Beach shading confusion continues with umbrellas, not tents

GARDEN CITY, SC (WMBF) – The beach tent ban is in full effect, but that does not mean there still is not any confusion about what is legal when it comes to shading devices on the beach.  Since tents are banned on most Grand Strand beaches, more people are using umbrellas for shade including groups of umbrellas to form a "make-shift" tent.

"Got to have something got to protect ourselves," said longtime Grand Strand visitor Jeff Miller.  "Being that we can't have the tents we bunched all the umbrellas together due to the fact we do have a nine month old child, we want to keep her out of the sun."

Miller's family grouped five umbrellas together side by side for shade. There is nothing illegal with how Miller and his family use the umbrellas, as long as they are not physically tied together or connected.

Horry County, Myrtle Beach, and North Myrtle Beach all use similar language in shading ordinances. Spokespersons for each area said there is not a problem if the umbrellas overlap or cover the same area, just as long as the umbrellas are the right size and are not connected.

However, some beach goers want to know the difference between using a tent or an umbrella, if they both occupy the same space for the same purpose.

Horry County, Myrtle Beach, and North Myrtle Beach officials said umbrellas are different because they are easier and quicker to move in the event of an emergency. Myrtle Beach City Spokesperson Mark Kruea also said umbrellas differ in the fact they are anchored in one spot, unlike four locations for a beach tent.

Horry County Police and Myrtle Beach Police Beach Patrol said officers have not issued any tickets for beach tent violations so far this summer.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.