Nags Head, N.C. (WTKR) - Commissioners in Nags Head have approved an ordinance that prohibits items like tents to be left on the beach overnight.
The ordinance tells folks not to leave equipment, including tents and chairs, on the beach overnight and to also fill in any holes dug in the sand.
Chad Motz is the head of Nags Head Ocean Rescue.
He says items left on the beach overnight pose a safety hazard for residents, visitors and emergency personnel.
"It's a hazard for people walking on the beach in the evening or early morning, response for ocean rescue vehicles if we have a call at night navigating the beach," he told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Wednesday.
The new rules are also designed to help protect sea turtles nesting, as "tents and poles left on the beach can impede nesting sea turtles and impact hatchlings" according to a post on the Town of Nags Head website.
Leaving items on the beach can also be a problem during thunderstorms, when items get blown around and into the water.
The new ordinance will not go into effect right away, but instead will be phased in.
Next summer, beachgoers will be educated on the new rules and any equipment left on the beach after 8 p.m. will be marked with a reminder tag.
The new ordinance will start being enforced during the summer of 2016.
Read more about the policy here: Nags Head Beach Tent Policy