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Lifeguards Bracing For Warmest, Busiest July 4th Weekend In Years

Above: More than a million people are expected at San Diego beaches this 4th of July weekend.

Hot temperatures and clear skies could draw more than a million people to San Diego beaches this holiday weekend. That has San Diego lifeguards gearing up for everything from water rescues to lost children to unruly crowds.

A San Diego lifeguard working near the cliffs at Torrey Pines.
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Above: A San Diego lifeguard working near the cliffs at Torrey Pines.

Lifeguard Lt. Nick Lerma warned strong rip currents along the entire coast could cause dangerous situations for swimmers.

“That’s brought on by a fairly active spring with larger surf, and so the bottom’s chunked up, and what I mean by that is sometimes in the summertime because of the wave patterns from the south ... the bottom has really deep holes. So when you have deep holes and surf, you have rip currents," Lerma explained.

Lerma said families should ask lifeguards to direct them to a safe place to swim before entering the water.

"And then try to position your group right in that safe area, because if you’re right in front of a rip current then whoever is with that group – kids, adults, whomever – goes straight into the ocean and there’s a rip current there, then that usually spells trouble,” said Lerma.

He said said there were more than 300 water rescues last 4th of July weekend and he expects this year to be similar.

Lerma said the alcohol ban at the beach has reduced most unruly behavior, allowing lifeguards to keep their full attention on swimmers.

The San Diego City Attorney’s office said people who are cited for certain non-traffic infractions or misdemeanors may be eligible for "Instant Justice", and can choose beach clean-up service on July 5th to reduce their citation.

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