Police, lifeguards bracing for warm, busy weekend


Although cooler temperatures are predicted for the weekend, they may not be enough to ease the crowds at city beaches where police and lifeguards are bracing for more than three quarters of a million people.

Shelley Zimmerman, assistant chief for San Diego Police Department’s northern division, said extra resources will be patrolling streets and beach areas.

They won’t all be in patrol cars or on motorcycles. Some will be on foot, bicycles, all-terrain vehicles and even horses, and they’ll be supplemented by lifeguards who also will be staffed to the max.

“Almost every weekend all summer, not counting the holidays, we’ve had 500,000 to 750,000 people at the beaches,” she said, adding that if the inland weather is hot that number will climb.

San Diego police officers plan a so-called “saturation patrol” of beach areas to watch for people who get behind the wheel after imbibing alcohol and for those who forget to buckle up, SDPD Assistant Chief Shelley Zimmerman said.

The California Highway Patrol plans a “maximum enforcement period” in which all available officers will be on the roadways.

The Oceanside Police Department also plans a DUI checkpoint Friday night.

The Sheriff’s Department has scheduled checkpoints over the weekend in Del Mar and Solana Beach.

An alcohol-fueled melee on Labor Day weekend in 2007 resulted in numerous arrests at Pacific Beach.

While “crowds have had a great time,” she urged people to “pack a little patience and remember the rules: Don’t park illegally and don’t bring glass bottles or alcohol and no smoking.”

At La Jolla Shores, more units will be assigned but there won’t be a command post as there was on the July 4th weekend, Zimmerman noted.

She also reminded people that the beach at the Children’s Pool is open to the public even though there may be seals on the beach.

“People can go to the beach,” she said. “They just need to be respectful and remember not to approach the seals.”

With the hot weather, she noted, the seals have been on the beach in the mornings but have mostly taken to the water when the days warm up - “just like we do,” the captain said.

The water’s warm too, with temperatures at La Jolla Shores ranging from 72 to 75 degrees, said Lifeguard Lt. John Greenhalgh.

There’s not much surf, he added, but there are some strong rip tides keeping lifeguards in the water making rescues.

The best advice for beachgoers, particularly the less experienced swimmers, is to ask a lifeguard where a safe place to swim is.

The National Weather Service said inland temperatures should drop 5 to 10 degrees on Saturday, and coastal highs will be down 2 to 5 degrees, Weather Service meteorologist Noel Isla said.

The Weather Service is forecasting highs in the mid-70s to mid-80s along the coast Saturday, and mid-80s to mid-90s in valley and mountain areas.

Highs in the deserts Saturday are expected to range from 101 to 106 degrees.

On Sunday, highs along the coast are expected to be in the low 70s to low 80s, and low 80s to low 90s in the valleys and mountains. Highs in the deserts Sunday will range between 98 and 103 degrees, according to the Weather Service.

The agency is forecasting Labor Days highs to be similar to Sunday’s.

Here are the rules for San Diego beaches.

  • Smoking on the sand, boardwalk or in park areas is prohibited.
  • Alcohol possession or consumption of an open alcoholic container is prohibited in public areas including the sand, seawall, sidewalk, boardwalk, parking lots, parks, piers, jetties and public rights-of-way.
  • Glass is not allowed.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the beach or boardwalk between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Dogs must be on a leash and owners must pick up after their dogs.
  • Fencing of areas to be saved is prohibited.
  • Tents may be erected, but the side flaps must be up. Tents may not be left on the beach overnight to secure a spot for the next day; all unattended property will be collected by the Park & Recreation Department employees and taken to Fiesta Island, where it can be claimed by its owner.
  • Furniture other than lawn chairs on the beach or in a park is prohibited.

City News Service contributed to this report.