Local beaches to be harsher on drinkers this July 4

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- An electric sign welcomes drivers to Sullivan's Island this weekend and its message is clear: Alcohol is illegal on the streets, sidewalks and beaches.

Sullivan's Island officials said they noticed an increase in alcohol on the beach over Memorial Day weekend. Since then, they have increased patrols. They said they are no longer giving warnings -- only citations.

"It's a good idea. When you come out to the beach you want to come out with your family, not have to worry about alcohol," said Tim Harrison, who visited the beach Wednesday.

Isle of Palms Mayor Dick Cronin said the town always has extra patrols on holidays. So far this summer, they've issued more than 90 citations for alcohol on the beach.

"It's a family beach. We'd like to keep it for the family. That's why we do patrol the beach and make sure wherever possible anybody with alcohol is appropriately cited,"Cronin said.

The Sullivan's Island mayor said it has also seen an increase in beachgoers this year. He attributed the increase to Folly's new ban on drinking, the increasing population and Sullivan's restaurants being a new destination.

But Cronin said he couldn't link the increase in beachgoers completely with Folly Beach's ban on drinking, but said it could be a part. He also cited the Lowcountry's growing population as a factor.

With that in mind, Corey Montgomery said she and her friends may just skip the beach and find another way to celebrate Independence Day on the water.

"I think more people are going to go out on the boats. That's what I heard," she said.

Alcohol citations in both towns can exceed $1,000.