Authorities, businesses prepping for busy weekend on Tybee Islan - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Authorities, businesses prepping for busy weekend on Tybee Island

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) -

Thousands of people are packing Tybee Island to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend.

The weather has cooperated - for the most part - which means huge crowds.

Tybee Ocean Rescue says that rescues are way up so far this year. They say the problem continues to be those that venture out past about 20 yards off shore, or go into the water off the south end near the sand bar.

Tybee Ocean Rescue says they will have guards stationed at every tower on the beach all weekend. They have several new towers, one at the pier. They will be monitoring beach conditions throughout the weekend.

Remember, we had some rough weather during the Memorial Day holiday a couple of weeks ago.

They have had to close the waters several times this year because of the weather as well. They are hoping to avoid that, but have the tools to make sure they are better safe than sorry.

"We have a weather monitor in our dispatch center and watch that. We monitor the storms that approach. We have a lighting detection system that we use and we have a siren system on the island that alerts people of the bad weather,” said Capt. Todd Horne, Tybee Island Ocean Rescue.

They also said they will be as strict as possible on enforcing the rules of the beach. They are literally posted in front of every beach walk. So, "I didn't know" may not cut it.

Tybee Police, like Tybee Ocean Rescue, have their staff working overtime and long hours. You will see an increase in patrols not only on Butler Avenue but officers on bikes, riding the beach, walking the streets.

They tell me the biggest problem they see on holiday weekends like this is over drinking. There will be checkpoints set up throughout the weekend.

The other is your speed on Butler. If you have friends or family coming out here Tybee says there will be no warnings for speeders. The fastest you can on the island is 35 mph.

I asked if Tybee will bring in help. They said at this point no, but will evaluate on a need basis.

"Of course it is pre-planning, we work on this months in advance. We also takes events from last year and learn from it. Most of it will be our officer patrol. We will have a lot out there walking around out front. Really, the increase in patrol,” said Erica Coreno, TIPD.

They have crews that are monitoring Hwy 80 as well to make sure if there are any wrecks during the weekend that they are dealt with and moved immediately. A simple wreck could cause hours of delays and police will try and avoid that.

I visited a handful of stores Friday. I have covered dozens of these holiday celebrations and I will say, it just seems really busy. A good thing when you think about the fact that some business took a hit during the Memorial Day holiday. The weather would not cooperate.

These stores depend on the sun for business. Three different stores I talked to estimated that these three months - June, July and August - makes up about 80-85 percent of their yearly revenue. These busy weekends help the locals get through the other low months.

The City of Tybee is encouraging those visitors to shop local, eat local.

"We are a seasonal business so we depend on July 4th just like they depend on Christmas at the mall. We have had a pretty good season so far and this week we have really been packed,” said Luakia Tsiaras, Christy’s Department Store.

As far as other important things, parking will be enforced seven days a week. Follow the rules posted on the boardwalks to the beach. Ocean Rescue and Tybee Police will be all hands on deck until the July 5.

Expect to see a more police and more checkpoints along Butler Avenue.

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