Nova Scotia has many fabulous beaches.  They are a place to have fun, and learn about and enjoy Nova Scotia's natural beauty and rich biodiversity.  But even when you are relaxing on the beach there are laws to keep in mind ...

Beaches are important for many reasons - ecological, recreational and economic.  We must balance our own activities on beaches with the need to protect the beaches and dune systems, which are sensitive environmental areas. 

Various offences under Nova Scotia's Beaches Act aim in part to protect Nova Scotia's beaches from human activities, but also to help us enjoy them now, and in the future.

For example, it is an offence under the Beaches Act to:

  • take sand, rocks, fossils, or other material (including shells, seaweed) from a beach without a permit
  • deliberately damage or destroy property, natural objects or plants on or near a beach
  • sell stuff on a beach, without a permit
  • let your dog run off leash on a beach if there are signs prohibiting it
  • be impaired by drugs or alcohol on a beach
  • create a disturbance on a beach
  • take your vehicle on a beach, including an off-highway vehicle,  without a permit
  • do anything that is a safety risk to other beach users or makes it hard for them to enjoy the beach
  • litter on a beach.

Nova Scotia's Department of Natural Resources, Parks Division, is responsible for enforcing the Beaches Act, and issuing permits.  Fines for various offences under the Beaches Act start at $180.00. Click here to see current fine amounts under the Beaches Act.  If you have a question about activities on a beach, you can contact your local Department of Natural Resources field office to speak with a Conservation Officer.

There are a number of other laws that may apply when on a beach, such as the Provincial Parks Act, Off-Highway Vehicles Act, Wildlife Act, and the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act.  Coastal management as a whole is a complex area of law, involving various laws and levels of government.  The bottom line? We all have a role to play in using Nova Scotia's beaches responsibly and in a sustainable way, in order to preserve and protect them for the future.

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