Sea Isle City's beaches are a major part of Cape May County's popularity among tourists.


Plastic or digital? What’s your preference?

Sea Isle City beachgoers will have their choice this summer of buying the old-fashioned plastic beach tags that have been in use since the 1970s or going digital.

In a new option for beachgoers, Sea Isle is introducing digital beach tags that can be bought and stored on smartphones using a mobile app.

During a City Council meeting Tuesday, city officials touted the digital tags as a convenient way to take advantage of smartphone technology. But they also emphasized that those tiny pieces of plastic will still be available for beachgoers who covet the traditional physical tags.

“It’s another way to use modern technology to our benefit. But it will need education,” City Business Administrator George Savastano told Council.

Savastano noted that the city will launch a public education campaign to let residents and visitors know all about the digital tags. first reported that the city would introduce digital tags in a story published Feb. 9.  Sea Isle to Introduce Digital Beach Tags This Summer | Sea Isle News.’s Facebook page was filled with more than 200 comments mainly expressing skepticism or dread about digital tags, but also some excitement. Some commenters outright rejected them, while others said having a beach tag on their phone would be a convenient option.

“This idea takes away from the peacefulness of escaping to the beach to get away from technology. Keep the physical beach tag option,” wrote Jenna Berrios in opposition to digital tags.

Robert Mooney, however, wrote, “If you want regular tags, use them. But this is a great option to have.”

Other commenters wrote that they simply don’t take their phones to the beach and have no plans to do so this summer.

Sea Isle’s Chief Financial Officer Jennifer McIver explains some of the features of digital beach tags during a City Council meeting Tuesday.

City Council on Tuesday authorized a contract with My Beach Mobile of Haddonfield, N.J., for the mobile app allowing Sea Isle’s beachgoers to buy digital tags.

Physical beach tags may also be bought using the same app, but they would have to be picked up at the places where they are available in Sea Isle.

“They can get the (physical) tag or use their phone – but not both,” Sea Isle’s Chief Financial Officer Jennifer McIver said.

When it is ready for Sea Isle, the app may be used to buy daily, weekly or seasonal beach tags, McIver explained.

Sea Isle’s beach tags are expected to be available for purchase on the app around April 1. More details will be announced by the city when the app is ready for Sea Isle.

My Beach Mobile already sells digital beach tags for the Jersey Shore communities of Margate, Harvey Cedars, Ship Bottom and Long Beach Island, according to the company’s website.

There will be safeguards in place to make sure that someone can’t “cheat” by simply taking a screenshot of a legitimate digital tag and using it as their own, Savastano said.

“It does not compromise enforcement,” Savastano told the Council members.

Beach tag inspectors will be trained to recognize legitimate digital tags, McIver pointed out.

“Unless they give their phone to someone else, nobody else can use that tag,” McIver said of beachgoers who have digital tags.

Sea Isle beach tag inspector Carole Yoder, at right, checks for tags over the Labor Day weekend in 2023.

The My Beach Mobile app can be downloaded on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. More information is available at Welcome to My Beach Mobile!

There will be fees for using the app. For instance, a daily beach tag in Sea Isle costing $10 would have a $1 fee for a total price of $11. A weekly beach tag costing $15 would have a $1.74 fee. Seasonal beach tags costing $30 would have a $3.17 fee tagged on.

The more people spend to buy beach tags, the higher the fees. For instance, if someone bought $100 worth of beach tags, there would be a fee of $6.20 to bring the total cost to $106.20, according to the fee schedule.

McIver said she believes that people generally won’t mind paying the fees because of the convenience of buying beach tags on the phone.

The digital seasonal tags will be good for the entire summer. The daily and weekly tags will only be valid for those particular days and then will expire, McIver said.

My Beach Mobile replaces the old Viply mobile app that was previously available to buy Sea Isle beach tags over the phone. Viply, however, did not sell digital beach tags, only the physical ones. Viply has since gone out of business, McIver said.

Beach tags are required in Sea Isle from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Children under the age of 12 are allowed on the beach for free.

Sea Isle has raised the price for beach tags for 2024. Seasonal tags have increased from $25 to $30. Sea Isle offers a discount on seasonal beach tags if they are bought before May 15. The discounted price has increased from $20 to $25.

Weekly beach tags have increased from $10 to $15 and dailies have doubled from $5 to $10.

Beach tag revenue is usually in the $1.3 million to $1.4 million range annually for Sea Isle. For the summer of 2023, it came in at $1.3 million, a slight drop from the same period in 2022, McIver said.

Revenue generated by beach tag sales is an important source of funding. It covers the cost of keeping the beaches clean, collecting the trash, employing lifeguards and hiring summer police officers. The revenue also helps to pay for Sea Isle’s share of beach replenishment projects, including one that is scheduled for this spring.

Beach tag revenue helps to pay for Sea Isle’s lifeguards, among other summer expenses for the town.