Climbing out on the slippery new Long Beach jetties will cost more than the possibility of a broken limb.
Long Beach City Council members have passed a new ordinance that fines beachgoers between $100 and $500 for climbing on the black rock jetties jutting from the beach into the Atlantic Ocean.
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is building the larger jetties and groins as part of the barrier island’s $230 million storm protection project.
City officials said lifeguards, police and firefighters sought steep fines for climbing on all jetties along the beach, including existing rocks along the boardwalk.
Climbing on the flat, slippery rocks puts not only swimmers at risk, but also first responders, officials said.
“It is dangerous to walk on the jetties, and anything can happen and you can fall in,” Long Beach City Council President Len Torres said. “The currents are very strong and the chances for survival are very slim. We’re taking this seriously and you will be fined.”
Police previously couldn’t enforce restrictions or issue tickets because no signs were installed prohibiting access on the jetties.
City workers last week added signage on the new jetties and on the boardwalk that read, “Keep off jetties. Max fine 500 dollars.”
Swimmers weren’t deterred last week, climbing on the older jetties next to a sign that read, “Danger. Keep off rocks.”
No fines have been issued since the new signs were installed, officials said. No major injuries have been reported this year, although swimmers have fallen from the jetties in the past.
When the city initially installed signs, they were vandalized and removed, officials said. The new signs are secured in front of the jetties and prominently displayed.
City Manager Jack Schnirman said the surfaces of the new jetties appear flat and easy to climb, but are still dangerous.
“The goal is not to write tickets. The goal is public safety,” Schnirman said. “This is not a revenue generator. This fine is a deterrent.”
Engineers recently completed the jetty work at two sites — Edwards and Riverside boulevards — and finished work earlier this month at New York and Roosevelt boulevards. With the work finished in the boardwalk area, all fencing and equipment have been removed in time for the summer season.
Stone delivery is continuing weekdays until Labor Day at New York and Neptune boulevards. The entire project is set to finish next spring.
The jetty construction is part of the larger beach protection project along 7 miles of coastline from Jones Inlet in Point Lookout to Rockaway Inlet west of Atlantic Beach. The large stone jetties are to buffer the city and the South Shore from crashing waves and tidal flooding, as well as collect sand to reduce beach erosion. Officials are seeking to protect the city from another storm like superstorm Sandy, which destroyed homes and the boardwalk and flooded most of the city in 2012.