The County of Dukes County
State Beach Private Party Information
8202008_101201_0.png                         County of Dukes County


Dukes County has established the following system for permitting private parties or special events on Joseph Sylvia State Beach.  It is the County’s intention to allow traditional uses of the beach such as beach parties. However, the beach is public and the public use and enjoyment of the beach must be maintained and protected. The County cannot rent the public beach, but instead issues permits so that the private use by groups is regulated and does not interfere with the public use of the beach. The process of applying for a permit is described below and should be initiated as early as possible, but always at least one week prior to the planned event.

PARTIES OR SPECIAL EVENTS – Any group, gathering or convergence of more than 50 people on the beach for social, recreational or commercial purposes, requires a permit from the County Manager. This includes all catered parties.

At the County Manager’s request the Beach Sub-Committee of the County Commissioners may be asked to meet on the appropriateness of the proposed activities.
The Beach Sub-Committee shall be comprised of 3 County Commissioners and the County Manager.

Permitting Process

1.      The Applicant must submit a completed application to the County Manager, PO Box 190, Edgartown, MA 02539.  

2.      The Applicant is requested to contact the Board of Health regarding food services and the Fire Department regarding any          fires on the beach. Permits from the town boards should be attached to the permit application.

3.      The Applicant is required to submit two separate checks made out to the County of Dukes County. One for $150.00 for               the non-refundable permit fee and one for $100.00, which  is a cleaning deposit. The cleaning deposit will be refunded if the           beach is clean.

4.      Upon receipt and approval of the application, permit fee and cleaning deposit the County Manager will issue a permit for          the event.  The County Manager will then fax a copy of the permit to the Dukes County Sheriff’s Department, appropriate        Board of Health, Police and Fire Department.

5.      The Applicant MUST have all permits and any necessary catering licenses in their possession during their event.

6.      The Applicant is responsible for any and all damage caused to the beach during the event and by any equipment that is used.


1.      Any event that consists of commercial activity (caterers) will require approval from the County Manager.

2.      Any event of more than 50 people will require approval from the County Manager.

3.      Events are allowed between 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm.

4.      Open fires are NOT allowed on the beach.  Contained fires in a gas grill are allowed for cooking purposes only.  Any one                  using a grill in Oak Bluffs is required to give notification to the Oak Bluffs Fire Department (508-693-0077).

5.      All caterers must be licensed by the Board of Health.  The Board of Health can issue a temporary food permit to anyone          who is “Serve-Safe Certified”.

6.      The Applicant may be required to provide handicapped accessible toilet facilities (porta-potties).  Porta-potties must be                 removed within 24 hours of the event.

7.      All events should be non-invasive in nature.  Generators, amplified music, balloons, and fireworks (including fire crackers) are          not allowed.

8.      Tents that are not larger than 10x12 feet are permitted.

9.      State law prohibits the consumption of alcohol on all public beaches.

10.     The County does not provide ANY guaranteed parking.  The applicant is encouraged to use public transportation, shuttles           or taxis since parking may be difficult to find.

11.     Beaches managed by the County do not have lifeguards.  Swim at your own risk.

12.     Dogs are not allowed on any part of the beach between April 1st and August 31st. During the month of September dogs                and pets are prohibited on the beaches between 9am to 5pm. Between October 1st and March 31st dogs and pets are                         permitted on the beach. Dog owners must use “doggie bags” and remove all waste

13.     The Applicant is required to remove all rubbish and any food, leaving the beach as clean as they found it.

14.     The Applicant may be required to furnish a traffic detail from the Sheriff’s Office.

15.     The Applicant may be required to furnish General Liability Insurance indemnifying the County of Dukes County.

16.     The Applicant is responsible to keep all attendees off of the beach grass, dunes and vegetation. Parking is on pavement only.           Keep tires off of the sand.  The barrier beach dune system is a fragile vital habitat, which protects the road and                 Sengekontacket Pond. Respect the symbolic fencing during shore bird breeding times.

17.     There will be a $50 fine for each infraction of this policy.