Controversial beach law officially in effect

Image 1 of 3

A new state wide beach access law became official Sunday morning. Now, beachgoers, businesses, and officials are working to sort out all the details. 

“Beachgoers shouldn’t see any difference," said St. Pete Beach Mayor Alan Johnson. "It’s going to be business as usual."

“We’ve got customary use here on this beach, now if somebody wants to challenge it then it would be the same thing if we had done it years ago."

Customary use refers to beach property that has a history of public access -- even if a portion of it runs through private property. 

Florida’s new beach access law prohibits local governments from enacting customary use ordinances after July 1, which makes it harder for them to designate private beach property for public use.

St. Pete Beach put their Customary Use ordinance into effect last week. 

“Now if somebody decides they want to try and keep people off their section of the beach, they've got to go challenge our ordinance and that means that they have to take us to court.”

Pinellas County is home to more than a dozen beaches, which leaves a lot of room for property owners and beachgoers to clash over boundary lines. 

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Offices told FOX 13 that they will be evaluating valid trespassing complaints on a case-by-case basis. 

They plan to issue warnings and educate people when possible as everyone adjusts to the new rules.