Cool weather, calm crowds over holiday weekend

Lifeguard captain says late burning-off of morning clouds contributed to a lighter beachgoer migration this July 4 weekend.

By Steven Genson/Special to The Malibu Times

Slightly more than 400,000 people ventured to the Malibu beaches over the Fourth of July weekend, which was about 100,000 fewer than last year. With only one reported beach injury and no deaths, the community’s biggest disturbance was the traffic following the three privately funded fireworks displays that lined the coast.

Lifeguard Capt. Nick Steers said that the milder weather was a major reason for the smaller crowd. Steers described the weather and the crowd size as “much calmer than last year.” Early morning cloud cover took longer than normal to evaporate, Steers said; as a result “People made other plans.”

Nevertheless, the lifeguards increased their presence over the weekend, making sure each area was adequately staffed, and in some cases doubled the number of personnel at certain towers. A rescue watercraft was available for use, but due to below average wave size and fewer people at the beaches, the device was not needed.

The one injury occurred when a person climbing a Point Dume rock while barefoot slipped and fell. He was airlifted to safety after sustaining some bodily injuries. Lost children proved to be the lifeguard’s dominant responsibility, with about a dozen children wandering away from their families. But they were all eventually found.

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Sunday tallied the weekend’s most visitors with 161,000 (down more than 40,000 from last year). There were also three rescues and 1,500 preventions, which are when a person is guided out of dangerous waters or potentially harmful situations. The second-largest crowd came out on Monday with 143,000 people. There were seven rescues and 1,900 preventions on that day. Saturday posted the lowest turnout, with 99,000 visitors coming to the Malibu beaches. There were five rescues and 1,000 preventions that day.

Beach Patrol officers were on double duty over the weekend, having to issue alcohol citations as well as enforce the new anti-smoking ordinance. Beach Detail Sgt. Jeff Price said that 49 people were cited for alcohol on Saturday, 51 on Sunday and 58 on Monday.

Price said officers are not issuing citations for smoking yet. He said the force has adopted an “educational posture” this summer to publicize the new law through verbal warnings.

While the Sheriff’s Department did not coordinate any sobriety checkpoints, six people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The privately permitted legal pyrotechnics got under way at 8:30 p.m. at Malibu Colony. The shows continued at 9 p.m. with fireworks being set off at the 27000 block of Pacific Coast Highway. The final show was at 9:30 p.m. at the 33500 block of Pacific Coast Highway.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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