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Pack Your Patience If You're Going To The Beach This Weekend

San Diego Police beach patrol vehicles shown at Mission Beach on May 27, 2021.
John Carroll
San Diego Police beach patrol vehicles shown at Mission Beach on May 27, 2021.

On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, Mission Beach was a relatively calm scene before the holiday weekend storm. San Diego Police Captain Scott Wahl told KPBS that police are expecting hundreds of thousands of people to fill the beaches.

“We’re expecting large crowds to come out and enjoy the beautiful weather, beautiful beaches," he said.

Video: Beach Holiday

What a difference a year makes, especially when the year in between Memorial Day 2020 and 2021 was marked by the worst pandemic of our lifetime. Last Memorial Day weekend, beach parking lots were closed and access to the sand was limited.


But more and more people are getting vaccinated every day, as COVID-19 fades. So, pent up demand to experience the natural beauty of our beaches is going to mean huge crowds over this holiday weekend.

“We have increased our staffing considerably. We’ve brought police officers from throughout the city to come out here and work our beaches," Wahl said.

The idea is for everyone to have a good, safe time. Wahl said that starts by getting here nice and early.

But getting here early means more than finding a primo place on the sand. You won’t even see the beach if you can’t find a place to park.

“These parking lots are only so big. Once they’re full, there’s no more parking. So, bring your patience," Wahl said.


RELATED: County Health Agency Lifts Closure of Coronado Beaches

Other things to keep in mind: no drinking alcohol or smoking on San Diego beaches. If you’re going to build a fire, it has to be in one of the fire pits. Dispose of whatever you bring in properly or take it with you. And if you or your family plan on going into the water, be aware of conditions.

“We’re making a lot of rescues. The water’s very warm," said San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Lonnie Stephens.

Stephens suggested a couple of quick, easy things to do to put safety first: “Always swim near a lifeguard or in a guarded area. Check in with a lifeguard when you get here, we’ll give you those best areas to swim.”

If you’re going to drive a motorized boat and you’re under 40 you need to have a boating card. And of course, drinking while driving a boat is against the law.

It’s really all about shared responsibility — everyone doing their part to make the unofficial start of summer 2021 a moment to enjoy some great times at the beach and to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Pack Your Patience If You’re Going To The Beach This Weekend
Listen to this story by John Carroll

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.