NMB city leaders reflect on first full summer of beach tent ban

NMB city leaders reflect on first full summer of beach tent ban
(Source: WMBF News)

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Though the city did receive their fair share of calls and emails complaining about the beach tent ban,  North Myrtle Beach city leaders say tourism was no different than any other year, beaches were packed and people were understanding.  However there were two reoccurring situations beach patrol had to address on the beach. 

"We still continue to get complaints about the need for a change in our law to include infant and baby tents," Patrick Dowling explained. 

As much as beach patrol officers were enforcing the tent ban law, they were also willing to compromise and help when they came across a situation where a young child needed shade.

"If you have someone out there with a baby, or something like that, and they didn't have any means of shading, we would provide them with an umbrella for the day," Monty Reed said.

Lifeguard Coordinator with North Myrtle Beach's Beach Patrol, Monty Reed, had to provide some umbrellas today, not only to children but to adults.

"We still get some complaints from older people, with various medical conditions, that want to be able to use a tent," Dowling said. 

City Spokesperson, Patrick Dowling understands the importance of each issue but says if the city makes any changes to the law, it will be for the baby or infant tents. Dowling explains it is difficult for the city to determine which medical conditions would call for permission to use a tent, and which ones would not.

"The law does not speak to how many umbrellas you can use, so therefore you can use two or three, you just can't tie them together," Dowling suggested.

Aside  from these two concerns, beach patrol is noticing the beach tent ban is being well-received.

"We had minimal problems last summer, we had minimal problems this summer, so I think from here on out, it's going to be consistent to where we don't have a lot of problems and people understand the reasoning why and the rule in place," Reed explained.

City Officials say if the city decides to allow baby or infant tents this off-season, a certain size and shape will be a part of the amendment. 

After seeing multiple beach tents, and canopies at the beach Tuesday, beach patrol wants to remind residents and visitors North Myrtle Beach's tent ban is still in effect until September 15th.

"The first thing they say is I thought the law was over as of yesterday, then we have to educate them and let them know, no it's still in effect, the beach is still really busy today, we still have lifeguards out, patrolling life guards, and beach patrol officers. Everything is still going on even though Labor Day's over with, we're still on the beach, we're still working," Reed said.

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