The City of Rehoboth Beach adopts new rules for tents on the beach

March 19th, 2017

On March 17, 2017, the Rehoboth Beach Commissioners adopted an Ordinance to Amend Chapter 95, Beaches, relating to restrictions on fires, cooking devices, umbrellas, baby tents, and other fixtures on the beach. The new law defines an acceptable beach umbrella as having “…a circular shade no greater than 8 feet in diameter.” In the law, an umbrella is also defined as “…a collapsible circular shade stretched over hinged ribs radiating from a central pole no greater than 7 feet 6 inches in height, and without grounding lines, ropes, or sides are permitted on the beach.” Baby tents up to 36" high x 36" wide x 36" deep may be used to shade infants and small children. This means that, with the exception of umbrellas and baby tents, tarps, cabanas, pavilions, tents, sport-brellas or any material mounted on supports are prohibited from being placed on the beach.

The adoption of the new law was driven by public safety concerns and is meant to promote safety from fires and eliminate the number of tents on the beach. We understand that tents are very convenient for beach-goers, particularly those with large families and those who can’t run the risk of long-term sun exposure. However, this decision has been made to keep beachgoers safe while allowing emergency personnel the ability to navigate our beaches in case of an emergency. From a public safety standpoint, the ever-growing popularity of the beach tents in certain locations in the beach area makes it difficult for an EMS unit or other emergency responders to get through this line of tents to the beach and water in a timely manner.

Couples getting married on the beach may incorporate a tent as part of their ceremony as long as they have a Beach Wedding Permit. If you’re planning a special event on the beach and would like to use a tent, your request will need to be submitted as part of a Special Event Permit. For permit information please visit www.cityofrehoboth.com.

The city is working with the Chamber of Commerce to spread the word to visitors and businesses, along with print and social media and beach signage. The new ordinance will take effect May 15, 2017.