Wrightsville Beach makes surf and swim zone changes

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Submitted: Fri, 05/10/2013 - 3:15am
Updated: Fri, 05/10/2013 - 12:43pm

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) – The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen voted 4-1 in favor of restricting swimmers 200 feet from both the Johnnie Mercer’s Pier and Crystal Pier Thursday night during the second reading. They set a 350 foot limit for surfers.

Fisherman said they would have liked to have seen a harsher restriction.

This decision amended last month’s first reading motion of setting a 200 foot restriction from the Piers for swimmers and surfers. That vote count was 3-2.

“If enforcement is firm and timely, I think it will work well,” Matt Johnson, owner of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier said.

To designate the zones specific to swimmers or surfers, the Board said they will mark the areas with different colored poles and buoys.

The Board also voted to increase the fine for people who violate the restrictions from $100 to $250.

“There’s no such thing as 100% enforcement, but I think this will go a long way to making the beaches safer,” Johnson said.

Some argue it would be safer to have surfers closer to the piers, especially during afterhours when the life guards leave their post.

“The lifeguards are extremely qualified and do a great job but they can’t be everywhere at once. That’s why they said when they are not there afterhours, the surfers are the second best thing,” Michael Kupferman said.

Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue Director, Dave Baker, cautioned the Board of Alderman to set the same zone for swimmers and surfers.

Kupferman was shocked the Board did not take his advice.

“For the Board to not take what the professionals say is almost disrespectful because that’s their job, that’s what they are there for and they do know best,” he said.

The Board said they would use this beach season as a trial period for these new guidelines. They say they will revisit the restrictions in the off-season.

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10 Comments on "Wrightsville Beach makes surf and swim zone changes"

2015 years 8 months ago

As part of their crack down on those dreaded beach going scofflaws, camera’s will be installed on the piers and that video feed will be transmitted to an overhead Predator drone, already in place watching from above to catch smokers.
Anyone swimming too close will be taken out, er, um, I mean they will be sent a civil penalty through the mail – yeah that’s right, a fine…..(I almost blew their cover)


2015 years 8 months ago

I agree with you 100%. If they ban swimming near the piers, they should ban surf fishing between the hours of 0800 and 2000.

2015 years 8 months ago

Wrightsville Beach Board will do what they want to without reason or regards of what anyone tells them. Now, does this mean that all fishing has to be done from the piers? I think they should band fishing from the beach when swimmers are around.

James McGee
2015 years 8 months ago

As a Wrightsville Beach resident and surfer I have personally helped swimmers in trouble and so have other surfers. WB Ocean Rescue recommended 200 feet for swimmers and surfers and we now have a cluster. The WB Johnny Mercers fishing pier has hardly any fishermen while there are surfers who put money in the meters on a daily basis.
If someone drowns swimming within the 200 and 350 foot distance from the pier, and a surfer could have saved that person, then the board will see that this was a horrible decision. The vote came on the night there was big news that some surfer friends of mine saved some swimmers at Carolina Beach.
Check out today’s paper.

2015 years 8 months ago

How many Pier fishermen fall off a pier and drown? (next to Zero)

How many people “swimming” next to a pier get hurt/knocked unconscious/Or get “Hooked”, swimming next to pier pilings? Plenty..

How Many Surfers get hurt or drowned “surfing” next to piers? Aplenty..
Though there’s evidence there that Surfers DO help people in Dire Troubles, that is a Story for another time.
Lets see..(google Search)
More on the West Coast than the East, though the stats are there..
They don’t Lie…

Surfer Drowns After Hitting Pier Pilings,Source,La times

One surfer’s life suddenly ended in the surf Sunday. Kurt Murray, 21, drowned while surfing near the Surf City Pier around 2 p.m.. 9/2010

Oct/2009, Bilde-13 A 15-year-old North Carolina surfer died in the Outer Banks on Friday when his leash became tangled in the pilings of the Avon Pier

Dec/2007 Stupid a** kid thinkin hes all cool, jumps off the pier with a surfboard and gets completely ravaged by a wave.Almost Drowns..

Sept/2010,,A 21-year-old man drowned Sunday while surfing near the Surf City Pier. (WECT)

ADVICE from the NJ Surfing Club–> Avoid surfing near a pier or jetty to avoid rocks and rip currents.

Nov, 2009,, NY Surfer Drowns … that’s gotta suck to get tangled up in your leash against rocks/pier and not be able to get it off.

From; Second Wave-My Surfing life: Usually by mad surfers trying to shoot, go through, the pier legs while riding a wave. … Also secondary drowning can occur after a near drowning incident.

