Half million people visit Malibu beaches during holiday weekend

Overall, the Labor Day weekend was calm.

By Olivia Damavandi / Staff Writer

Despite an estimated crowd of 18,000 people who made the pilgrimage to Malibu for the 28th annual Chili Cook-Off, small waves and less-than-expected traffic kept the Labor Day weekend relatively mellow.

But sweltering temperatures brought big beach crowds. City beaches during the three-day weekend were visited by half a million people, 116 of whom received first aid treatment and 58 of whom were rescued, Los Angeles County Lifeguard Captain Chuck Moore said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

“There weren’t a whole lot of rescues because we didn’t have a lot of surf, but we still had a lot of back and neck injuries because the waves were still breaking on the shore pretty hard,” Moore said.

While small waves may have made the ocean appear safer from the surface, they present swimmers and surfers with a different hazard.

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“Now that the water’s much warmer-our Baywatch got 70 degree water off Point Dume-the crowds are becoming smaller and there’s not a lot of surf,” Moore said, who also warned to “watch out for sting rays. They like the calm water, but [sting ray stings] are about the most painful injury you can have.”

Moore advises swimmers to shuffle the sand on the ocean floor with their feet to avoid stepping on the rays and getting stung.

Since the beginning of July, more than 6,780,000 people have visited Malibu beaches, 1,583 of whom received first aid treatment and 1,186 of whom were rescued.

Back on land, a total of 16 traffic collisions occurred in Malibu during the three-day weekend, none of which were fatal, traffic Sergeant Philip Brooks of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

Sheriff’s deputies on Friday night conducted a DUI checkpoint on Pacific Coast Highway in front of the Chili Cook-Off. No drunk driving arrests were made out of the more than 1,250 vehicles that were screened at the checkpoint, but three were made in different parts of the city during the weekend, Philips said.

Additionally, Sheriff’s deputies at the checkpoint towed 16 cars for license plate violations, and issued 38 citations for driver license violations. Malibu Towing has removed a total of 500 vehicles from Zuma Beach since the start of summer, Moore said.

“I was quite concerned running the checkpoint on Friday night that it would backup traffic, but there wasn’t any traffic,” Philips said. “It seems Malibu residents leave town for Labor Day.”

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