July 4th Was a Blissful Greenwich Beach Day, but Ordinances Enforced Was Killjoy for Some

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 6.05.34 AMTod’s Point was a popular destination on the 4th of July, one of the best beach days so far this year.

By 10:00am, a steady stream of cars moved along Tod’s Driftway.  Greenwich Police Officer Sebastian Arenas was a visible presence at the gate house where two workers checked seasonal cards and collected single entry passes.

Lifeguards were a visible presence and, for about $10.00 an hour, they had their work cut out for them. By 11:00am the entire beach was populated and sizzling sun bathers waded into the water.

More than once, lifeguards paddled in their kayak after swimmers who’d ventured out too far.

One lifeguard used her electric megaphone repeatedly to request “No balls in the water, please.”

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The crowd mid-day on July 4, 2016 at Tod’s Point. Credit: Leslie Yager

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 6.05.18 AMAnother lifeguard applied a personal approach, walking up to parents to tell them water wings and kick boards weren’t allowed in the water either.

It may have felt like buzzkill, and sunbathers and swimmers weren’t shy about complaining.

“No fun allowed at the beach!” one woman announced.

“Who knew?” another woman said to no one in particular.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 6.05.58 AMDespite the blowback, at times rude and disrespectful toward lifeguards, there is good reason for all the ordinances being enforced by lifeguards and Greenwich Police this summer.

Even though the law suit that opened Greenwich’s beaches to non-residents was settled back in the late 90s, it took a while for word to get out, and Tod’s Point has become noticeably crowded in the last couple years.

Last summer there were many complaints about ball playing on the packed beach and in the water. And while the only situation more annoying than getting clobbered in the head by a stray football might be getting impaled by a rogue beach umbrella, there is a designated ball playing area past the south concession stand.

With an eye to awareness of the ordinances, throughout the holiday, beach staff handed out a photocopied list of all the town ordinances pertaining to the beach.


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The “No List”

The no ball playing rule is not new. There has always been an *ordinance against ball playing in the town’s municipal code. Enforcement of the rule may be amped up as a result of the crowds, and the need for lifeguards to focus on swimmers.

The No List includes no ball playing*, no metal detectors**, no beer kegs***, and no tubes, rafts, kick boards, or inflatable water wings****.

*No person shall take part in or abet the playing of any games involving horseshoes, arrows, stones, balls or other propelled objects, except in areas designated for such activities. (Section 7-28 (2)- Conduct and Behavior)

**No person shall use any mechanical, magnetic, electrical or other device constructed or designed for the purpose of locating or discovering any lost, abandoned or mislaid articles or goods in, under or upon said areas, except as authorized by the Director. (Section 7-28 (17)- Conduct and Behavior)

***No person shall bring into the park, have in his possession in a park or use in a park beer in kegs or in other containers having a capacity in excess of one (1) liter… (Section 7-28 (18)- Conduct and Behavior)

****No person shall use any inner tubes, rafts, boat cushions, kick boards, surf boards, or artificial means of body flotation on any kind upon such waters, except life saving jackets or vests approved by the US Coast Guard, and worn in the approved manner. (Section 7-42 (b)- Use of Swimming Areas)

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Greenwich Police now have a regular weekend presence at Tod’s Point. Also, life guards are entitled to enforce the park ordinances. However, lifeguards spoke off the record about the disrespect of beach goers toward the lifeguards.

Enforcement is tricky.

While residents always have the threat of having their beach passes confiscated, out-of-town guests don’t. They simply buy another pass and come back another day.

Many beach goers – including residents, guests, and out-of-towners – found it just plain mean to shut down a father-daughter game of toss with a small beach ball, and many could be heard saying so.

The fore of the issue is that people may not be familiar with the long list of ordinances. (See the Parks & Rec chapter 7 in Greenwich Municipal Code.)

Section 7-27 – Sanitation

Section 7-28 – Conduct and Behavior

Section 7-29 – Traffic

Section 7-36 – Purpose

Section 7-40 Swimming Confined

Section 7-42 Use of Swimming Area

Section 7-50 Prohibited Activities

Section 7-54, Life guards May Enforce

Section 7-55 Refusal to Obey Life Guard.

The good news was that Carlos Hernandez opened his north concession “What’s Cooking?” this weekend and on 4th of July business was brisk. A line formed but it moved quickly. Wraps, salads and traditional beach fare of burgers, hot dogs and fries were selling briskly.

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See also:

See also: Greenwich Beach Sticker Delays and Single-Entry Park Pass Causing Confusion

Are Greenwich Beaches Too Crowded?

Greenwich Parks & Rec Director Explains Beach Sticker SNAFU

What’s Cooking? Gears up for the Dinner Crowd at Tod’s Pt Beach North Concession

Despite Delays, Tod’s Point North Concession to Open on July 2

What’s Cooking? Tod’s Point Concession Stand Contract Changes Hands


Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
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  • JoAnn Chiappetta

    follow the rules or stay home…..these rules intend to keep people safe, children from losing their lives. The lifeguards earning $10.00 an hour is shameful. and adults insulting those life guards should be ashamed of them selves, especially in front of their children. show some respect to these young people who could possibly save your life.

  • Frank

    I wasn’t at the beach the weekend of the 4th but when the beach gets overcrowded, the last thing you want is to get hit in the back of the head with a Frisbee. Also, anyone insulting the Lifeguards should be tossed from the beach. Only making $10 bucks an hr. having to deal with that nonsense? As a parent, I am very grateful to the Lifeguards and all their hard work.

  • Karen

    “Business was booming”. How long we’re the wait times? I waited for 15 min to get a Popsicle this past Saturday. The staff seems untrained and overly stressed.
    As for the beach….Of course the life guards we’re only doing their jobs. Some of the ordinances do seem over the top, though. Especially on days when it is not crowded.

  • Diane

    If you can’t live by the rules and be respectful of our lifeguards and police department stay home. We want to keep our beaches in Greenwich safe and clean

  • D.D.

    Thank you 40 something year old Lifeguard with a chip on his shoulder for saving the life of my nere-do-well wife and daughter from what could have been a horrible tragedy in your eyes. If it weren’t for your vigilance and dedication, my family members might have succumbed to a skinned knee or, God forbid, chipped nail polish or a bruised ego during a game of paddle ball on the beach at 9:30am in the middle of the week. It truly is a comfort to us all that your eyes are focused on the sand rather than the water.
    Let’s dial back the hysteria Town of Greenwich.