors can issue a citation, Baker said.

The amendment specifically permits beach volleyballs and inflatable beach balls, but casting, tossing, throwing, kicking or rolling "any ball, tube or light object other than a beach ball or beach volleyball" during peak season could lead to fines.

The fines are in accordance with the California Government Code and call for a fine of up to $100 for a first violation; up to $200 for a second violation of the same ordinance within one year and a fine up to $500 for each additional violation of the same ordinance within one year.

Also, beachgoers should forget about bringing their model airplanes, boats, helicopters or similar craft. According to the new rules, "no person shall operate [these objects] in, on or over any beach or the Pacific Ocean."

The amended ordinance also provides a list of responsibilities for law enforcement including moving lifeguards from the Department of Beaches and Harbors to the county's Fire Department, Baker said. It also clarifies license requirements and other language in the existing law, prohibits the digging of holes deeper than 18 inches (unless it's required for film and television production), and makes other safety-related amendments.

The new rules go into effect next month.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe issued a statement Thursday saying that he has "heard the outcry over the prohibition against footballs and Frisbees" as another example of government "run amok."

"In fact, the intent of the ordinance was to increase recreational-activities - something which has been lost in the media coverage," Knabe said.

Knabe said he has asked Santos Kreimann, head of the Department of Beaches and Harbors, to attend next Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors to explain and clarify the ordinance.

(Editor's Note: Updated at 5:40 p.m. to correct that ordinance doesn't apply to Santa Monica. Earlier update recast headline and lead to correct misleading information, correct fine amounts and added comments from county.)

freeourbeaches February 09, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Would vote the council out of thier jobs instead of this act ?? Seriously Frisbee on the beaches around the world has been happening for 100 years-ish or so? Suddenly cant do it ?? Banning all beaches is really to extreme and ridiculous measure. High traffic spots, sure put up a sign for those sections, but isolated areas ? Common need to let beaches remain free to play on.
MissBeachGirl February 09, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Jesus Christ...so is the next step wearing bikini's during the summer against the law too?!? What is up with this? I live one block from the beach and one of my favorite activities to do is to play frisbee on the beach...it's so American....whoever thought of this ordinance and voted for it seriously needs to learn to have fun and enjoy life on the beach.
Paul Chavez February 09, 2012 at 11:46 PM
I was soaking up some sun last summer on Venice Beach and some of our visitors from Europe were playing soccer and I got smacked in the head with their stupid ball. I'm in favor of these rules. What if that had been a baby or small child? Safety first.
Scott February 10, 2012 at 12:59 AM
By the sound of it, that ball did hit a baby... a big one.
Paul Chavez February 10, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Ha! I was nearly asleep and didn't see it coming, Scott.
Nelson Franks February 10, 2012 at 01:29 AM
You know, someone once ran into my car. Using your logic, we should ban driving. Maybe the ball hit you too hard. Once upon a time, we were a nation of adults who didn't think every tiny fraction of existence needed to be legislated. But then I forget, we're talking about Kalifornia.
Joe Stanford February 10, 2012 at 01:34 AM
@freeourbeaches and missbeachgirl - did you read the article? "The purpose of the ordinance was to loosen restrictions that had been an all-out ban on football, Frisbee throwing and other ball-throwing activities, said Carol Baker, a spokeswoman for the Department of Beaches and Harbors, on Thursday." - this was a step in the right direction - there has been a ban up until now - this relaxes the legislation while still giving the lifeguards some leverage - nobody's going to get fined for using footballs responsibly. @shannon - do you even know what a communist is? @venice patch - good job with the headline - I've read three articles over the past week regarding this, and the others used sensationalizing headlines misrepresenting the facts - which resulted in my wasting a half hour the other day, reading the meeting transcript and the ordinance - yours is the first to give a fair description in the headline - unfortunately you blew it with the facebook post.
Joe Stanford February 10, 2012 at 01:38 AM
woops - it's marina del rey patch that deserves the applause for the headline - and venice patch the blame for the misleading facebook post.
Micah small February 10, 2012 at 02:43 AM
So I could understand if there was football or fresbie gangs going around and trowing stuff at people. But it is the beach a place to forget about the stress and everyday life bull$hit. it is to be enjoyed not depressed by these people that can't turn the other cheek when accidents happen. Get some bondo for those chips on your shoulder.. BIG BABY'S
Paul Chavez February 10, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Joe Stanford -- I'm the editor for both Venice and Marina del Rey Patch sites. Apologies for the misleading headline and lede earlier, we've updated to correct things. Sorry you had to waste time the other day getting things straight, looks like there are some lessons to be learned all around from this story. Thanks for your comments.
Paul Chavez February 10, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Micah small -- The beach is totally a place to forget about the stress and everyday life b.s., but that's kind of hard to do when there's a soccer ball bouncing off your head, right?
Scott February 10, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Paul - how can we have two people using the same moniker on Patch? I did not write the previous comment.
Joe Stanford February 10, 2012 at 05:47 AM
paul, that's funny - I didn't realize you were wearing two hats - and really, the patch does a great job generally, and as I said, the headline was great - much better than the others I've seen, and my research wasn't because of your article, it was another, that was not as thorough, one that was misleading enough to make me want to get to the bottom of it - seems like a lot of people are trying to make a lot out of nothing on this topic... as I mentioned though, you do a great job - keep up the good work.
Tuco February 15, 2012 at 11:00 AM
Supervisors are scumbags and need to go

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