Start of summer brings 373,000 to Malibu

Locals and visitors line the shore at Surfrider Beach in Malibu during Memorial Day weekend. The holiday weekend brought hundreds of thousands of people to the local beaches, with Zuma Beach seeing the highest number of visitors.

Summer-like weather and warm ocean temperatures lured 373,000 people to Malibu beaches during Memorial Day weekend. Additionally, 13 people were arrested for various alleged offenses during a DUI and driver’s license checkpoint on Friday night.

At the local beaches, Monday was the busiest day “by far,” and saw about half of the weekend total of beachgoers, Los Angeles County Lifeguard Captain Chuck Moore said. Authorities credited the busy beaches to warm coastal weather, which reached the mid- 70s, and warmer-than-normal water temperatures, which were in the mid-60s. Moore explained that in terms of weather, this year was one of the nicest Memorial Days Malibu has recently experienced, and brought out one of the largest crowds he could recall.

“There will be many days during the summer that won’t be that nice,” Capt. Moore said of Memorial Day.

Out of all the local spots, Zuma Beach had the highest  number of visitors, with about 150,000 people hitting the beach on Memorial Day alone.

Commonly thought of as the start of the summer season, Malibu lifeguards had their hands full during Memorial Day weekend. Throughout the holiday weekend, lifeguards made 66 ocean rescues. They also responded to 83 first aid calls on the shore, which can include anything from a bee sting to a broken ankle.

While the number of rescue and first aid calls was numerous, none were particularly dangerous, and most were contact rescues, Capt. Moore said. He credited an experienced lifeguard crew with handling the situations, most of whom have at least four years of experience.

The number of ocean rescues was fairly high, adding to a trend of a higher-than-normal rescue total for the month of May. Local lifeguards want to remind the public that water conditions are still dangerous, and beachgoers should set up near an open lifeguard station when visiting the beach.

This year’s numbers were higher than last year’s, when 231,500 beachgoers visited Malibu during Memorial Day Weekend and 14 ocean rescues were made. Calmer ocean conditions and cooler temperatures brought out less beachgoers last year. This year’s numbers also far surpassed those of 2011, when about 143,000 people came out to the local beaches.

Over the holiday weekend, 13 people were arrested at a DUI and driver’s license checkpoint on Friday night in Malibu. A total of 1,112 cars passed through the checkpoint, which took place on Pacific Coast Highway at John Tyler Drive on May 24 from 7:30 p.m. until 3:30 a.m.

During the checkpoint, six unlicensed drivers were arrested, four people with suspended licenses were arrested, two were arrested on outstanding warrants, and one person was arrested for driving while in possession of an open container. Additionally, three cars were impounded for 30 days and four were stored for one day.

The checkpoint was conducted by the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station officials and funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to the city of Malibu.

“The goal of the DUI/DL checkpoint was removing impaired drivers and to bring awareness to the public of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” a release from Sgt. Philip Brooks stated.

Aside from the DUI checkpoint, there were no major incidents related to Memorial Day, Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff ’s Station officials said.