Los Angeles County officials have sought to clarify misinformation for the public regarding ball and Frisbee throwing restrictions on beaches under a revised ordinance.

Following the ordinance’s approval by the Board of Supervisors Feb. 7, some news sources had reported that the amended law bans Frisbee throwing and football playing on county beaches, subjecting violators to fees of up to $1,000. The news spread quickly to the Department of Beaches and Harbors, which heard from concerned callers from across the country and even internationally.

In response, the department issued a statement explaining that the new ordinance in fact lifts a decades-old, all-out ban on playing football, Frisbee and other ball on the beach. The law is intended to allow ball playing, while providing reasonable safety measures that lifeguards may impose on a crowded beach day to protect other visitors from possible injury.

“In fact, the intent of the ordinance was to increase recreational activities – something which has been lost in the media coverage,” said Supervisor Don Knabe, who represents Marina del Rey in the Fourth District.

Under the ordinance, football play, Frisbee and other ball play are allowed during the off-peak beach season between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Beachgoers may throw or kick balls and Frisbees year-round in designated areas or if they receive permission from the Department of Beaches and Harbors or a lifeguard, officials said.

In the summer months, lifeguards have the authority to stop a game if it threatens safety in crowded areas of the beach. If necessary, a citation – $100 for the first offense – may be issued by law enforcement to those who ignore lifeguards’ warnings.

Officials don’t anticipate many fines to be issued for ball playing, but note that fines of up to $1,000 could be issued for violations including nudity and swimming or surfing during hazardous conditions.

“We don’t ticket anybody for throwing a ball on the beach, as long as they’re doing it responsibly,” Beaches and Harbors Director Santos Kreimann stated on Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s website.

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