Beach Shading Devices

Read Ordinance Number 17-0857 (PDF).


Except for Town of Surfside Beach equipment, it shall be unlawful, between the hours of 9 pm and 7:30 am, for any person to leave upon, put, place or set any equipment, but not limited to, chairs, umbrellas, windbreakers, surfboards, air floats, life rafts, tents, cabanas, pavilions, volleyball nets, etc., or to build or erect any fence or other obstruction on the public beach, so as to obstruct, impede or retard the free and unconstrained use and occupancy of the public beach by the public or so as to interfere or obstruct any maintenance operation of the beach, and same shall be disposed of pursuant to subsection (g) hereof.


Beach umbrellas and other beach paraphernalia shall not be placed in front of the lifeguard stands and shall be placed in a line generally parallel with the ocean strand on either side the lifeguard stands, and shall not be left unattended.

Shading Devices

Any canopy, tent, or other shading device shall not exceed a maximum size of ten feet by ten feet.

Umbrellas or other shading devices, including baby tents, shall be placed in a location behind the lifeguard stand in such a manner that the lifeguard's view of the beach shall not be obstructed. As lifeguards move their stands due to the rising tide, all shading devices shall be moved to the west to maintain the lifeguard's line of sight. An umbrella is defined as a shading device with a center pole no greater than seven feet six inches in height and with a circular shade no greater than nine feet in diameter. An umbrella is defined as a collapsible circular shade consisting of a natural or synthetic fabric shade stretched over hinged ribs radiating from a central pole; securing lines must be straight down, if used. A 'baby tent' is defined as a shading device no larger than thirty-one inches in height by thirty-one and one-half inches in width and thirty-eight inches in depth.

Tents, canopies, cabanas or other shading devices (all referred to as "tents" herein) other than an umbrella or baby tent as defined above, shall be no larger than ten feet by ten feet and shall be allowed when placed contiguous to the town's beach emergency lane, so long as there is at least ten feet between each tent, and tents shall have straight tie-downs, and there shall be no obstructions, including beach paraphernalia, between the tents. A single row of tents from Melody Lane to 17th Avenue North shall be allowed. Emergency access locations require additional clearance guidelines as follow to accommodate emergency apparatus.

Emergency Apparatus AccessNorth Side EdgeSouth Side Edge
Melody Lane25 feetN/A (in County)
4th Avenue South25 feet25 feet
Pier150 feet100 feet
7th Avenue North25 feet25 feet
13th Avenue North25 feet25 feet
17th Avenue SouthN/A (in County)25 feet

Lifeguard Line of Sight

It shall be unlawful to place any obstruction on the beach in such a position that it will interfere with the ground-level vision of a lifeguard looking toward the water and the lifeguard stands on either side of him. As lifeguards move their stands due to the rising tide, all shading devices shall be moved to the west to maintain the lifeguard's line of sight.

Emergency Lane

It shall be unlawful to place any beach paraphernalia within eight feet of the dune line. Said area shall remain open and free of any obstructions to provide a clear travel way for emergency vehicles, personnel and/or other emergency equipment to access the surf or other areas of the beach in the event of an emergency. Emergency access lanes perpendicular to the dune line shall remain open and unobstructed at all times. In the event of an emergency, the police chief or his designee shall direct that additional temporary emergency access lanes be created until no longer needed. (More details in Ordinance #17-0857 [PDF])

Note: The dune line is defined as that area just east of any walkway, step or crossover. The dune line is not the 'base of the dunes' as they now exist. Placement of beach paraphernalia should be done in such a manner that the emergency lane should be a straight 8-foot path beginning at 17th Avenue North and extending to Melody Lane.

Removal, Disposal

Umbrellas, tents, canopies or other shading devices and/or other items/equipment remaining on the beach between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. or left unattended will be removed from the beach and disposed of accordingly.

Sand Fencing & Dune Walkovers

Sand fences and dune walkovers have been constructed to rebuild and preserve the sand dunes; sand dunes serve as barriers that aid in protecting life and property during hurricanes and or other tidal events. It is prohibited to move, alter, obstruct, or interfere with the sand fencing including, but not limited to, chaining items to, locking items to, or connecting items to a sand fence. In addition, no items may be placed, put, chained to, locked to or stored under any dune walkover located on the public beach.


Violations of this section are punishable as misdemeanors provided in Section 1-16(a) of this Code.