SurfScience.com: If you surf you will wipe out but you can decrease your chances of injury, broken boards and drowning by following proper surfing wipe out technique. … What Other Obstacles Are There: Rocks, piers, rip currents, cliffs and other factors can well; drown YOU …

A surfer drowned Thursday after he hit a piling while trying to cross under the municipal pier, Huntington Beach police said.

I remember ONE whom gotten killed a couple years back by Lighting,@ Wrightsville beach, To dern Ignorant to get out of the Water as a Storm Front Moved through..

We The FISHERMEN/WOMEN Are asking for SPACE to keep you KNUCKLEHEADS from getting tangled in hooks & lines, which either can hurt you, or lead to your un-timely Demise….
You have over 2.4 + MILES of BEACH front to Surf, YET your not happy with that, Ya’ll have to “Surf next to the Piers also!”
Of course, according to WIKI, check this out…

Naturally the primary attraction to Wrightsville is the beach itself. Johnny Mercer’s Pier, located in the middle of Wrightsville Beach, is considered to be an excellent place for fishing.

James McGee says: The WB Johnny Mercers fishing pier has hardly any fishermen while there are surfers who put money in the meters on a daily basis.
I call BS on that comment. Pier AND Surf Fishermen put monies into those same meters, ALSO buying, BAIT/Tackle/a pier pass, Staying at the Local Motel(s),AND paying for a Salt water License to fish the Surf.. So WHOM pays MORE to the Local economy to enjoy their Sport of choice? I’m betting a great bunch of KING Fishermen Dis-agree with your comment, including, not Limited to the Southeastern King Mackerel Pier fishing Club.

You also say, there was big news that some surfer friends of mine saved some swimmers at Carolina Beach.
While Trying to “save” 2 Whom; were 2 MEN trying to save a Person on a BOOGIE Board caught in a Rip current? Trying to “spin” that news Artical some are ya?

JJ says: Now, does this mean that all fishing has to be done from the piers? I think they should band(*BAN*, learn how to spell fool), fishing from the beach when swimmers are around.

The truth to the matter, No matter how hard it is, it’s called “Common Courtesy”, Surf Fishermen/Women PAY for that “right” via a Salt Water license, to Surf Fish, WE have just as much of a Right to Fish from the BEACH as Well as the Pier. Surf Fishermen/women are usually very courteous to Swimmers and Surfers alike, Either One can Move to a “un-crowded Spot”, Or as the Old adage goes WHOM was there FIRST? the Fisherman, or the swimmer/Surfer…? I myself Fish Early in the Morning/Late evening, before/After the “Crowds” get there, OR leave, as they start appearing, I usually leave, leaving the Swimmers/Surfers for the Sharks to snack on..

How’s about WE license your boards by the INCH and Tax them like boats? Or require a “Surfing License”? Bet ya would like that wouldn’t ya? Think I’ll start contacting several Agencies about getting legislation started on it, along with the DNF, NCDENR, and a couple of Senator(s)… You know they would love NEW tax monies coming in, Say, We could use it for, wait for it,,, BEACH RENOURISHMENT!

Guest525 chimes in ,I agree with you 100%. If they ban swimming near the piers, they should ban surf fishing between the hours of 0800 and 2000.

That My friend is just a plain asinine comment..

Personally, You surfers are a Danger to Yourselves AND other People, (swimmers) in the water(s) & Surf, I’ve seen My fair share of Tourist’s getting hit upside the head while your catching your “wave Dude”… That don’t have time to “duck” as you come speeding by on your boards, injuring people when you slap them in the head with your *stick*…
I feel personally think that Wrightsville beach should, go back to the OLD Rules, designating area(s) to Surf, between such & such street(s) beach access’s , on certain Days…
Put that in your pipe/Doobie or Blunt and smoke it… Be happy..

2015 years 8 months ago

Why is one group of people getting preferential treatment over others? What gives the fishermen more rights than the swimmers and surfers?

2015 years 8 months ago

You can’t be serious. Piers don’t move, surfers can.
I say ZERO distance ban for surfers and swimmers. Let them surf/swim under the pier, take all the morons out of the genepool.

2015 years 8 months ago

You’re right, people can move. Those fishing can always relocate.

Guest Reply
2015 years 8 months ago

They should paint a red line out there to mark off the boundaries…if they can get the water and tides to come to a standstill that is :-)

2015 years 8 months ago

I thought WB wasn’t able to ban people from smoking beyond the tide line, so how are they able to ban swimming in the ocean?