Belmar may become the next Jersey Shore town to ban what has become known as "beach spreading" — claiming just a bit too much of the beach for yourself.

“These are tents you would typically see maybe in someone’s backyard or even tailgating at a place like MetLife stadium. They really are not appropriate at the Jersey Shore,” Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said.

A public hearing will be held Sept. 5 in Belmar on a proposed ordinance to ban tents that are more than 3 feet in height, width and depth during the summer.

Dougherty said if people want shade they should “stick to the traditional beach umbrellas that people see, and even the small tents that moms and dads bring for toddlers and infants.”

“What we’re looking to do is bring the beach back to what it was in years past," Dougherty said.

What’s wrong with setting up a large tent on the beach?

Doherty pointed out some of them have side flaps “and so it not only limits the view of other beachgoers, but could potentially put a swimmer in distress out of view of the lifeguards that are there to protect them.”

“To have these types of tents up really reduces the viability of the beachfront as a place for middle class families to come and relax.”

He said if everyone brought one of these large tents to the beach, it would take up so much space “it wouldn’t make it an attractive environment for families to come to the beach.”

He added when people go to the beach they may want a break from the sun — “but in general the expectation should be that you’re going to get a lot of sun when you come to the beach.”

“We encourage people to come to the beach, have a great time with their family, but when it comes to shade on the beach, stick to the more traditional beach umbrella," Dougherty said.

Other Jersey Shore towns that have banned large tents on the beach include Long Beach Township, Avon-by-the-Sea and Seaside Heights.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated with the correct date for the public hearing on the ordinance. 

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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