since 1998

personal website: joe crawford. code. occasional comics. toy robots. bodysurfing. san diego. california. say hi.

Beach Law!

I attended a Beach Law zoom webinar put on by the San Diego Law Library this afternoon. I learned things. Lifeguard jurisdiction goes out way farther than I realized. 3 miles! Alcohol got banned at the beach in 2008. But apparently in the years after that there were “Floatopia” get togethers – people drinking out in and on the water in Mission Bay. This was a loophole because they were in the water, not “on the beach.” Thus was born clause H to San Diego Municipal Code 56.54:

Notwithstanding any other provision of section 56.54 and its appendices, and except as provided in section 56.54(g), it is unlawful for any bather to consume any alcoholic beverage within one marine league of any beach. However, subsection (h) shall not be construed to regulate the consumption of alcoholic beverages on any vessel.

The law is made of people, and people are quite creative about the ways they choose to be jerks.

I do not envy the job of lawyers.

And here’s the handy shortlist of laws regulating the beach as of today here in August 2021:



  • Alcoholic beverages are PROHIBITED in beach and park areas. 
  • Glass bottles and glass containers are NOT allowed at any time in the beach and park area.
  • Smoking is PROHIBITED in all beach and park areas within the City of San Diego.
  • Fiesta Island, Dog Beach in Ocean Beach and Dusty Rhodes Park are designated dog areas that are leash-free.
  • Dogs are NOT permitted within Mission Bay Park and the beach areas during:

November 1 to March 31st from 9am-4pm   and   April 1st to October 31st from 9am-6pm.

Dogs are allowed all other times but MUST be leashed at all times.

  • Fires are permitted in City designated fire rings between 5am to 12midnight ONLY. 
  • Fires CANNOT exceed 12 inches above the fire ring.
  • Clean dry wood or charcoal only.  NO pallets, painted wood, greenery, nails or furniture are allowed in the fire rings.
  • Camping and overnight sleeping are NOT permitted in the beach or park area.
  • Parking spaces CANNOT be blocked off and/or saved; all parking spaces are first come first serve.
  • Each vehicle is allowed only one stall and must fit within the stall at all times.
  • All areas of the parks and beaches are first come first serve; roping off and/or barricading an area is NOT permitted.  This includes ropes, cords, barriers, tents and other similar devices.
  • All helium, blow up, metallic/mylar, water balloons and balloon arches are NOT allowed in the beach and park areas.  (Fish and Wildlife protection)
  • You are responsible to clean up after yourself.  Please put your trash in the trash cans and/or the dumpsters within the park and beach area.  Please do NOT litter.
  • Vehicles are NOT allowed on lawns, beaches, and walkways at any time (this includes loading and unloading purposes).
  • Please do NOT tie and/or post anything (ropes, banners, signs, piñatas, decorations, etc) to any City property (trees, plants, light posts, gazebos, sign posts, play apparatus, bars, etc)
  • Amplified music is NOT permitted. Noise laws are strictly enforced.  Your audio equipment may be impounded. Must have a permit.
  • Household furniture (sofas, recliners, coffee tables, etc) are NOT permitted in the beach and park area.
  • Camping Tents are NOT permitted in the beach or park area.



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