Ban drinking on the beach?

Public urination, public nudity, and “low class, drunk, obnoxious morons all over the place coming and going to the beach,”

There have been several posts in the Facebook Cocoa Beach Community page Wake Up Cocoa Beach!  regarding various incidents that happened in the city involving drunken individuals…

On resident wrote: 

…There was an unfortunate situation with a young woman in a thong that was very intoxicated. There was a point where she went down in the sand and displayed herself in a bad way – we saw families with young kids witnessing this. We had friends in town and were quite embarrassed – this is where we need some oversight on the beach. I would have been totally freaked out had my son when he was younger witnessed this. Thankfully there were a group of friends (I think) that guided her to a towel on the beach to sleep it off.

Another resident told the group what she witnessed the evening of Mother’s Day, Sunday May 14th: 

…we decided to have an after dinner stroll in town. Unfortunately, it was spoiled because of the low class, drunk, obnoxious morons all over the place coming and going to the beach. All the work and effort that went into renovating the town so beautifully is going to be for naught if these people are allowed to run rampant and ruin it all. The kind of people we want here are going to stay away in droves unless something is done. Just Disgusted.

One solution presented was: Ban drinking on the beach.

According to http://www.cityofcocoabeach.com the only rule regarding alcohol is the one banning glass:

  • Glass – on the beach – Cocoa Beach is one of the few that allows alcohol on the beach, glass bottles are against the law.

One Cocoa Beach resident created a poll asking which option CB residents prefer, I Love Cocoa Beach created a poll with the same options, submit your answer below:

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The City has been trying to avoid banning the consumption of alcohol for many years. If the incidents continue to occur, the ban may sadly have to be considered.  We want to know what the citizens of Cocoa Beach think about banning drinking on the beach. Comment your opinions below!

57 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Orson Tarver May 18, 2017

    Hi, I’m not sure who authored this article but I would appreciate it if we could have a quick conversation. Please IM via Facebook for my contact info.

  2. Wendy May 18, 2017

    Don’t let a few people ruin it for the rest of us. We love being able to go to the beach and relax and have a drink. I think we would loose lots of tourist if we ban it. One of the reasons we purchased a home here.

  3. Paul Kelly May 18, 2017

    Lock the Clowns up that are drunk and rowdy. Also, make the fine for having glass containers on the Beach hurt their wallets.

  4. Larry Johnson May 18, 2017

    Public intoxication is against the law. Banning all drinking due to the morons is a mistake.

    • Barb May 18, 2017

      Exactly. Move the attention to enforcing the public intoxication law rather than pursuing an all or nothing drinking ban.

  5. Carolyn May 18, 2017

    If the ban goes into affect who will enforce it? I see lots of people with bottles on the beach and also dogs. They are not allowed but they still do it. I myself don’t drink on the beach but I would not object to someone drinking as long as they don’t get out of hand and pick up their trash when they leave. That is another issue.

  6. Harriet Fetzer May 18, 2017

    Please do not ban drinking on the beach. For one, it never works. It punishes the many when it is just a few who get out of control.

  7. Harriet Fetzer May 18, 2017

    Please do not ban drinking on the beach. It punishes the many when just a few step over the line.
    Also, may I add…..no dogs on the beach.

  8. Steve Ramey May 18, 2017

    It is illegal to be drunk in public places….use the existing laws to remedy this…banning alcohol is not the answer….if you see someone drunk and disorderly whether it is at the beach or in a shopping area..call 911 and have the person removed…if the beach rangers aren’t doing their jobs…fire them!!!!

  9. Sean May 18, 2017

    A few bad acts should not overshadow the overwhelming fact that most people are law abiding (non intoxicated) residents that enjoy an alcoholic drink while relaxing on the beach.

  10. Jim May 18, 2017

    An all out ban is wrong. Jail and fine the idiots and it will stop or make Cocoa Beach rich. Off topic: The $40 parking fee at the pier is criminal.

  11. Richard Navarrete May 18, 2017

    Banning will not solve the problem fining those or ban the person or people who brake the law,i myself have a drink called Manhattan special it is a coffee soda that comes in a bottle and I always make sure I take the empty bottle with me when I leave the beach Hope we can solve this problem and enjoy our summer happily.

