More than 400,000 people visit Malibu’s beaches during Memorial Day weekend

The California Yacht Club gathered a dozen of its members for a sail out to Malibu Pier from Marina Del Rey on Sunday. Called its “May in Malibu Cruise,” club chair Richard Namerow said everyone was tired of inclement weather keeping boat owners grounded, and decided to implement the cruise. Malibu resident Larry Ellison’s boat, The Zenji, was the largest of the group. Photo by Dave Lichten

Several DUI arrests are made during the weekend, starting at a checkpoint Friday night.

By Olivia Damavandi / Assistant Editor

Sheriff’s deputies and lifeguards were on high alert during the Memorial Day weekend, with 407,000 visitors flocking to Malibu’s beaches to enjoy summer-like weather.

The three-day weekend had many beaches, including Point Dume, filled to capacity. Surfrider Beach alone had 75,000 of those beachgoers.

The weather was clear and balmy, with temperatures reaching a high of 71 degrees on Monday, and 50 degrees in the evening. Saturday saw warmer weather reaching 84 degrees in the day and 71 degrees in the evening, and Sunday at 81 degrees in the day, with 56 in the evening.

But cold water temperatures and small waves kept most of the action on land.

“We had about 21 [ocean] rescues over the weekend,” Los Angeles County Lifeguard Captain Chuck Moore said Tuesday in a phone interview, adding that 112 types of land rescues involving first aid were made and that between 10 and 15 children were reporting missing during the weekend, all of whom were found.

Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s deputies cited numerous people for possessing alcohol on the beach, a problem Captain Moore said is abundant this time of year.

“The biggest thing we deal with, with any crowd during summer, is alcohol,” Moore said. “Drinking on the beach is illegal and dangerous. Statistically, 90 percent of drownings involve alcohol. Drinkers who swim are sinkers.”

Alcohol was also a major concern on roadways, as 1,114 northbound vehicles on Friday night passed through a DUI checkpoint on Pacific Coast Highway at Webb Way. That night, three sobriety tests were administered, two people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, one person was arrested for a felony warrant, 11 citations were given and seven vehicles were impounded, according to Sgt. Phil Brooks of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station.

From Saturday through Monday in Malibu, four additional DUI arrests were made and three traffic collisions occurred, none of which were fatal.

The large beach crowds were also major contributors to the gridlock traffic along Pacific Coast Highway throughout the three-day weekend, which, according to Captain Moore, began at 4 p.m. and lasted for hours in both directions.

Memorial Day weekend in Malibu, which traditionally is the kick-off to the summer season, foreshadowed the busy months ahead.

“Friday, Saturday and Sunday we hired every lifeguard that was available on our hiring list,” Captain Moore said. “If it had been busier water-wise, we would have been stretched pretty thin. And those days are coming.”