Drive on Beach Parking Rules Clarified
Due to recent complaints and such online, especially Face”drama”book, I decided to reach out to Delaware State Parks’ enforcement and get some of the rules clarified people complain about all of the time. One of the big ones has been the direction you can park. I spoke with Chief Wayne Kline, Delaware Natural Resources Police State Parks Enforcement his answers to my questions are in red. I hope this helps clarify some things about parking on the beach and the multi-use issues. I did not get into the definition of actively fishing. The thing people need to realize is these rangers are responsible for the entire park and have to patrol everywhere, not just the beaches. I suggest you call the dispatch number 302-739-4580 or the park offices if you need a ranger dispatched for an issue. Just keep in mind they can not be everywhere at one time, especially when the parks are crowded on busy weekends and holidays.`
Is there a “law” or rule about the direction you have to park on the beach? I know it is preferred you park tag out, but a lot of people have their gear on their racks and want to park rack and tag facing the ocean. I have heard that people have been told to turn their vehicles around recently. Myself, I like to park sideways at times to create more space and I have been told that is fine to do (via Director of State Parks, Ray Bivens).
Answer: There is no regulation about which way a surf fishing vehicle is to park on the designated surf fishing beaches. I know of no instances where Division Enforcement staff have requested fishermen to turn their vehicles around. I will follow-up with the enforcement staff and make sure they know this especially for the new summer officers that are working.
Is there a rule as to the amount of space you are required to have between vehicles? I like to put at least 10 feet between myself and my friends at the very least. The beach is not a parking lot.
Answer: There is no regulation about the amount of space between surf fishing vehicles.
I know these are multi use beaches (drive on beaches). Is there a rule that says people can not walk onto the beach and just hang out like they do on a walk on beach? Can people just walk on and fish on the beach? This is about the drive on sections of the beach. There are people who think that the drive on beach is strictly for vehicles only and try to have walk ons kicked off the beach.
Answer: There is no regulation prohibiting visitors from walking onto the designated surf fishing beaches. Park visitors can walk on and fish provided they have a General Fishing License obtained through the Division of Fish and Wildlife and they have a FIN number.
Is swimming allowed on a non guarded beach? Is swimming allowed on a drive on beach?
Answer: Swimming is not prohibited on non-guarded beaches as well as the drive in beaches. We encourage visitors to swim at our designated swimming areas during our lifeguard hours, but we don’t prohibit the activity elsewhere.
Is there a rule for how many fishing rods you can have out at one time? I know there is the 50 foot rule. How does that apply to the amount of rods you are allowed to have?
Answer: There is no regulation governing the number of rods one can have to surf fish. The 50 foot rule is terminology use in the actively engaged in surf fishing regulation. It has no bearing on the number of rods an angler may choose to use.
Do you feel the non stacking rule is helping with the overcrowded beaches and issues that occur with the overcrowded beaches?
Answer: I think it is too early to tell. We are only coming into the second weekend past Memorial Day Weekend. Once schools get out and the vacations begin we anticipate the surf fishing beaches to become more popular (a trend we see every year). The feedback from surf fishermen directly to us from Memorial Day Weekend was all very positive regarding the new change about no stacking.
I plan on constantly posting the ranger dispatch number so people can call in issues they see on the beach. Is that okay to keep pushing that number to people? Answer: Yes, keep pushing that number. 302-739-4580. You may also want to put the Park Office phones numbers on your site as well. Between 0800-430 seven days a week that park office will pick up and they can also send a Ranger to a complaint. Cape Henlopen State Park Office 645-8983, Delaware Seashore an Fenwick Island State Parks 227-2800.
Big thanks to Chief Wayne Kline and his enforcement officers for helping out clarifying the rules, and for the job they do each and everyday. I personally would not want to have to deal with the things they have to put up with, I have heard some crazy stories. I hope this helps clarify any of the confusion over the past couple of weeks. I made a statement on the Delaware Surf Fishing Facebook page about parking sideways and was chastised for it by a few individuals that apparently did not know the actual rules. So now you know.