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Edisto Beach sees continual spike in tourists

A recap of this year’s tourist season during the summer months at Edisto Beach is staggering, with the beach having a 20-percent increase in the number of people who went to Edisto.
According to information pulled from a license plate recognition system that is operated by the Edisto Beach Police Department, there were 492,435 cars on the beach this year. This is from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the nearly three full months in the summer that Edisto officials deem to be the peak of “tourist season.” The second-busiest time of the year at Edisto Beach is Spring Break.
In 2018, during these same summer months, there were 402,747 cars clocked at the beach.
“This is a nearly 20-percent increase in the number of visitors who came to the beach this summer,” said Edisto Beach Police Chief George Brothers. Brothers monitors the number of people on the beach each year. He then takes that information with him to a sit-down with officials from all other departments that the town operates. The group of leaders then processes and discusses the successes of the summer in their beach town, along with any changes are needed to make the summer better for the next year. This meeting is coming up soon and is usually held in the slower winter months.
“A part of this discussion is going to be traffic control, and parking,” said Brothers.
“In this meeting, we address the growth that is happening every year, and we will talk about our concerns,” he said. “Parking is certainly on that list. The number of people coming to Edisto Beach each year, for a weekend or a week or even as a day-traveler, keeps increasing year after year. And there is nowhere for these people to park,” he said.
According to Brothers, this is the fourth consecutive year that the beach town has seen a fairly substantial hike in the number of tourists at the beach during the summer, he said. To help combat that for this past summer season, Brothers implemented a new Beach Patrol. In years past, this group used to be comprised of volunteers who walk the beaches and let people know when they were violating a town ordinance or policy. This year, however, the police department added two new officers to this task force. And, that group of people in the Beach Patrol started writing tickets.
“We are still here to educate people, and to help everyone have a good time and stay safe, but after we tell you once or twice that there is no glass allowed on the beach, and you’re caught holding a bottle, now you’re going to get a ticket,” said Brothers.
Brothers said the new approach has helped curb some behaviors at the beach. He said the plan to write tickets to repeat violators would continue into next year. While the tickets haven’t been counted yet from the summer months, he said the biggest problem that the Beach Patrol, and the overall police department, encountered was golf cart violations. This was followed by underage drinking and then glass bottles on the beach.
The Town of Edisto Beach follows state laws about golf carts on the roadways. The town has additional laws in place that glass is not allowed on the beach: this is to protect sea turtles, marine life, pets, and people, he said.
Edisto Beach Police Department has six full-time officers year-round, plus the chief. The town’s police department is also supplemented each year by two deputies from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, who are assigned permanently to the town. “They are a big help to us,” said Brothers.
During this past summer, these officers conducted about five to 10 water rescues, which is “average,” according to Brothers.

Heather Walters (1707 Posts)