Beaches expected to be packed all weekend

The forecast calls for beautiful beach weather over the next week, so authorities are expecting large crowds for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

The Volusia County’s Beach Safety Division says that early afternoon high tides are expected to force the temporary closure of some beach ramps.  Beachgoers should arrive early or use off-beach parking.

In Volusia County, all vehicles must drive and park on the east side of conservation poles and should only take up one parking spot along the beach. 

"Beachgoers should never sit, lie or camp in between vehicles in the parking areas," adds Captain Tamra Malphurs, with the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.

As hazardous rip currents are also in the forecast for Brevard, Flagler, and Volusia counties, beachgoers should always swim in front of a staffed lifeguard tower.  Those rip currents will be powerful and lifeguards will be on high alert.

Brevard County Ocean Rescue is asking all their lifeguards, even if you’re not on the schedule, to please come to work. 

In Cocoa Beach on Friday, a team of lifeguards pulled three swimmers out of a rip current and safely to shore.

“We have 125 guards on our staff, we put about 50 on shift, and this weekend we’re going to put as many people on who show up, we got a message out to our guards to come on in, and will up staff every beach with that we can.” said Derek Swor, with Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.

Swor says this Memorial Day Weekend, the weather will be excellent, but the water will be rough.

“With the way the ocean is acting this weekend, I imagine we are going to be very busy with lots of rescues.”

Scott Flaucher is on vacation from Massachusetts. He says he’s a strong swimmer, and growing up in New England, he’s used to rip currents. Even so, he swims where he can see the guards and they can see him. There are 27 lifeguard towers in the county.

“It caught me off guard,” Flaucher said.

Swor says his guards will stay at the beach longer than normal this weekend -- until 6 p.m., instead of 5 p.m.  He says after the guards leave the beach, people should only go into knee-deep water.

“For somebody to go out there without any experience, I wouldn’t advise that."  

Beyond the rip currents, Swor says the most common things his guards deal with on a holiday weekend are kids who lose sight of their parents or parents who can’t find their kids. Swor suggests parents show the kids where the towers are.