With more than 700,000 people expected to flock to Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach as well as La Jolla Shores this Fourth of July weekend, law enforcement and environmental groups prepare for the influx of people by educating visitors about beach rules, laws and common courtesies.
San Diego Police Department Northern Division Capt. Shelly Zimmerman said an increase in police staffing starts Thursday, July 3 in anticipation of the crowds expected to descend upon beach communities.
With the no-alcohol and no-smoking beach laws in effect, Zimmerman said she expects a lot less alcohol-related incidents but that staffing will increase nonetheless.
"We want people to enjoy themselves," she said. "And we ask the public to educate themselves on the law."
Police staffing increases include six beach divisions with uniformed officers on foot, motorcycles, bicycles, cars, in the air and on the water, she said.
Along with visible uniformed officer presence, undercover officers will be watching for illegal activity, Zimmeran. The gang suppression team will also be patrolling the areas.
Additional officers along with SDPD traffic division will also be monitoring beach-area clubs and bars throughout the weekend and monitoring parking lots.
The police department also works with lifeguards to monitor beach safety.
In addition to ramped-up police department staffing, other community members will be working to remind visitors to keep the beach clean.
Danielle Miller, spokeswoman for San Diego Coastkeeper, said the organization will be posting signs and posters in local hotels, along the beaches and near shores reminding people to pick up after themselves.
San Diego Coastkeeper will also place an extra 150 trash and recycling receptacles along the city's beaches and bays.
"We want to make it at easy as possible [because] the last thing people think about is where to throw away their trash," Miller said.
San Diego Coastkeeper also works with employees and volunteers of I Love a Clean San Diego, Freepb.org, and the San Diego Chapter of Surfrider Foundation for beach clean-ups.
The event is dubbed the "Morning After Mess." Volunteers will be hitting the sands from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 5, Miller said. The group is also promoting a clean-up Monday July 7, from 9 a.m. to noon at Belmont Park in Mission Beach. Volunteers will be provided with clean-up supplies, according to the group's website.
For more information visit www.cleanbeachcoalition.org.
This is the first year various nonprofit groups have come together under the name San Diego Clean Beach Coalition and have teamed up to increase awareness about beach pollution and prevention.
According to a statement from San Diego Coastkeeper, the following is not allowed on the beaches and bays this year:
"¢Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in beach and park areas.
"¢ Glass bottles and glass containers are not allowed at any time in the beach and park area.
"¢ Smoking is prohibited in all beach and park areas within the City of San Diego.
"¢ Fiesta Island, Dog Beach and Dusty Rhodes Park are designated dog areas that are leash-free.
"¢ Dogs are not permitted within Mission Bay Park and the beach areas April 1 to Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dogs must be leashed at all times.
"¢ Fires are permitted in city-designated fire rings between 5 a.m. to midnight only.
"¢ Fires cannot exceed 12 inches above the fire ring.
"¢ Clean dry wood or charcoal only. No pallets, painted wood, greenery, nails or furniture are allowed in the fire rings.
"¢ Camping and overnight sleeping are not permitted in the beach or park area.
"¢ Parking lots are closed at night between 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and 2 a.m to 4 a.m. Read and obey the posted signs.
"¢ Parking spaces cannot be blocked off and/or saved; all parking spaces are first come, first served.
"¢ Each vehicle is allowed only one stall and must fit within the stall at all times.
"¢ All areas of the parks and beaches are first come, first served; roping off and/or barricading an area is not permitted. This includes ropes, cords, barrier tapes, tents and other similar devices.
"¢ All helium, blow-up and metallic/mylar water balloons and balloon arches are not allowed in the beach and park areas.
"¢ Vehicles are not allowed on lawns, beaches and walkways at any time. This includes loading and unloading purposes.
"¢ Do not tie and/or post anything (ropes, banners, signs, piÃ±atas, decorations) to any city property (trees, plants, light posts, gazebos).
"¢ Amplified music is not permitted. Noise laws are strictly enforced. Audio equipment may be impounded.
"¢ Household furniture (sofas, recliners, coffee tables) are not permitted in the beach and park area.