Pier Etiquette at California Piers


Do you feel like taking a stroll at a California pier? It's do-able, for sure! But there are many things you may not anticipate when you decide to take a walk. So we've put together a primer of guidelines and thoughts to help you chart these unexplored waters, so to speak.

Rules & Regulations

When you enter most piers, there are sets of rules and regulation is fine print posted at the entrance gate or entry point. Most people don't read them. And many piers have so many rules, they string them along various posts throughout the pier. So if you never look up, you'll totally miss them till some lifeguard in a tower blasts out on his horn:

Take your bike off the pier. Take your bike off the pier.

No dogs on the pier.

No smoking on the pier.

No skateboarding on the pier

No skates on the pier.

The list goes on and on. That gets you through the basics before you get into the finer points that involve etiquette more than actual rules and regulations.

Etiquette & Consideration

When piers are filled with hundreds of people (and they often are on hot summer days or holidays) they are kind of crowded and not so easy to navigate, especially if you're a local pier walker or it's part of your exercise routine to walk the pier 10 times, for instance. Believe it or not, there are many people like that. They usually live nearby and enjoy the exhilarating feeling one gets when the strong breezes blow, keeping them cool and barely working up a sweat. But the obstacles are there for everyone to navigate and can be avoided if visitors to piers use common courtesy.

Don't walk with your group of friends and family across the width of the pier, blocking the path for other pier-goers. By keeping your group to one side (in the U.S. people usually walk on the right side) you allow others to get by you.

Don't leave your messy fishing gear & fish guts out on the decks of the pier. There are cleaning basins to keep the mess contained, though many anglers don't use them, forcing all to suffer.

Don't feed the birds, for gosh sakes! Don't you know by now that the coat of white bird droppings is from all the people feeding the birds? It increases the bird population, especially pigeons.

Don't walk your unleashed dog on a pier. If the pier rules don't prohibit dogs, please don't force every adult and child to worry about loose animals that have them trapped with no escape. It's un-thoughtful at minimum.

Don't smoke on pier, or at least check the rules. Some of California's piers are made of very dry wood that could easily catch on fire. California is nearly 100% smoke free on its public beaches and piers, and it is better to assume you can't smoke on a pier than to believe you can.

Don't let your passions get out of check. Couples find piers amazingly sexy and romantic. But there are children and families passing by who don't need to see couples begin to mount each other in the heat of passion on such a public place. It's OK to hug and give a kiss, but there is a line to be drawn for the sake of all.

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