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County Approves Revised Beach Games Law Following Complaints

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors amended a February ordinance that prevented playing football and other games on county beaches during the summer.

Beachgoers can now play Frisbee, football, soccer and other sports year-round without breaking the law.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors amended an ordinance last week that prevented those games from Memorial Day to Labor Day without a lifeguard’s permission.

Public furor erupted in when supervisors revisited the unenforced and often disobeyed law that prohibited ball-playing activities on 17 county beaches.

The board in February intended to clarify the four-decade-old law, and its attempt to loosen restrictions on ball play in the off-season was misinterpreted as a new rule that allowed lifeguards to fine potential Frisbee and football throwers up to $1,000 for playing on the beach during the summer.  

“While the intent of the updated beach ordinance was to remove limitations on ball-playing, people interpreted it as the exact opposite – a full restriction on beach activities,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe said in a February statement. 

The rules affect the 17 beaches owned, controlled or managed by the county, including city-owned Venice Beach and Hermosa Beach, state-owned Dockweiler State Beach, and county-owned Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach. It does not include Santa Monica, which has its own ordinance.

Although people can throw, kick, roll and catch any ball or flying disc, they can still be fined if a beach official deems the activity is endangering others.

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