TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) — Thousands are expected to flock to Tybee Island for Memorial Day weekend — the unofficial start of summer and one of the island’s busiest time periods.
That calls for a little reinforcement.
“We’ll have additional police on duty this weekend,” says Tybee Island city manager, Shawn Gillen. “Extra code enforcement and extra fire and ocean safety personnel on the beach.”
The city says they don’t have an idea of how many will be visiting the island largely due to the fact that there have been recent record crowds on non-holiday weekends.
“You know it’s tough to say,” Gillen said. “We hit almost 12,000 a few weeks ago at the end of April. That was incredible. We’ve never seen that before in April.”
Still, Gillens said he wouldn’t be surprised to see upwards of 13,000 people over the three-day period.
Those kinds of numbers can lead to safety issues and a parking nightmare but the city manager says Tybee is prepared.
“Parking enforcement will be out in full. Coming on the island, get here early,” Gillen said. “The south end parking lots will fill up early in the morning so if you’re not here by 10 just find another spot.”
This Memorial Day weekend will also be one of the last weekends individuals can smoke and vape on the beach before the ban kicks in.
WSAV spoke with the city manager about how they are preparing for enforcement.
“Code enforcement is going to be watching for it. So they are going, you know, getting used to what to look for,” Gillen said. “The video monitoring crews in the video center will be knowing what to look for in the busy areas.”
That beach smoking ban will not be enacted until June 1 and there will be a 30-day grace period before citations are handed out.