Draft leaves enforcement to discretion of lifeguards.

FALMOUTH — Falmouth beachgoers will likely face a new set of rules this summer, but just what those rules will be is still under discussion.

The talk could get lively Wednesday when the town Beach Committee meets to finalize its proposal.

The Board of Selectmen has the ultimate sign-off.

Some existing prohibitions will remain in place, based on the draft: no smoking on the beach and no drinking alcohol or building fires on the beach or in the parking lots. Pets must be kept off the beach from May 1 to Oct. 1. Fishing, scuba diving and the use of watercraft are forbidden in the swimming area.

One new provision, prompted by those attending the Beach Committee’s previous discussions, is a rule that prohibits feeding wildlife, “to promote clean, healthy beaches.”

The Beach Committee tried to incorporate public input into the draft, Chairman Jason Chorches said. Chorches called the package a balance between the town’s decades-old beach rules and a controversial proposal for tougher regulations submitted to town meeting last fall.

Town meeting members passed over the proposal and instead directed the selectmen to enact new regulations with some public input.

The draft rules set the decision-making on enforcement on the shoulders of the lifeguards.

“All the beach rules are based on the lifeguards' discretion,” Chorches said. “Tents are allowed, but if it is too windy for structures, lifeguards may decide not to allow them.”

Ball playing, kite flying and beach games are permitted, but only at the lifeguards' discretion, according to the draft. “Beach staff may terminate these same activities when it is deemed unsafe to the public.”

The Falmouth Heights-Maravista Neighborhood Association was behind the tighter regulations brought to the November town meeting.

The proposal would have nixed kite-flying, Frisbee tossing and ball playing. Tents and tarps would have been prohibited, with beachgoers limited to single-pole umbrellas and 36-inch domes for toddlers.

The new draft rules do not limit the use of tents, tarps and umbrellas but require that they not block the view of the lifeguards.

The neighborhood association “does not agree 100 percent” with the draft and is preparing a statement for the Beach Committee and the selectmen, Vice President Paula Lichter said.

“These rules say ball playing and kite flying are at the discretion of the lifeguards, after telling us for three or four years that the lifeguards are there to watch swimmers, not do all these other things,” Lichter said.

Eddie Senechal, owner of Cape Cod Windsurfing, is urging paddeboard and kayak enthusiasts to attend Wednesday’s meeting to lobby for better access to the water. Currently such watercraft may enter only via Chappaquoit Beach and Trunk River Beach, Senechal said. The former has suffered from extensive erosion and the latter is on Vineyard Sound, where currents can be tricky, Senechal said.

“We’re just looking for access beside the swimming area and in view of the lifeguards,” he said. “Other communities have found ways to open up pathways.”

The Beach Committee meeting will open at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the harbormaster’s office on Scranton Avenue.

 — Follow Christine Legere on Twitter: @ChrisLegereCCT.