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Updated: Officials Clarify Frisbee Ban

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gives final approval to an ordinance regulating football, Frisbee and other games on county beaches during the summer.

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.

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.

Dorene February 09, 2012 at 11:58 PM
I thought this was a joke, at first. Now, in order to throw a frisbee, soccer or football on the beach you need a permit or lifeguard approval? Crazy that a board of supervisors came up with this one. Maybe they should spend a day at the beach and see what enjoyment comes from such activities. What is next - building permits for sand castles? Maybe the board should be voted out and start over with representatives who represent the people. I'm going to Orange County!
Scott Kochman February 10, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Did any of you kvetchers read the article? "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." This rule ALLOWS these activities where they were prohibited before.
rick paul February 10, 2012 at 08:58 PM
California....leader of the nanny state rat pack.
Burr Robson February 10, 2012 at 09:57 PM
This is totally reasonable; last year alone 4.3 million people around the world were killed by frisbees off and on beaches. Further, the activity of frisbee throwing causes people to get in better shape for running, and this enhances healthy eating and steroid use. Taken further it encourages future Arnolds and increases the chances of insanity caused by the steriods coupled with prosmicuity. (See previous history of Arnold and the maid.) This alone has caused another .9 million deaths bringing the death toll to a staggering 5.2 million. What you dunderheads don't realize is that this costs the county thousands and thousands, money that could be put to use for their garbage police program. You know, the guys they hired to check the garbage cans of its citizens and issue fines if paper is put in with glass, or other horrific crimes. FYI over one million was spent last year punishing bad garbage habits. So, one frisbee is not the innocent thing we assume. And yes, the council is populated with dopes, but that's another story.
polly February 10, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I'm in love with Burr Robinson!!!!!

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