Guest Commentary: Beach dos and don'ts

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The Marco Island Police Department receives many inquiries regarding our beaches from both residents and visitors alike. It is our goal to provide you with information that is pertinent to some of the most common questions or basic beach activities covered under the city's beach ordinance.

As you might imagine, glass containers or bottles are prohibited on the beach. Please help us prevent injuries and litter by not bringing glass bottles or containers to the beach. No animals are permitted on the beach except service dogs. Additionally prohibited are wheeled vehicles, (cars, ATV's, bicycles, etc.). Emergency vehicles, permitted beach vendors and turtle nest monitors may utilize vehicles on the beach. Open fires are prohibited, which include camp-fires, barbecue grills and portable grills.

There is no overnight camping permitted on the beach. Fishing from the beach is fine, but no chumming or "blood baiting" which will attract sharks. Your fellow swimmers will appreciate your compliance with this prohibition. Speaking of swimmers; please be mindful that there are no lifeguards on the beach. While it is lawful to swim between the jetties and the Cape Marco buildings on south beach, this narrow area is frequently used by boats so we would recommend staying clear of this area. Otherwise, stay at least 150 feet from any pier, jetty or breakwater. When swimming on the beach, you do so at your own risk.

No aircraft, including seaplanes, ultra-lights or helicopters are to be operated on the beach or on water within 750 feet of the beach. As a point of reference the powered-parachutes you see flying over the beach are not prohibited. There are no FAA minimum altitude requirements for these devices, and the city is precluded by federal law to create an ordinance that prescribes a minimum altitude. That said, they are prohibited from taking off from or landing on the beach and careless or reckless flying is prohibited by FAA regulations.

There is no soliciting, canvassing, or advertising allowed on the beach with the exception of city permitted beach operations.

Please don't remove any sand from the beach. The shells are beautiful, but leave the live ones, collecting any live shell is prohibited by city, county and state law. If it contains a living organism, don't collect it. Please do not disturb, destroy or remove any wildlife (Fishing is permitted, but compliance with all state laws regarding fishing is obviously required as well). We are fortunate to be part of the turtle's eco-system, so please stay clear of the sea turtle nesting areas, (usually marked with yellow tape and a small sign). Please give the bird nesting areas, a wide berth too. Entering any of the dune areas or removing any vegetation is likewise prohibited.

Marco Island's beaches are beautiful and we need your help keeping it that way. Please remember to take your trash with you after enjoying your time on the beach. There are designated trash cans at the primary beach access areas.

Regarding vessel operations, boats and personal watercraft may only operate at idle speed within 750 feet of the Gulf beaches and 300 feet of the beach area near the Jolley Bridge. The beach waters are shallow and swimmers can be quite a distance from the beach, please watch for them. No trailer-launching of a motorized boat or PWC (Jet Ski) is permitted from the beach. Boat launch facilities are located at Caxambas Park on the south end of the Island. However, it is not illegal for a vessel operator to beach their craft on the beach.

We hope you enjoy your time at the beach. For more information, the beach ordinance can be found on the City of Marco Island's website ( under Chapter 54 Waterways and Beaches.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Marco Island Police Department at (239) 389-5050.

© 2012 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 1

MrsT writes:

My husband saw a first at Marco's south beach that wasn't covered here...a man had a canopy set up with a chair and a fan powered by a gas generator running. Legal or not?

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