More lifeguards and deputies will patrol L.A. County beaches Memorial Day weekend

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MALIBU, CA - MAY 13: Surfers take advantage of the low tide swell at Malibu Surfrider Beach next to the Malibu Pier Wednesday morning as Los Angeles County Beaches reopened for active use only. The beaches have been closed for two months due to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic and remained off limits even as the coastline reopened for active use in Orange County. Beachgoers will have to wear masks and maintain a six-foot buffer between themselves and others under continued social distancing requirements. Parking lots, piers and boardwalks will remain closed. Malibu Pier on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in Malibu, CA. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
With this weekend being the unofficial start of summer, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and county lifeguards are increasing staffing at beaches. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer season, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and county lifeguards are staffing up at area beaches.

The Sheriff's Department on Saturday will launch its "Beach Patrol Mission" program, which will continue through Labor Day, officials said. Deputies will conduct highly visible patrols on beaches from Playa del Rey to Malibu.

"We’re stretching our resources so that people feel safe wherever they are, including the beach areas of Los Angeles County," Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a statement.

Members of the sheriff's homeless outreach and mental evaluation team will also be part of the beach patrols. The department did not specify how many deputies and other personnel would be involved in the program.

Los Angeles County Lifeguards are also expected to increase staffing levels this weekend, depending on weather and other conditions.

"We have 155 towers and we're trying to staff as many as we can," said Pono Barnes, an ocean lifeguard specialist with the county. "Memorial Day weekend is pretty popular for the beach."

County lifeguards are also expected to staff beaches with larger mobile units that can be seen patrolling beaches in pickup trucks.

Unlike the sheriff's patrols, the increased lifeguard presence will not be continued for the entire summer. Staffing is often adjusted depending on holidays and the weather.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.