  12. Karen May 18, 2017

    Please don’t ban drinking on the beach. I’m fine with drinking in moderation. Besides, many people will just go up to Coconuts or Beach Shack and get druunk there and then go on the beach.

  13. Sandy May 18, 2017

    Enforce the law already in place. Banning alcohol isn’t the answer. Some of us hardworking people like to spend our weekends relaxing with a beer or two beachside. I wouldn’t hesitate to call 911 on a drunk and disorderly.

  14. David kolp May 18, 2017

    Deal with any people who are breaking the law on the beach. Do not make it illegal and hurt the many good citizens who drink and behave properly.

  15. George K May 18, 2017

    How about ban the alcohol and allow the bonfires!!

  16. Bob May 18, 2017

    From my understanding, the real issue is the lack of funds provided for proper enforcement of existing laws, i.e., public intoxication of those that are causing the problems mentioned in the article. Creating new laws, i.e., no drinking on the beach, is not the answer.

    If there is not enough manpower to enforce existing laws, how would we expect local law enforcement to properly enforce new laws. Flasks, water bottles, etc, will be the new way to drink on the beach for those who will come here for a good time from Orlando or elsewhere.

    Those who are causing problems by not controlling their alcohol consumption will either drink at the bars within walking distance of the beach or they will sneak alcohol on the beach with inconspicuous containers.

    Banning alcohol on the beach will only stop residents from enjoying a pleasant Sunday afternoon on the beach with a few beer. Please don’t punish all of us because a handful of visitors each weekend cause problems.

    Enforce existing laws, don’t create new ones.

    • Kelli May 18, 2017

      It’s not just Cocoa Beach residents that use Cocoa Beach. The last time I checked it’s a public beach and anyone can go there. I have lived in Merritt Island for almost 30 years and have spent many Saturdays and Sundays in Cocoa Beach. I don’t think the Council should decide. I also don’t think that just the residents of Cocoa Beach should vote on the issue.

      People can make all the rules they want and sooner or later we’ll realize that rules won’t change the behavior of people.

      Pot has been outlawed for years and yet people smoke pot on the beach. Making drinking illegal won’t change a dang thing. People will still drink. It’s not the drinking that’s the problem, it’s the ABUSE of alcohol that’s the problem.

      How about charging the drunk, obnoxious people with public intoxication? I believe there’s a law against it on the books already.

      Oh, what to do! Rules and Laws won’t change the behavior. And why do you want to ruin it for the people who drink responsibly.

  17. Nan May 18, 2017

    I’d think it would be extremely difficult to enforce an all out ban on alcohol on the beach. Plus, it penalizes those who drink responsibly. How about the city start with a study group that contacts locations like Daytona Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Panama City to see how they are handling similar situations? Maybe some of their solutions can be implemented here. Also, seems to me that restaurants, bars, hotels etc. could be more proactive in educating visitors re moderation while more frequent beach patrols might help while waiting for the study group’s report.

  18. J B Jeff Buthker May 18, 2017

    The problem is not drinking on the beach, the problem is enforcing the laws that are currently on the books. If public intoxication, urination,disorderly conduct and, littering were strictly enforced things would be much different. Correct?

  19. Duncan May 18, 2017

    How many of the people commenting know our history and have any idea that about 30 days a year we have a over packed Minuteman. As well how few problems are directly related to drinking on the beach. You can’t throw up a a ban if you happen to unfortunately find yourself in one situation with some Orlando or inland visitors acting up and being disrespectful. We can’t stand those visitors. Those few during the 30 give or take days have no respect for our beach. Enforcement has been the problem or lack of for years. We who have the knowledge of everyday that goes on know that drinking on the beach can not be blamed for our issues or every person who had too much to drink or every other problem. Here we go again. I’ll get another daily record of facts to show how not a problem it is. It’s a yearly thing that the same group brings up and every year we show they are blowing things completely out of proportion and looking for the few examples to support another freedom infringement on our local way of life. More enforcement and people need to help be the eyes and ears as well.

  20. Marion Graves May 18, 2017

    It won’t solve the problem to ban it. The town needs to manage it, if it means more man power then that is part of being a tourist town. GET MORE MAN POWER, pretty simple!

