Miami/ Politics & Govt
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Published on June 21, 2024
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Enacts Beach Safety Ordinance After Tragic Sand Collapse Claims Child's LifeSource: Facebook/Town of Lauderdale By The Sea

In a weighty decision spurred by tragedy, the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea town commission has enacted an ordinance to prevent further loss of life due to sand collapses. The law comes in the wake of an incident that claimed the life of a 7-year-old girl, Sloan Mattingly.

On February 20, Sloan was playing along the beach with her brother, Maddox, when a sand hole they were in unexpectedly collapsed. Efforts to rescue Sloan by beachgoers, utilizing their bare hands and plastic paddles, proved futile as the sand continuously caved in. Her brother was rescued, yet Sloan succumbed to the event, stirring a conversation on beach safety regulations. "This amendment prohibits the removal of sand and digging or excavating sand, earth, or soil from any dune or beach within town limits. It also prohibits digging a hole deeper than 18 inches," an official explained, as noted in a statement obtained by Local 10 News.

The newly passed ordinance not only disallows the digging of holes deeper than 18 inches but also forbids any removal of sand from the beaches or dunes in the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea area. The decision, ratified on June 6, also includes stipulations for beachgoers to fill in any holes prior to leaving the area.

Moreover, as a part of the community's response to the tragedy, officials have backed the "Sandcastles for Sloan" campaign. This campaign aims to raise awareness regarding the perils of digging on the beaches and encourages safer practices such as building sandcastles instead. Though the city decided against employing lifeguards on the beach due to high costs, according to an article by NBC Miami, these preventive measures have been established to safeguard against similar incidents and honor the memory of young Sloan.