La Jolla Shores group hears ways to stay safe at the beach this summer

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department advises beach-goers to set up their gear near a lifeguard station.
The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department advises beach-goers to set up their gear near a lifeguard station and swim near a lifeguard.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

With La Jolla gearing up for the usual rush of summer beach-goers, San Diego officials offered safety tips at the La Jolla Shores Association’s virtual meeting May 11.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Lt. Lonnie Stephens said lifeguards are happy to talk to visitors about water conditions and more. He also provided the following advice:

• Visitors should bring “the essentials”: drinking water, towel, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and a shade structure.

• Have a meeting site in case someone gets lost and set up your gear near a lifeguard station.

• Parking is limited; “pack your patience.”

• Traffic cones on the beach are for emergency vehicle access. Do not place items between the cones.

• For medical assistance, contact the nearest lifeguard. But for life-threatening or water emergencies, call 911 and then alert lifeguards.

• To prevent stingray stings, shuffle your feet as you enter the water.

• Wear a lifejacket when kayaking or using a stand-up paddleboard.

• Do not swim if under the influence of medication, drugs or alcohol.

• Always swim near a lifeguard.

The La Jolla Shores Association meets May 11 online.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

San Diego police Lt. Rick Aguilar said he and Northern Division Capt. Scott Wahl “got creative” with summer staffing in the division, which includes communities west of Interstate 805 and from Mission Beach north through La Jolla.

Aguilar said there will four beach teams — two during the day and two at night. To achieve that, the division will collapse its crime suppression team and transition those officers to a night beach team.

Aguilar said seven officers will join the beach teams from other divisions and he is hoping to obtain an additional four to six officers on overtime.

The beach teams will help police parking, illegal beach fires and more, Aguilar said.

Spindrift handrail

Patrick Ahern, a trustee of the La Jolla Community Planning Association, said a long-stalled project to install a handrail along the Spindrift Drive beach access corridor in The Shores “is moving again.”

The railing is meant to provide more safety along the walkway that runs next to The Marine Room restaurant.

Constant shade keeps the ground very moist, creating a slippery path further deteriorated by sand, which results in a hazardous route to the beach that can lead to injuries, Ahern said previously.

The project was approved by the La Jolla Shores Association and LJCPA in 2018. Then-San Diego City Councilwoman Barbara Bry added it to the city’s capital improvement projects list after LJCPA named it a top project in 2019.

At the May 11 Shores meeting, Ahern said “the plan was to attach the railing to the southern wall of the home of the neighbor next to The Marine Room, pursue private funding and construction and hold that neighbor and The Marine Room harmless from liability.”

Ahern said he discovered through the city attorney’s office that attaching the railing to private property “would normally trigger an encroachment maintenance removal agreement, and whoever holds and initiates the agreement … assumes the insurance and risk of liability.”

To avoid placing liability with the homeowner, the plan shifted to place the railing in the public right of way, Ahern said.

He said the office of current Councilman Joe LaCava is checking whether the railing is still on the capital improvements list.

Once funding is ensured, Ahern will visit the location with representatives of the city’s Stormwater Department to solidify the new plan, which will again go before LJSA for review, he said.

The cost of the project is not yet known, but Ahern estimated last year that it will be $8,000 to $10,000.

The La Jolla Shores Association next meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, likely online. Learn more at