NO. It hits you right in the face! Every time I go to the beach, I’m greeted by a town ordinance sign that starts with a BIG red NO.
The sign lists 120 things that I’m not supposed to do. If I don’t obey the sign, I’m guessing I will be deported to Guantanamo and locked away forever.
On a serious note, I can understand why we are telling all beach-goers why we want to keep our beaches pristine.
After all, respecting regulations will ensure a safe and good experience for all involved. But put yourself in the shoes of a visitor who drove 1,000 miles to Hilton Head Island because they heard we had some of the best beaches in the world.
The first thing they see is NO.
The second thing they see is, “Welcome to Town of Hilton Head.” It’s not Southern hospitality. It’s not even correct English.
For a few thousand dollars, we could change them to something like:
WELCOME to our world famous beaches! We want you to enjoy them, and for your own safety and for the environment, we want you to observe the following regulations…
Would that not be a better way to greet the million-plus visitors we get every year? It seems like a small thing, but 100 small things lead to the final impression we make on our guests.
When they return home, we want them to think about their next vacation to our shores and tell all their friends and neighbors about the experience.
While the sign itself might be a small thing, it is symbolic of an attitude of a town that might be caught up in enforcing every regulation possible instead of finding a balance, allowing businesses to do what they do best — make visitors feel welcome and entertain them.
Our beaches are our biggest assets, yet we are hardly allowed to do anything on them. Try to organize any type of event that involves food and beverage, a bonfire, organized entertainment or signage and you are likely to find the same type of NO attitude as the sign.
I’m only halfway cynical when saying that I’m surprised organizing a yoga class on the beach does not require a special permit.
A Royal Proposal
I know I will get some hate mail from my friends from Port Royal with my next statement, but seriously, why are our tax dollars going to pay for the beach nourishment in Port Royal?
I realize the beach is technically public, but most Realtors sell Port Royal as a private beach, the reason is that the nearest public access is a long hike by anybody’s standard (unless you are a trained marathon athlete).
So here is the compromise: We pay for your beach re-nourishment. In return, you give us a public access point in your plantation.
Agree or disagree, but please let me hear your voice if you think that we should be allowed to have more fun on our beaches or if you would like to add some new regulations. Enjoy the summer and be safe!