Community Updates

Protecting Hilton Head Island Beach Dunes and Sand Fencing

From the Town of Hilton Head Island:

September 23, 2020

King tides and wind from passing off-shore storms are leading to higher than normal wave uprush effects on our beach this week. In other words, the wind and tides are pushing more water onto our beaches.

On Monday, the high tide reached up to and, in some cases over, the incipient foredunes that are delineated by the sand fencing on our beach. The sand fencing itself is the core of what may become the new primary dune system we are trying to re-establish after hurricanes and storms over the last three years decimated the dune system on the Island. The dunes are distinguishable by the fencing, sand swells and the plants growing on them. The roots of the plants trying to re-establish themselves are critical to the success of the new dune system forming. Everything landward of the fencing is also part of the protected dune system up to the property lines of nearby residential or commercial structures.

In an effort to continue protecting our dunes during these unusually high tides, we ask for your cooperation in staying at least 10 feet seaward of all dune fencing. At times, there may peak high tide when there is no beach available and we ask that you plan accordingly so that you are not in the dunes at high tide.

Day-time High tides for the remainder of this week are as follows:

  • Wednesday at 2:43 pm
  • Thursday at 3:59 pm
  • Friday at 5:10 pm

The incoming and outgoing tide rises and falls about one foot per hour. Here’s how you can help protect our dunes and dune fencing:

  • Before and after peak high tide, please be sure to stay off the dunes, including the dune fencing.
  • Please do not attach or hang personal property of any kind, including towels, bicycles, shoes, clothing and backpacks in the dune fencing.
  • Please do not block the public beach accesses. You can see tire tracks where authorized vehicles access and drive on the beach frequently during the day. Having clear access is a safety requirement.
  • Please be careful on the beach and when in the water as the sand is shifting and there can be strong undertows. New rip currents can form where there were no rip currents before due to the sand shifting.
  • Be aware of the location of lifeguard towers and watch for their flags that warn of water hazards.

Stay safe during these unusual tides and enjoy the beauty of our beaches.