Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the fine for violating regulations relating to flying objects was $1,000. In reality, the fine is $100, $200 or $500, depending on the number of offenses. We regret the error.
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 ordinance passed Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors identifies which flying objects are prohibited on the beach between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
- Read: Complete Ordinance
Beach volleyball players needn't worry—the amendments specifically permit beach volleyballs and inflatable beach balls—but anyone who plans to "cast, toss, throw, kick or roll any ball, tube or light object other than a beach ball or beach volleyball" can be fined if they're caught in the act during the summer months.
Water polo games are OK as long as the ball is being used "in or over the Pacific Ocean opposite" the beach.
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.
The purpose of the ordinance was to loosen restrictions that had created 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."
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.
In addition to the new regulations regarding Frisbees and balls on the beach, the amended ordinance addresses model aircraft. 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."
Also, the amended ordinance 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 rules affect the 17 beaches owned, controlled or managed by the county, including Hermosa Beach and Venice Beach, which are owned by their respective cities, Baker said. The new rules would not apply to Santa Monica, which has its own ordinance.
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: This article was updated at 5:25 p.m. with a response from the Department of Beaches and Harbors and to clarify which beaches are under the department's jurisdiction.