Beachgoers may soon have to pay fine if they dig, leave some holes in Surfside Beach

Beachgoers may soon have to pay fine if they dig, leave some holes in Surfside Beach
Holes deeper than two feet and longer than two feet in diameter would be required to be filled up before leaving under the proposed law. (Source: Patrick Lloyd WMBF)

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The town of Surfside Beach could be changing its laws regarding digging holes on the beach.

Surfside Beach Police Chief Kenneth Hofmann will address town council Tuesday night to bring up the possibility of changing the law in order to restrict hole digging within the town limits.

The change in law would mean anyone who digs a hole deeper than two feet and longer than two feet in diameter without filling it back up would face a $130 fine.

Hofmann said it’s important to note anyone will be allowed to dig any hole of any size under the new ordinance as long as they fill it up when they leave.

Hofmann said this comes after several people have dug massive holes in the sand of Surfside Beach over the last few months.

He said the holes are not small either.

“One of them required us to bring a backhoe from public works to fill this hole in,” Hofmann said.

The police chief said the holes are becoming safety issues.

“We began to become concerned about the public safety risk of people stepping in and falling into these holes,” Hofmann said. “These holes can fill with water. There could be a drowning hazard for a visitor.”

Some beach goers seem to agree the change in law would be for the better.

“Having had a broken leg and a broken ankle in the past, I definitely would not want to step in a hole and have another break,” Vicki Mills said.

“We like to walk at night, and sometimes they’re hard to see, so I think that people who dig the holes should be responsible for covering them back up,” Deno Pourlos said.

Hofmann said ideally, enforcement won’t be too strict. He hopes when town staff tell people to make sure to fill in their holes, they’ll just cooperate.

“I think that most people when they understand the reasoning behind the ordinance that it’s for safety, hopefully they’ll understand and appreciate that and we won’t get into an enforcement mode,” Hofmann said.

Hofmann added if law enforcement becomes aware of an empty hole that meets the requirements for a fine, police won’t be chasing anyone down to look for whoever is responsible. He said the whole idea is to create a safer environment.

Hofmann said there’s also a concern for sea turtles who could get trapped in the holes.

Another concern is the impact the holes are having on town staff.

“The most recent one that we had a problem with about two weeks ago was a hole that was about eight foot by 12 foot and about three feet deep that we had to bring in a backhoe to fill,” Hofmann said. “It was quite large. It was dug overnight and then left for the town to deal with.”

Town council will listen to Hofmann’s proposal during their regularly scheduled meeting. It will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the town council chambers.

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