Encinitas gives initial okay to ban on diving from bridges, beach staircases


Encinitas city leaders have a message for the teens who think diving from the city’s bridges and beach staircases into the sea is an awesome activity: Stop, it’s dangerous!

The City Council on Wednesday unanimously gave initial approval to a new ordinance that will prohibit jumping or diving from bridges and beach stairway accesses into the ocean or waterways. The ordinance will need a second vote of confirmation at another council meeting before it can become effective, but once that’s done, the city will start enforcing the ban, council members stressed.

And, they added, the sooner that enforcement happens, the better.

“We do have (a) problem ... in Cardiff, there are lots and lots of kids jumping all the time,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who lives in the Cardiff area, said. “I think we need to do enforcement. That’s the point of this ordinance.”

Blakespear mentioned that she’s heard recently from worried adults about the dangers of jumping from Cardiff’s Coast Highway 101 bridge into the water next to Cardiff State Beach. One e-mailer noted that the water may look deep, but there’s a sand bar hidden under the water and thus the water’s actually a lot shallower than it looks, she said.

“We don’t want someone to get hurt,” she added.

Under the city’s municipal code, a first-time infraction of the ordinance will rate a $100 fine, while a second-time offender within the same year will owe $200.

In addition to giving initial approval to the proposed ordinance, council members also agreed to spend $500 for approximately 20 warning signs that will be posted on the bridges spanning San Elijo Lagoon as well as various beach access staircases.

The state beach area already prohibits jumping and diving off structures into the sea.

— Barbara Henry is a freelance writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune