My wife and I have been coming to North Myrtle Beach on vacation for several years.
This year around 6 a.m. on a Monday morning we noticed a young man setting up a string of approximately 25 to 30 chairs and umbrellas for rent that stretched the entire front length of the building we were staying in. We came to learn about a law that apparently has been in effect for years that establishes an umbrella line. This is part of the Beach Franchise Agreement that the city has set up that gives the franchisee’s exclusive rights to this umbrella line where they set up chairs and umbrellas for rent. This line usually runs along the high tide line.
Coincidentally, one beach rule prohibits beach goers from placing umbrellas below the high tide line. While you can place chairs below the high tide line, as the high tide comes in and people are pushed back towards the high tide line, once they are within 10 feet of the umbrella line you must either go around and be in line with or behind the umbrella line. You cannot be within 10 feet of the established umbrella line nor are you allowed to set up any chairs or umbrellas in this umbrella line.
The franchisees have the right to move any chairs or umbrellas that have been set up within the umbrella line behind the umbrella line. A representative from City Hall said that in return for allowing the franchisees to have exclusive rights to this part of the beach, the franchise agrees to provide life guard services. As part of the agreement, the city receives a small part of the profits from the rentals of the franchisees chairs and umbrellas. So basically parts of the public beach is no longer open or free to the general public unless you pay to rent chairs and umbrellas from the franchisees.
I don’t think it’s right for the general public to lose the right to use certain areas of public beach to pay for a service that should be paid for through your taxes!
Personally, I won’t contribute to this problem by renting any of these chairs or umbrellas.
The writer lives in Landisville, Pa.