Does Alcohol Awareness Mean Banning Alcohol at the Beach?

by: Mike Miller

For the better part of 20 years lawmakers have been attempting to ban alcohol from public beaches. As a recovering alcoholic who teaches alcohol awareness classes, I can tell you I spent plenty of time drinking on the beach – often getting drunk and sometimes getting into trouble. That said, most of my beach drinking and troubles occurred in high school and college.

The issue of alcohol on the beaches continues to create a heated debate, usually with irate homeowners tired of watching young men urinating in their yard. One of alcohol’s effects is to lower inhibition which would cause some people to do things they normally wouldn’t. It also affects our emotions and greatly increases the chances of violence.

Melbourne Residents Want Booze on the Beach

The issue of booze on the beach hit Melbourne, Florida recently, with the city commissioners deciding to continue to allow alcohol on the beach. The Melbourne Beach Town Commission rejected an ordinance June 15 that would ban booze on the beach. Instead, they asked the town staff to create a new ordinance that would better equip police when dealing with intoxicated instigators versus occasional beach-drinkers.

Even respected Community Figures Drink on the Beach

Former Melbourne Beach Commissioner Paul Guglietta said he's been known to drink the occasional beer or rum and coke on the beach, without becoming intoxicated.

"I understand now that if I do that and this law passes as it's written now, at the tender age of 74, I will become a law-breaker," he said.

Two Brevard County teachers also voiced their concern for potentially losing their teaching licenses if caught with a cocktail on the beach.

"If I suspect one student in my class is cheating, I can't fail my entire class," said Melbourne Beach resident Stephen Gallagher. "I don't think it's right to ban everybody just because there is a small group causing a problem."

As with everything else, drinking on the beach, in the hot sun, you have to show common sense. First, do not become overly inebriated. Second, do not do stupid things like urinating in public or fighting. Third, pick up after yourself.