  21. chris May 18, 2017

    Enforce existing laws about drunken behavior, don’t penalize folks who know how to behave.

  22. George May 18, 2017

    I believe stricter enforcement in the areas that younger people dominate will help. Don’t ban alcohol because of a few bad apples. You end up punishing everyone because of a few douche bags.

  23. Jeff Lewis May 18, 2017

    Enforce existing laws. The main problem is from under age and out of towners letting to loose. May be just beer and wine. Don’t punish the families of the area that live here to enjoy them self respectfully.

  24. Duncan May 18, 2017

    There’s actually been almost no issues this year and we have a new chief doing a great job, the construction just got finished. Who is trying to bring this up again?

  25. Duncan May 18, 2017

    Those bringing up a ban every year either have moved here and now want to change our ways to be like where they moved from, or they have a financial motive for themselves. Drinking on the beach is not the problem. It has been enforcement, it has been proven already.

  26. Ray May 18, 2017

    Enforce the laws we have. The last thing we need are more laws on the books. All of the obscene examples are already illegal. Let’s get real and just use common sense. Next we will ban Red Dixie cups. Stop the real crime!!!

  27. Mel May 18, 2017

    Sounds like a fine idea. BUT FIRST POST SIGNS AT THE CITY LIMITS TO STATE THAT VISITORS ARE NOT WELCOME HERE! ( this may also take care of the parking problem.) The fact that there may have been an incident is no reason to ban everything that may lead to activity that may be offensive to some. I think we really need to ban people who are easily offended.

  28. John May 18, 2017

    I see these beach buggies driving up & down the beach (I understand they make around $16.00+ per hour) and from what I see that is all they do. You their eyes to observe and call into police to handle the drunks.

    We need to BAN BOTTLES ON THE BEACH–ALSO FINE ANYONE WHO LEAVES TRASH BEHIND.
    Place it on the ballot.

  29. Allen May 18, 2017

    DO NOT BAN RESPONSIBLE BEACH DRINKING!
    It appears that overwhelmingly your responses are not in favor of banning beach drinking and additionally requesting that proper enforcement be encouraged. I have noted that we have created a Beach Ranger Dept, as well as having a CBPD on site tent implemented during high volume weekends at the end of Minutemen Cswy. These are all good initiatives but I have also noted that I am seeing both agencies rolling up and down the north and south neighborhood street ends constantly during these weekends. When I see these complaints as posted at the top of this blog it is almost always at the end of Minutemen Cswy. People we are talking about an area of about 2 linear blocks. If we can not enforce the existing laws in an area this consolidated we have a bigger problem that drinking on the beach, ENFORCE THE LAWS!!! especially in the areas whereas the is a problem.

  30. Ray May 18, 2017

    I understand that we are short 30 police officers? Let’s fill that void, help out the officers so they are staffed fully to be effective.

    • NC May 19, 2017

      The city needs 30 officers? Hey, try employing citizens as Beach Rangers with limited arrest powers. The ranger can and will refer offences over to Badged officers for official arrests or deeper investigation. But this should be an easy one, just hire more officers and enforce the laws already in place.

  31. BK May 18, 2017

    If you have to put rules in place to control the bad apples why not try a drinking permit. CCB residents can buy one for $5 a year, out of CCB it costs $50 per yr, just like the parking permits. People getting drunk on the beach without holding a permit are fined extensively. A one day pass can be purchased for $100 per day through the parking permit machines, which will pay for the rangers to actually check on the problems vs just driving by them.

    two problems solved at once.

    • NC May 19, 2017

      Come on!! Purchase a permit to get drunk? How about just enforcing the laws that are already on the books.

  32. kelley May 18, 2017

    Banning anything does not make it go away! Monitor the beach for drunks. Public drunkenness
    is already a crime. A really drunk person is not hard to spot!

  33. Carol May 18, 2017

    Do not ban drinking! Enforce our current laws with enough police or rangers to handle the disorderly. You know the areas where the problems lie; east end of Minute Man Causeway, the Pier, Lori Wilson Park, etc. Rarely a problem on the beach in the condo areas.
    Please, NO dogs allowed on our beach. We don’t need their poop in the sand where we all walk & children dig with their pails & shovels. We also don’t need dog poop being washed out with the tide where we swim.

  34. Gloria Marrone May 18, 2017

    I am not sure that we need a ban. What we need is more police presence in those areas where there is a problem. I hate to see law biding citizens restricted because of the antics of a few. And Please keep dogs off the beach. We don’t need more mess in addition to the beer cans.

  35. J.C May 18, 2017

    No to the ban. Don’t punish all for the fault of the few. More patrols would take care of a lot of the problem. Hire policemen. Banning also hurts area businesses which affects jobs.

  36. Raoul May 18, 2017

    Research what other Florida cities do to avoid the weekly drink fest that takes place especially at the end of Minuteman Cswy; then implement a similar solution. It is out of hand and needs someone to control it. I like a beer as well as many, but let’s have some behavior norms enforced. It is almost always the few that ruin things for all.

  37. Gary Clark May 18, 2017

    How many locals ever go to the beach? Not many IMO. If you don’t like the alcohol, go to 13th St south or somewhere other than between 2nd North and 2nd South. If somebody is drunk, give them a ticket but don’t enforce “your” rules on everyone.

  38. Jim May 18, 2017

    Stupidity cannot be eliminated through legislation, but we can police it. If our local police and Beach Rangers are committed to maintaining the best possible image of our town, they will respond aggressively to remove the vagrants from the end of Minutemen Causeway and the other characters from the beach when situations warrant. Too often, they look the other way rather than engage with the situation.

  39. Jacqueline Costanza Fillmore May 18, 2017

    As stated multiple times above, enforce the laws against the disorderly. I wouldn’t punish those from out of town either. The ocean doesn’t just belong to Cocoa Beach residents. The out-of-towners also bring money to our local businesses. With all the bars we have in this town, you won’t stop drunk and disorderly behavior just by banning alcohol on the beach. You’d have to close all the bars within walking distance of the beach as well – and that still would not guarantee there would be no misconduct. Penalize the out-of control behavior. Post signs to give notice (renewed notice), that you’re actually going to enforce the existing laws.

  40. Vic May 19, 2017

    Enforce the laws we have. We don’t need any more “DO NOT” signs.

  41. Ed May 19, 2017

    No Ban! Enforce the laws that we already have. I regularly travel the beach from south of Shepard Park to north of The Pier. I don’t see the problems these 18th amendment supporters want. Banning alcohol didn’t work then, but caused more problems.

  42. Jean May 19, 2017

    Enforce the laws already in place. Arrest people who are intoxicated in public. No new laws. Do not ban alcohol on the beach.

  43. Katherine May 19, 2017

    It is not the residents of CB that need more laws. Why not arrest the people that are intoxicated in public for just that public intoxication. Also these people are brivibg here from out of town , drinking all day and getting in their cars and driving home drunk. Just have the cops do their job. I have seen them arrest the locals for it so why not the out of town drunks ? No new law . Law enforcement has the laws on the books to remedy this problem they need to ramp up on the enforcement and not just on the locals.

  44. Gordon Thomas May 19, 2017

    I agree with the majority. Let’s not let the lowest common denominator of behavior dictate to the rest of us that have the discipline to behave like adults and consume alcohol in moderation.
    Enforcement needs to be a real deterrent. By that I mean enforcement by the people through reporting bad behavior (text/voice to a hotline or well known number) and an appropriate authoritarian response. This would be in addition of active and visible patrols by Beach Rangers and Police. Self policing can solve this problem without eliminating the enjoyment of the majority.

  45. John May 19, 2017

    Do not ban alcohol on the beach just enforce existing laws.
    I was walking on the beach this A.M. for one hour, I encountered four dogs.
    The problem is not needing new laws just enforce existing laws.
    The city has turned Cocoa Beach into Kissimmee East.

  46. Kellyn May 19, 2017

    Why is this problem so difficult to solve?
    We are talking about only 2, maybe 3 blocks max of “problem drinking area” beach at the end of Minutemen. Do any locals actually even go to the beach on those blocks during busy season(s)? Lots of good ideas flying around about enforcement, fines, etc. I understand we have already hired more roving beach rangers, and can see we have empty police cars on every corner as a deterrent.

