Los Angeles County officials Thursday defended an ordinance passed this week revising the rules for playing football or tossing a Frisbee on beaches, insisting that regulations are being loosened, not tightened.
The Board of Supervisors approved a revised ordinance Tuesday that included regulations for ball playing at county beaches, along with issues such as nudity.
According to the county Department of Beaches and Harbors, playing football or Frisbee has actually been banned at beaches for decades, and the update approved this week lifted that restriction.
Under the new rules, footballs, Frisbees and other ball games are permitted on the beaches during the off-peak season from Labor Day to Memorial Day.
During the crowded summer season, the ordinance gives lifeguards the authority to stop football or other games if they are causing a safety concern – - such as unsuspecting sunbathers being plunked on the head by a wayward forward pass.
People who ignore the lifeguards’ warnings can face fines beginning at $100 and up to $500 for repeat violations.
The county noted that games are always allowed in specially designated sections of the beach.
County officials said citations and fines likely will not be commonplace, as long as beach-goers are behaving responsibly and not endangering others.
The ordinance does include some fines of up to $1,000, but those penalties are reserved for violations such as nudity, firing weapons or entering the ocean in prohibited areas or during hazardous conditions.