It's not always aesthetically pleasing, perhaps obtrusive in nature, but more so a matter of safety when it comes to tents, canopies and certain umbrellas on the beach.

The governing body in Monmouth Beach this month adopted an ordinance updating its beach rules.

"We have an ordinance that handles our beaches, dunes, pavilions, and waterways -- it was brought about because of people over the last few years bringing camping tents and pop-up tents and those kind of things to the beach," Mayor David Stickle said in an interview.

"In the case of some of them, they pose a hazard when the wind catches them because they're like a pop-up tent, you can't really anchor it very well. In the case of a pop-up that has sides or a large camping tent — some of those tents can be 20 by 20 nowadays — they're blocking the view from people, and we've had a lot of complaints over the last few years."

Pavilion Beach in Monmouth Beach
Pavilion Beach in Monmouth Beach (Bud McCormick)

When a complaint has arisen on the beach with these tents or canopies in recent years in Monmouth Beach, Stickle says most people took them down when asked. But if they didn't, there wasn't much that could be done — until now.

"If someone did not, we didn't have any teeth in our ordinance to help enforce it, so, we just had to make a small change," Stickle said.

⛺ Tent and umbrella rules on other beaches

There are towns up and down the Jersey Shore that have been implementing or updating their beach rules that touch on tents, canopies, umbrellas, and so forth so everyone will be safe.

Tents and canopies that don't have open sides are also prohibited on Sandy Hook beaches, which is federal property.

"We did a survey of all the Shore towns in New Jersey, not only Monmouth County, but all the way down to Cape May to see what other towns had adopted for ordinances and what we thought might work for us versus what they had," Stickle said. "Some of the towns don't have any regulations, most of them have something similar to what we have."

⛱️ What kind of umbrellas or canopies are permitted on Monmouth Beach?

There has been some clarity brought to their beach rules as well, so everyone is understanding and on the same page with what's allowed.

"Umbrellas are permitted provided that they have only one central stanchion to support the shade structure — whether upright or at a 90-degree position — and they can be no greater than 8 feet in diameter," Stickle said.

"No tents or canopies are permitted except canopy style sunshades or only one central stanchion not greater than 10 feet by 10 feet."

Monmouth County beach
Monmouth County beach (Monmouth County Sheriff's Office)

The umbrella rule came to be because people made the beach seem a little too much like their own home.

"Some people would bring their patio umbrella," Stickle said.

One exception to the rule is for children.

"We still allow people to have, if you have infants or little kids ... a shade structure as long as it's not more than 36 inches in height, width, and depth," Stickle said.

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The ordinance update in Monmouth Beach is equally about the visual component of your time at the beach as well as ensuring everyone is safe.

"It's about safety so nobody gets hurt when the wind picks up and catches these things," Stickle said. "Every year, we have probably 50 or 100 umbrellas that take off and blow down the beach."

(Toniann Antonelli, Townsquare Media NJ)
(Toniann Antonelli, Townsquare Media NJ)

What happens if you violate the beach law?

For those found to be in violation of the ordinance rules on the beach, you'll be asked to take it down or find yourself with a ticket.

"They'd be asked just to take it down and then, if they fail to comply, our police department has the option of now writing a ticket because our ordinance now gives them some teeth to do that," Stickle said.

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