"Salt marsh on Toms Cove" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain
Plan Your Visit
Over Sand Vehicle (OSV) Use
Brochure for Over-Sand Vehicle Use Regulation in Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Motor vehicles are permitted only within established roads, parking areas and designated Over-Sand Vehicle (OSV) routes. Use of motor vehicles in designated Over-Sand Vehicle Zones is at the operator’s own risk. The following OSV Use Regulations are established to provide enjoyment of the park while protecting fragile resources of the barrier island. Upon signing an OSV Permit, permitee accepts responsibility to know and follow all OSV regulations. Failure to comply with the terms of the Permit, including these regulations, may result in revocation of one’s OSV permit and/or federal prosecution. Please help us maintain the privilege of OSV use by strictly complying with regulations. All applicable State and Federal laws will be enforced. Violations should be reported to Law Enforcement by phoning 911. If you have any questions, please contact appropriate Seashore or Refuge personnel. PERMITS: OSV Special Use Permits and stickers are valid for one year from the month of issue: PERMIT VALID HOURS VA VA ONLY VARY - CALL REFUGE X DAY USE 5 AM – MIDNIGHT 24 HOURS X X $90 X X $110 X X $150 OVERNIGHT BULLPEN FISHING MIDNIGHT – 5 AM 24 HOURS MD COST $70 Upgrade of permits after initial issue may be accomplished by paying the difference in fee. Expiration of new permit will remain 1 year from the month of original permit. All vehicles using the OSV zone must display a permanently affixed OSV Permit Sticker, valid for the area and time of use. The permit sticker must be permanently affixed to the windshield on the driver’s side or passenger's side bottom corner, within seven inches (7”) of the lower edge of the windshield. The expiration month sticker must be affixed before adhering to windshield. Cleaning and drying the area before applying the permit sticker is recommended for best adhesion. Lost permit stickers are not refundable or replaceable. OSV permits and stickers are issued to an individual permit holder for the specific vehicle designated on the permit. Neither permit nor sticker is transferable from one person to another or from one vehicle to another. Sale or transfer of the permitted vehicle voids the permit and sticker. A replacement permit and sticker may be issued for the new vehicle only if enough of the original sticker, to include permit type, serial number and month sticker, is returned for exchange. Permit stickers destroyed in a vehicle accident may be replaced only if an official police accident report is brought in for documentation. A purchase receipt is not sufficient documentation for permit sticker replacement in any case. OSV Permits may be obtained at VA visitor centers in the Seashore and Refuge and the North Beach Ranger Station. HOURS OF OPERATION: VA - Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge hours vary each season. Call 757-336-6122 for current information. Only those with a valid Overnight Fishing Permit may remain in the Refuge after hours. Call 757-336-6577 for information. MD - Assateague Island National Seashore does not close; but overnight parking in the MD OSV Zone is prohibited except for those with an Overnight or Bull Pen OSV Permit who are awake and actively engaged in fishing. Camping and/or sleeping are strictly prohibited outside designated campsites. Tents or other temporary shelters are prohibited on the beach outside of designated campsites between sunset and sunrise. BOUNDARIES: All sand dunes and vegetated areas are considered closed even if located within the designated OSV zones. Vehicles must stay east of the black and white posts. Designated bay access points in MD are marked with orange and white striped numbered posts. See OSV zone maps on the reverse. BULLPEN: Self-contained vehicles with a valid Bullpen OSV Permit may park overnight in the Bullpen camping area only if they are equipped with an approved toilet and permanently installed waste storage tank capable of holding 2 days’ volume of waste for all occupants. Only approved self-contained vehicles are permitted in the Bull Pen overnight. All waste (including gray-water) from self-contained vehicles must be retained in vehicle’s holding tank while in the OSV zone and emptied in an approved location outside the park or at trailer dump stations located in Seashore campgrounds. Travel trailers and tents are prohibited in the Bullpen. Non self-contained vehicles are prohibited from parking in or adjacent to the Bull Pen from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: To obtain an OSV permit, vehicles must meet the following specifications: Maximum number of wheels per axle Maximum number of axles Maximum vehicle length Maximum vehicle width Minimum vehicle ground clearance Gross vehicle weight rating may not exceed Minimum tire tread width in contact with ground for 2 wheel drive vehicles 4 2 26 feet 8 feet 7 inches 10,000 pounds 8 inches REQUIRED EQUIPMENT: OSV operators in designated zone must carry and be able to display upon request: Shovel Jack Jack Support Tire Gauge Tow Rope, Strap, Chain or Cable Min. 6 inch square blade & 18 inch handle Sufficient to lift one wheel clear of the sand Min. 12” x 12” non-bending steel; 5/8” plywood; or 1.5” thick board Must record pressure of 15 lbs. or less Min. pulling strength of 6,000 lb. & 10 ft. length Nylon or Dacron rope: ½” min. diameter All other rope: ¾” min. diameter Carbon steel cable: ¼” min. diameter Chain links: 5/16” min. diameter LICENSES REQUIRED: All vehicles in OSV zones must bear valid state license plates, be properly equipped, insured & registered to operate on public highways. Drivers must possess a valid state driver’s license. INSPECTION OF VEHICLE: Authorized personnel may inspect vehicles at any time to insure compliance with regulations. OSV ZONE VEHICLE LIMITS: In Maryland = 145 vehicles; In Virginia = 48 vehicles (18 when Toms Cove hook area is closed). Purchase of an OSV permit does not guarantee access to OSV zones at any particular time. Access may be reduced or curtailed due to vehicle density limits, over-wash, emergency conditions or management constraints. Vehicle density limits are reached frequently during summer, especially on weekends and holidays, with several hour waits for access which is managed on a one off/one on basis. One Off, One On - In MD, the automated gate arms will close when 145 vehicles have entered, then one vehicle is allowed to enter only when one vehicle exits. Call 757-336-3155 if gate is malfunctioning. VEHICLE OPERATION: Vehicle speed in OSV zones may not exceed 25 mph and must be reduced to 15 mph whenever coming within 100 feet of vehicles, wildlife, pedestrians or people on horseback. When two vehicles approach in the same track, both operators must slow and the operator with the ocean on his right must yield the right-of-way by pulling out of the track. Cutting circles; needlessly defacing the beach; anddriving on sand dunes or vegetated areas except at posted crossings; is prohibited at all times. PASSENGER SAFETY: Passengers shall not ride on the fenders, hood, roof, sides, tail gate or in any other place on the outside of a moving vehicle. No vehicle shall be used to tow a person or any recreational device over land or water, or in the air. Use of safety belts and child restraints is required by law. FIRES ON THE BEACH: In Maryland - Campfires are allowed below the high-tide line on the beach. Fires may not be left unattended and must be extinguished with water, not sand. If unable to allow enough time for all wood to burn to ash before extinguishing fire, charred wood remnants must be removed from Seashore or disposed of in waste receptacles. In Virginia - Open fires are prohibited in the OSV zone. SANITATION: Litter or waste may not be burned, buried or discarded inOSV Zones but must be removed from Seashore or disposed of in designated receptacles located outside OSV Zones. Assateague Island National Seashore • 7206 National Seashore Lane • Berlin, Maryland 21811 • 410-641-3030/1441; 757-336-6577 Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge • P. O. Box 62 • Chincoteague, Virginia 23336 • 757-336-6122