With limited entertainment and recreation options during the pandemic, Monterey County's beaches have remained popular. And that's before the unofficial summer season, Memorial Day through Labor Day, begins.
This Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the season for California State Parks officials, who for the first time will install a lifeguard tower at Asilomar State Beach.
Variable ocean conditions combined with rocks and regular rip currents can make Asilomar a dangerous beach particularly for beginner surfers and swimmers, which has prompted State Parks to increase lifeguard staffing at Asilomar over the past three years; they've completed several rescues in that time.
In the past month alone, State Parks lifeguards have made five water rescues off Asilomar, according to Asilomar Sector Superintendent Eric Abma.
"The tower will allow for a higher level of service and also make lifeguards more recognizable and approachable to the beach users they serve," Abma adds.
This year will be the first time they install a lifeguard tower at Asilomar, according to an announcement from State Parks official. The tower will generally be staffed daily from noon to 6pm during the summer months.
State Parks also maintains a seasonal lifeguard tower near Monterey Tides Hotel at Monterey State Beach (in partnership with the city of Monterey), and last summer for the first time, installed a tower at notoriously dangerous Monastery Beach.
The Monastery tower will be staffed seven days per week, from 11am-5pm, this summer.