❗ Warnings about digging sand holes ahead of beach season

❗ There have been a series of incidents resulting in injury and death

❗ One Shore town has banned digging in the sand

New Jersey's Shore towns have been warning for years about the dangers of digging deep holes at the beach, but one town is now outright banning the activity.

No one has been hurt or killed from a sand collapse in Sea Girt and the Monmouth County town would like to keep it that way.

A new local ordinance states that holes in the sand may be no deeper than 12-inches or above the knees of the shortest person in a group, whichever is shallowest.

If you do dig a hole, you cannot leave it unattended and it must be filled back in before you leave the beach.

Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media

Sea Girt is also banning burying a person in the sand if it is "below grade" and never in the standing position.

The initial enforcement will be done by lifeguards, who will warn people of the dangers of digging in the sand.

Other towns have similar ordinances

After a series of incidents involving sand collapse on a Jersey beach, towns stepped up warnings of shore goers of the dangers of digging deep holes in the sand.

Seaside Heights and Belmar were among the first towns to pass ordinances that regulate the size and depth of holes in the beach.

The issue got new attention this year in Sea Girt after a two year old was trapped by a sand collapse.

Sea Girt
Sea Girt (Sea Girt LIfeguards)

When police got to the Neptune Place Beach, parents of the child said he had been playing on the beach when the sand collapsed around him.

Sea Girt Police Chief Justin Macko said in a statement on social media that the boy's father rescued him.

Sand collapses can be deadly

There have been at least four sand cave-ins at the Jersey Shore since 2012. Two have been deadly.

The most recent involved two teen-aged siblings in Toms River in 2022.

18-year old Levi Caverly and his 17-year-old sister were visiting New Jersey with family from Maine.

Using frisbees, police said the two had dung a ten-foot hole that collapsed on top of them. The sister was rescued, but Levi Caverly died before he could be rescued.

Levi Caverly, rescue workers at Ocean III beach in Toms River
Levi Caverly, rescue workers at Ocean III beach in Toms River (Kyle Anthony, Townsquare Media)

Other incidents include:

An 8-year-old child survived a sand collapse in Belmar in 2020

A 12-year-old boy was rescued when the hole he dug in the sand collapsed on top of him in Surf City in 2015

A 12-year old boy died in 2012 when a tunnel he had been digging in the sand in Long Branch collapsed on top of him

Don't dig

Jersey shore officials have long warned about the dangers of digging in the sand.

Sand holes may seem harmless, but they can easily and very suddenly collapse.

Trapped under the sand, a person cannot breathe. Brain damage and organ failure can occur in minutes.

Mike Brant - TSM

Plus, sand is heavy, and the crushing weight makes it difficult for a person to move or try and dig themselves out.

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