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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

November 10, 2000


Sally Spadaro 222-4700 ext. 2426
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418


PROVIDENCE - Thinking ahead to next summer, the Department of Environmental Management announces that it will open areas at three state beaches to surfing, on a one-season trial basis. The department will open 100-yard wide "surfing only" areas at Misquamicut State Beach, Scarborough State Beach and East Matunuck State Beach during the hours the beaches are open.

"Rhode Island waters are conducive to surfing, and the sport is becoming increasing popular here," said Malcolm Grant, DEM Associate Director for Natural Resources. "However, there are very few beaches in state where surfing is allowed. "We feel that the length of the beachfronts at Misquamicut, Scarborough and East Matunuck provide adequate room for both surfing and swimming safely. If the first season works as well as we hope it does, we will continue to allow surfing in subsequent years."

Acting on a request from the surfing community to open a section of Misquamicut State Beach to surfing, DEM agreed to the request, and added the two other beaches, under several conditions to ensure the safety of beachgoers, both surfers and swimmers.

Surfing areas will be marked, and staffed by lifeguards with the authority to ensure safe surfing and order any surfer acting in an unsafe manner from the water. Unsafe means surfing without an ankle tether, with disregard for the safety of others, or without sufficient swimming ability. Children through the age of 12 must be accompanied by a responsible adult while surfing, although the adult may be on the beach. The beach manager retains authority to restrict surfing for the same reasons as apply to the beach generally, including bathing areas. These include staffing limitations, patronage levels, and sea conditions. The conditions will be posted at the beaches.

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