    Why don’t we set up a Ranger monitored Blow-and-Go station at the problem area beach exits and post this warning:
    PERSONS EXHIBITING OBNOXIOUS, BELLIGERENT, OR EXCESSIVELY DRUNKEN BEHAVIOR ON OUR BEACH ARE SUBJECT TO BREATHALYZER TEST AND POSSIBLE IMPRISONMENT. PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. HAVE A NICE DAY.

    I obviously don’t have the answer or the solution, but it is NOT A DRINKING BAN punishing residents.
    Thank you

  47. Phil May 19, 2017

    Another example of a few knuckleheads ruining something for us all. Enforce existing laws. Roving patrols and escorts off the beach after a warning. Don’t listen. Arrested.

  48. R. Doomer May 19, 2017

    Real simple solution. If you’re going to ban this and that just ban people from going on the beach period or just ban all alcohol in Cocoa Beach make it a dry town. If you think the beaches are bad come down to North 1st where the City put in the new entrance and you’ll see people urinating behind bushes, buildings and their cars. Not to mention the empty bottles and cans and dirty diapers. So you see banning people would solve lots of problems especially since the laws are not enforced plus we wouldn’t need as many police officers and our taxes would go down. It’s a win win deal?

  49. Francis Reardon May 20, 2017

    Perhaps we should ban driving because there are a few idiots on the road.
    Also, why is there an assumption that family friendly is alcohol free? How many families would avoid CB if the beach was alcohol free? We never hear this side of the story from bonehead banners.

  50. Brian Costleigh May 21, 2017

    First off, I rarely drink alcohol. So this is coming from basically a non-drinker. The only area where the drunkenness seems to be a problem is at the end of minuteman. I have plenty of neighbors 10 blocks south who enjoy their drinks on the beach. So why let the few ruin it for the vast majority. Do I like seeing or dealing with the sloppy drunks, of course not. But I can only assume that there are specific laws on the books not allowing for drunk and disorderly or just obvious public intoxication. No, we should not ban alcohol on the beach. we should however enforce the laws, if you are drunk and disorderly, give them a hefty fine. I stress a hefty fine because there are plenty of people who will continue to be drunk in public if the fine is not high enough. If they don’t pay the fine, double the fine. If they still don’t pay, make a warrant for their arrest. A few hefty fines and the word will get around that Cocoa beach welcomes you and your open container but but you better follow the rules. For those who want the “pure and clean family beach”, well, Cocoa beach is many miles long, just stay away from the party beach. It is too crowded there anyway. And for my daughter who will start college this fall, if she gets fined, for drunk and disorderly, well, she too will learn the hard way. (Who am I kidding, my daughter will NEVER get drunk!). Finally, for all of those who want to ban alcohol on the beach and ban this and ban that and not let people live their own lives and dictate to others what is right and wrong, there is a better place for you to live. Move to the United Socialists States of America such as NY, NJ, DE, MA, CT, RI, VT, CA or such. Here in Florida, I would like to think people still have rights.

  51. Brian Costleigh May 21, 2017

    One last thing, regarding the above vote for letting the city council decide or putting it up for a citizen vote; How about a third option, don’t change anything until the current laws are enforced. why create any changes if people are not willing to enforce the laws we currently have.

  52. Angela May 24, 2017

    I think Kellyn has an excellent point and suggestion. The warning AND enforcement may promote better behavior on the beach and eliminate a majority of drunk drivers on the road.
    People are more apt to behave when there are actual consequences for their behavior.
    Enforcement, Enforcement, Enforcement –for ALL not just a few!
    For example, Thong bathing suits were supposedly banned back a few years ago – where is the enforcement for that? Our “pick & choose” enforcement isn’t working for that issue or many other issues. Also we need to educate people pertaining to our laws including riding bicycles on the pedestrian sidewalks, etc. Let’s even the playing field and start enforcing our laws that are already on the books for ALL!
    Untie the Officers hands to do their job and enforce the laws as they are written!
    Everyone has the right to enjoy nature at her best! If that enjoyment comes with a nice cold beer – so be it! If it gets out of hand – lock em’ up!

  53. Patrick Swazy October 19, 2019

    We need the police department to stop drinking on and off the beach. This is a beach town and they should be wearing bathing suits while on patrol. However, they should not be drinking, unless on break or lunch.

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