TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Hundreds of beach-goers have already made their way onto Tybee Island this weekend in anticipation of Fourth of July celebrations.
While many people are excited to get their weekend started, Tybee city officials say they want people to enjoy the holiday, but they are concerned with crowds and traffic control.
Tybee City Manager Shawn Gillen says as they gear up for the Fourth of July festivities, they want people to understand the importance of safety and preparation. He says their biggest concern is making sure there is emergency access to all parts of the island at all times.
“We do have some concerns of people, once they get past Lazaretto Creek Bridge, they have now taken away the passing lanes on 80. Even today and yesterday, we’ve seen people passing in those lanes. That’s illegal. It’s dangerous.”
Gillen also says their new sandbar signage just came in Thursday, so they are hoping to put some up in time for the big crowds. He says they’ll have Ocean Rescue, fire, and police presence out by the sandbar for safety reasons.
Some beach-goers we talked to Friday have no worries and are just here to enjoy a long holiday.
“Game on! Let’s have some fun. That’s what independence day is all about,” said visitor, Ken Callahan.
Gillen says they are not going to be afraid to write people tickets if they aren’t following the rules. He’s also reminding people that if you will be drinking this weekend while on the beach - stay hydrated, because it will be hot.
The Tybee Island Fire Department also has a warning for those planning to set off their own fireworks. They say while fireworks can be fun, people need to be reminded of their dangers.
Lt. Matt Harrell says if you’re planning to set off your own fireworks, it’s important that you check city ordinance. For example, he says fireworks are not allowed anywhere on the beach or in public places without a permit. He also says people should check with rental companies on their policies. Lt. Harrell says although the city has its own fireworks show, many will partake in their own celebrations, and it’s important to keep safety in mind.
“If anybody is going to shoot off their own, I’d tell them to really look at the area around them and make sure that they have room for the fireworks to go off. Make sure you’re not shooting them into a tree. Pay attention that you’re not shooting them into a neighboring property, into the sand dunes, anything like that. Also, make sure you have some kind of water source, whether it be a fire extinguisher maybe, or even just a garden hose available, just in case.”