Letter to the editor from Bart Algozzini: I am writing you this with suggestions for the Cove area on the beach. My wife grew up going to the Brigantine Beach and Cove, both by boat and SUV, and since, we’ve been patronizing your city for years, both businesses, and beaches.
For many years, we have purchased a pass for our SUV so we can drive onto the Cove and enjoy the day. The past two seasons we have become more and more disappointed in our experience.
Even though there was some improvement this past year by adding the clam shells to the entrance, the sand has become so deep in some areas that multiple vehicles are getting stuck daily there. If the city cannot assist with vehicles that are stuck – there can be disclaimers carried by the officers to sign off if there was damage if someone needed to be pulled out – then improvements need to be made to make it more enjoyable. This could be done by grading etc.
Additionally, it has become more evident that some folks have lost or just are not aware of the Cove etiquette while utilizing the beach. I have listed some examples below for your reference:
Those not adhering to the Cove etiquette should be given an initial warning, and repeat offenders should be penalized by losing their Cove privileges/passes.
1. Placing multiple chairs to hold spots. It should be first come/first served. Rule should be adhered to. In prior years, it wasn’t really an issue, but with so many passes being sold, it’s become one. People are parking three and four cars deep in some cases. If you get there between 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on a Saturday or Sunday, you most likely won’t get a spot unless you find someone you know, and share space with them. People arriving by 9 a.m. and before 10 a.m. typically wouldn’t have an issue finding spots, unless, of course, multiple spots are being saved with beach chairs, etc.
2. Blocking other vehicles in. Too many times people just block a car in and leave to go find their friends to sit with. They don’t think to ask the person whose vehicle they are blocking before heading off. What if there was an emergency, and that person needed to get out in a hurry? If you can’t find a spot, the only vehicle you should be parking behind are those of your friends who you’re sitting with, unless, of course, you ask the person, and advise them as to where you’ll be sitting, so that they can contact you should they need to move up in case of tide coming in, or have to leave.
3. Drinking alcohol on the beach – the person that owns the vehicle where the ticket was given should have their pass pulled.
4. Walk-ons. Should at the very least have beach badges.
5. Overcrowding. If this continues, perhaps you can limit the permits to New Jersey or Atlantic County residents?
6. Fishing. This should not be allowed. Most people on the Cove are there with their children, grandchildren, etc., and are playing, floating, and/or swimming in the water. People also take walks down the beach. I understand people like to fish, and many, many years ago, the Cove was a fishing beach, however, it’s used by more folks as a swimming beach. Fishing causes a hazard to people walking, swimming, and to wildlife. Lines are thrown out, and you have to walk around them being cautious; hooks are left dangling from the poles which you also have to be cautious of in walking by or kids playing nearby; hooks have also come loose from fishing poles and become dangerous. We witnessed a little boy swimming in the water, and getting a hook caught in his groin area; and he came running up screaming from the water. Luckily, his father was able to pull it out, but, nevertheless, it shouldn’t have occurred; Bait being left on the hooks while they are left dangling; Seagulls fly down to get the bait, and hook gets caught in their mouths. Another incident we witnessed just a few weeks ago. If people want to fish, they should have a designated area for those that would like to drive on and fish away from the folks who want to swim and float in the water.
Rules of etiquette should be handed out when passes are purchased, and signed off on so that it’s known that they are fully aware and understand them. These rules of etiquette should be enforced by the patrons, and the officers that patrol the beach.
Since there is a fee associated with access, it went from an un-protected public beach, to a private beach based on the fee. Once fees are associated, then there should be some services that are rendered.
I am aware that every city is looking for revenue streams, but these passes, which there is no limit to how many are sold, have been a cash cow for the city with little manpower required to monitor its short season. Therefore, with the amount of money generated, it shouldn’t require much to keep the sand grated so that vehicles aren’t getting stuck on a daily basis.
Thanks very much for your attention to this matter.