The County of Dukes County
Joseph Sylvia State Beach Rules & Regulations

8202008_94227_0.png                  County of Dukes County
Beach Rules & Regulations for Joseph Sylvia State Beach

BEACH ACCESS- The following regulations have been enacted by the Dukes County Commissioners to ensure that these beaches are accessible to and enjoyed by the public while also protecting the natural resources found on the beach.

·Waterfront portions of the beach and marked trails are for public access and passive recreation.

·Vehicles must remain in designated parking areas.  Tires must keep off all sand and vegetation to prevent erosion.

·Pedestrians must remain on the designated walkways between parking areas and waterfront areas.

·All vehicles, including “recreational vehicles, off-road vehicles” (ORV) and “all terrain vehicles” (ATV) are prohibited on State Beach. Please see “Vehicular Access for Licensed Shell Fishermen” below regarding access to Sengekontacket Pond shore.

·No motorized craft or anchoring within the designated swimming area, which is within 300 yards of the beach.

·There are no trash receptacles.  Everything carried in MUST be carried out and disposed of properly.

PROTECTION OF DUNES AND VEGETATION – Dunes protect nearby land from storm surges, storm damage, and erosion.  Beach vegetation stabilizes dunes and encourages natural dune growth by trapping wind-blown sand.  

·Do not climb the dunes. DUNES MAY BE FULL OF TICKS AND POISON IVY.

·Use designated pathways.

·Do not walk on the vegetation – many plants are killed by foot traffic.

·Do not cut, dig or remove wildflowers – they are vital to dune stabilization and for all to enjoy.

·Harvest of berries (blueberries, beach plums, rose hips) along roadside and designated pathways is permitted.  Stay out of dunes.

WILDLIFE PROTECTION – parts of these beaches have traditionally been used by native rare wildlife, including least terns, piping plovers and oystercatchers.  Ropes and signs mark these areas from April 1st – August 31st, or until the nesting season ends.  Ropes and signs will be removed as soon as the nesting season ends.

·Keep out of wildlife protection areas delineated by rope (symbolic) fencing during bird nesting season.

·All rubbish and food is to be carried off the beach.  Food attracts animals that are predators to rare and endangered birds.

·Kite flying and kite surfing are prohibited during the nesting season.  Kites resemble predators and disturb the nesting birds.

·No balloons are allowed on the beach. They can be harmful to marine mammals.

DOGS AND PETS – Many dogs and pets like the water as much as we do.  However, some restrictions are necessary to enable all of us to use and enjoy the beach.  Dog and pet restrictions:

·Dogs and pets are prohibited on all beaches April 1st – August 31st.  

·During the month of September dogs and pets are prohibited on the beaches between 9am to 5pm.

·October 1st to March 31st – Dogs and pets are permitted on the beach.

·Dog owners must use “doggie bags” and remove all waste.


PUBLIC SAFETY – To ensure public safety and a clean beach, restrictions are necessary.

·State regulations prohibit carrying or consuming alcoholic beverages on the beach.

·No canopies larger than 10x12 feet.

·No overnight camping or sleeping.

·No open fires or fireworks. Charcoal grills are not allowed.  Contained gas grills may be used for cooking purposes only. Notification to Oak Bluffs or Edgartown Fire Department is required.

·No removing, defacing or otherwise damaging signs, posts, roping or other structures.

·No littering:  Each visitor shall remove all rubbish, trash or refuse which he or she is responsible for ($3,000 fine per MGL Chapter 270, Section 16). Please consider removing other litter as well.

·Behavior that endangers the public, causes a nuisance or harasses wildlife is prohibited.

·There are no lifeguards, swim at your own risk.

PARTIES OR SPECIAL EVENTS – Any group, gathering or convergence of more than 50 people for social, recreational or commercial purposes is required to obtain a permit in advance from the County Manager’s Office. Any event or group utilizing a caterer (regardless of number of people in the group) is also required to obtain a permit. Permits can be obtained by contacting the County Manager at P.O. Box 190, Edgartown, MA 02539.  Tel. 508 696 3840

VEHICULAR ACCESS FOR LICENSED SHELL FISHERMEN- People licensed to harvest shellfish in either Oak Bluffs or Edgartown and are shell fishing, may drive on the Sengekontacket Pond shoreline of Joseph Sylvia State Beach to access the shell fishing areas.

·The presence of nesting shorebirds may close part of or the entire beach to vehicular access.

·Vehicles must stay on the dry sand between the dunes and the normal high tide waterline, so access is not possible during some high tides.

·Vehicles designated or modified for use over unimproved terrain such as “recreational vehicles”, “off-road vehicles” (ORV) or “all terrain vehicles” (ATV) are
prohibited on all County beaches (except for official use by governmental and enforcing agencies).

·Vehicles must be in four-wheel drive.

·Tires shall be maintained at a maximum of 15 pounds per square inch.  If your tires start to spin in soft sand, let more air out of the tires.

·Driving or parking is prohibited in the following areas: On vegetation; within 15 feet of snow fencing; within 15 feet of the toe of the dune.

·Speed limit is 10 mph.

·All vehicles must carry the following: beach regulations, spare tire, a rope strap chain or cable of sufficient strength and length to tow your vehicle, jack and a board to go under the jack (a jack in loose sand is useless), heavy duty shovel and tire pressure gauge registering 10psi or less.

·Drivers must fill in the ruts and holes they dig to remove their vehicle from loose sand.

VIOLATIONS- There will be a $50 fine for each infraction. (Mass.General Law Acts 1971, Section 161.)

RULES AND REGULATIONS ARE ENFORCED BY THE DUKES COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT