Lifeguards survey the beach at La Jolla Shores. Photo by Chris Stone

Fourth of July weekend brings thousands of visitors to San Diego’s popular beaches, and larger crowds mean more rescues by San Diego Fire and Rescue Department lifeguards.

In addition, Mission Bay is one of the top destinations for aquatic enthusiasts, especially during holiday weekends.

“Lifeguards and police officers patrolling our beaches, particularly Mission Bay, want everyone to have safe and enjoyable experiences,” said Lifeguard Chief James Gartland.

“With the increase in visitors on this holiday weekend, we want to make sure those who participate in aquatic activities know the safest places to swim or surf, as well as the safety requirements for equipment such as personal watercraft,” he said. “We have also seen an increase in illegal vessel rentals and want to warn the public.”

With more than 40 miles of oceanfront and bay shoreline to patrol throughout the city, SDFD lifeguards help keep an average of 17 million visitors safe and conduct an estimated 7,000 rescues at local beaches each year.

Additionally, lifeguards manage cliff, scuba and swift water rescues, enforce boating safety regulations and respond to emergencies involving seafaring vessels and other watercraft. SDPD has a full-time beach team that patrols the sand, boardwalks and Mission Bay.

For those who might hit the beach but not enter the water, San Diego City Council President Jennifer Campbell has a message, as well.

“While I hope everyone has as much fun as they can, please remember the responsibility that comes with getting together,” said Campbell, who represents Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach. “Help us ensure our beaches and bays are just as clean as they were before you arrived. Be sure to discard all waste in their respective trash or recycling cans. Please, pack out what you pack in.”

The city’s Think Blue San Diego team has partnered with I Love A Clean San Diego’s Clean Beach Coalition to add temporary trash and recycling receptacles along San Diego’s busiest beaches and bays over holiday weekends.

The San Diego Police Department will be increasing patrols in beach communities and will set up a command post in Belmont Park to facilitate a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

As a reminder, alcohol is not permitted on beaches or in beachside parks, beach campfires are only allowed in approved locations and containers or within provided fire pits, and parking enforcement will occur in red, white and blue spaces.

Report emergencies to 9-1-1 or non-emergency concerns to the San Diego Police Non-Emergency line, 619-531-2000.

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