Swim at LA County Beaches? Get a permit.

bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
edited June 2013 in General Discussion
Apparently LA County has instituted a regulation requiring a permit of group open water swims.


"Like other groups now using the beach, they’ll have to pay a $200 administrative fee, produce proof of liability insurance and reimburse the county for the cost—about $50 an hour, on average—of any extra lifeguards"

“We’ll issue them a flyer the first time we meet them, and tell them that if they’re conducting a business or an organized activity, they need a permit,” says Vivian Sanner, who is handling beach code enforcement at the department.
“If they say, ‘No, we’re just a bunch of friends,’ we’ll let it go the first time. But if we see them again, same time, same place, we won’t be as nice.”"


Now isn't that special. I have always hated swimming at beaches with lifeguards. :-)


  • Wu.. What??!!!.. Now that's something else. Wonder if such rule will apply to surfers in informal groups. Cuz there are tons of these around. If not, I wonder how long it'll take a OW swim lawyer to ask that same question.. Just sayin' ツ
  • WalterWalter Southern CaliforniaMember
    "[N]o group gathers en masse unless someone’s organized it." [Except when they do]

    "When 30 people jump in the water for a swim at seven in the morning, it’s really important that lifeguards be there." [Except most of time when it's not]

    "[E]ight code enforcement officers will be patrolling the beach this summer with an eye out for groups that appear to be organized." [Quick, everybody look disorganized!]

    I get that this is actually an expansion of opportunity for some groups that were effectively barred before the change. But as an outsider, I still find it largely ridiculous.

    Would someone who is more convincing than the Beach and Harbors spokeswoman please help me understand why this isn't as silly as it sounds?

    I'm not very popular around here; but I've heard that I'm huge in Edinburgh!

  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    edited June 2013
    When I first organized our TBWSSA (Tomales Bay White Shark Swimmers Association) swims I thought it would be a good idea to let the park rangers know we were having a happening...bad idea...they wanted a permit, insurance, and a site fee.... and came down to watch....probably thinking these crazies are going to be chomped by the White Tippers since this is after all the breeding grounds and they wanted to put the screws on us...we were always safe with power boats and kayakers...but now if they show up we just act dumb...just a bunch of people that decided to swim today...this has been working well for about 6 years or so... [-X

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • troubletrouble San FranciscoMember
    I recommend that all of the open water swimmers and triathletes in LA show up at City Hall in their bathing suits, caps, and goggles to picket this nonsense! If that doesn't create enough of a stir, they should begin "running" laps around the city as a group - moving their arms in a swimming fashion.

    When they fall on the sidewalks and get hurt, they can then sue the city for not requiring permits for organized runs.

    Seriously, you LA people should get organized about this and protest. I do think it makes sense for the city to require permits of any group that's getting paid to put on organized swims. That's in keeping with the way most cities operate. But for informal groups of swimmers not to be allowed to use the public beach without a permit just because they're actually swimming instead of lounging and splashing about at the water's edge is absurd.
  • oxooxo Guest
    previously, in Tel Aviv ....

    Bathers fined for swimming in closed beaches As its labor dispute with lifeguards boils, the city of Tel Aviv closed certain beaches - and fined swimmers.

  • mmeadmmead Charter Member
    Last year I did several small group (5 swimmers) beginner clinics at Venice Beach, mostly attended by triathletes training for LA Tri. This year, so far, I have not heard back from the administration on my application for permits so I haven't done a single ocean clinic. Methinks that LA County should be working with me to help new swimmers gain the skills,experience, and confidence they'll need for LA Tri in September, but alas, they must prefer that these swimmers enter the water en masse without any open water experience, so they can train in their new lifeguard recruits on how to save people.

    Last year I watched in amazement as Lifeguards literally towed panicking swimmers out past the breakers, in some of the biggest surf I've ever seen at Venice. I get that they are trying to help people complete the swim........but its a whole lot harder to come in than to go out, and the whole thing is an accident waiting to happen.

    Thats LA County for you.........
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    Unlike mmead there are those who for years have made lots of money by hosting swimming clinics without ever pulling a permit. I could be wrong but I have a gut feeling this is what is at the bottom of this crazy new ruling.
  • mmeadmmead Charter Member
    The issue is really LA Tri Club going out in groups of 20+ swimmers.......and we all know that a group of 20+ triathletes that a few of them are going to be absolutely terrible swimmers and a drowning hazard. To some extent this new rule makes sense.......they are going to start requiring groups of 20 or more to have at least one additional lifeguard. However, if you are going to enact legislation like that, you damn well be prepared to respond to permit requests. To require permits then to not give them creates more drowning hazards come race day.

    Ultimately though anyone who enters the water should do so with the understanding that they do so at their own risk. When you go for a run or a bike in the streets or in the mountains, you can get hit by a car, die of a heart attack, get bit by a rattlesnake, so on so forth, but they don't require permits to do that.
  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    There are just too many holes in this policy!!!!! What if 20 surfers from the valley show up and "try" to have a session!!!! et al

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    Niek wrote:
    @mmead What those tri athletes (and other beginners) don't seem to understand is that you need to practise swimming in open water.
    So why do some think they can swim in ow after 3 laps in a warm pool?
    Because there wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) otherwise known as a wet suit ;-)
  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    Group Exercise Fee's coming to Denver Parks. It's not about safety, it's about revenue.
  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    ""I would say [we've] gotten a handful [of complaints] every year for the past couple of years," Green said."

    My god have they really worked their way down the "Most Citizen Complaints List" to the activities that result in a handful (that's 5 or less) complaints in a year. Do people just not complain in Denver? It must be they're all so laid back from smoking pot 24 hours a day. :-)
Sign In or Register to comment.