Photo courtesy of St. Johns County Sheriff's Office
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office reminded residents Thursday of the rules for driving on the beach.
A St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Facebook post reminded residents of the Beach Ordinance that was revised and modified on March 27, 2007.
According to this ordinance there are fewer beach miles open to vehicles, fewer beach driving hours and earlier beach closing times.
In summary, the Facebook post states:
- Limit beach driving hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from May 1 to Oct. 31, the entire sea turtle nesting season.
- Reduce the length of beach available for driving from 14.7 miles to 10.2 miles.
- Require development of a rut removal program so adult and baby turtles don't get turned the wrong way in ruts left by vehicles.
- Increase enforcement on North Beach and South Beach with four new ATV patrol vehicles and personnel.
- Require distribution of public awareness materials.
- Elevate 125 trash receptacles on posts.
- Restrict access for vehicles to Porpoise Point so the natural dunes have time to re-nourish.
- Pro-active beach lighting program to put out the lights and includes St. Augustine Beach. Since Baby sea turtles crawl towards light, any lights visible from the beach would make them crawl away from the ocean.
- The horseback riding program, presented to the commission by Ellen O'Brien of Ponte Vedra Beach, designates certain persons as Master Equestrian Beach Guides allowing these guides to lead up to 10 individuals on beach rides. They may also issue a day pass for beach riding after the applicant completes "habitat conservation familiarization. General beach riding permits and day pass permits may also be issued.
Driving on the beach is no different than driving on any other County or State Road. According to reports, the beach is an extension of State Road A1A. All the rules of the road apply to driving on the beach. The beach speed limit is 10-mph and seat belts should be worn when the vehicle is in motion. In addition, all beach driving is limited to southbound only.
Parking is permitted only to the west of the designated driving area. Safety cones are placed on the beach daily to separate the beach into a people only area and driving/parking area. Only families, children, sunbathers and pets on a leash are permitted to the east of the safety cones.
No vehicles are permitted to drive or park to the east side of these safety cones.
JCSO notes that there are many soft sand areas on the beach and when drivers enter the beach, they do so at their own risk.
First Coast News