SAN DIEGO – Thousands of people are expected to flock to San Diego’s beaches to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend. Law enforcement officials in the area say they are working to make sure they’re ready for the influx.

The Auto Club of California said San Diego is the second most popular destination spot for Southern Californians this holiday weekend, and multiple agencies across the area are preparing for the crowds.

Lifeguards, the San Diego Police Department, and San Diego Fire and Rescue crews have all increased staffing for the entire holiday weekend.

“Lifeguards have likened Fourth of July as our Super Bowl, it’s the biggest event of the year for us, we start planning on it as soon as Memorial Day is over,” Maureen Hodges, the marine safety captain for San Diego Fire and Rescue’s lifeguard division said. “For the lifeguard division, we have added extra staff.” 

“You’re going to see police officers,” Scott Wahl, SDPD Captain of Northern Division said. “We have our staffing to make sure that we can accommodate crowd sizes and we do expect tens of thousands of people to be out here each day.” 

“Just a reminder, it is illegal to have fireworks anywhere in the County of San Diego, that includes our beautiful beaches,” Wahl said. “We will have K-9s out here that detect fireworks so we will be looking for them actively.”

Fire and rescue crews have mobile operations detail units stationed along the coasts and have crews on boats to help with response time for emergencies if needed.

“If it’s congested and it’s hard to get ambulance or an engine in from the city into the beach areas because of all the traffic, we can actually approach from the water to the beachside,” said Captain Cory Beckwith with the San Diego Fire Department.

 “When we send everyone home safe at the end of the day, it’s a win for us,” Hodges said.

Captain Wahl said parking lots will likely fill up fast and recommends looking into rideshare options if possible.

San Diego Fire Department rescue and lifeguard crews and San Diego Police Department officers want to remind beachgoers of important safety tips and regulations this weekend:

  • Only rent vessels from licensed businesses
  • Glass bottles and alcohol are not allowed on beaches or in park areas
  • Overnight camping is not allowed on beaches
  • Check-in with a lifeguard before going in the water so they can inform you of the safest areas to swim, and which areas to avoid– be advised, these areas can change throughout the day.
  • If you’re enjoying the holiday on the water, kids under 13 years old must wear a personal flotation device, a lifejacket, while on any vessel.
  • Plus, people under the age of 45 years old must have a California Boater Card to operate a vessel.

For more boating and beach safety information, click HERE.

Learn more on how to obtain a California Boater Card HERE.