Saturday, July 23, 2005

Pensacola Beach To Open To General Public 6:00 A.M. Sunday, 7-24-2005

Click for a larger picture.
Photo from June 20, 2004, Casino Beach, Pensacola Beach FL.

The famous white sand beaches of Pensacola Beach (PB) will open to the general public starting at 6:00 a.m. CDT Sunday for the first time since Hurricane Emily made landfall just East of PB July 10, 2005.

Parking on PB will be limited to Casino Beach and Quietwater Beach parking lots. Also of note is that there is no gasoline available on the island. The Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier will remain closed until further notice.

The Lifeguard towers at Casino Beach were destroyed by Hurricane Dennis. The towers are being rebuilt and three are expected to be operational by Sunday.

Sandy Johnston, executive director of the Pensacola Beach Area Chamber of Commerce stated "We expect to be really busy this weekend and next weekend. These are the last two weekends before school starts, so we expect a lot of people will be trying to get to the beach for one last visit."

Buck Lee, General Manager of the Island Authority said that sand at Casino and Quietwater beaches have not been sifted but have instead been spot checked for debris. Mr. Lee said sifting of these beaches will occur later, but he gave no time table on when this will occur.

Bob West, Pensacola beaches public safety director said that Lifeguards have been swimming at the two main beaches to remove debris that they come across at the surface. Public Safety Director West said "We'll have the bulk of debris out of water by Sunday, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was some more out there."

Areas outside of the two main beaches mentioned above probably are more dangerous to swimmers and beachgoers and footwear is recommended to be worn at all times both on the sandy beaches and in the water.

Also, please be aware of rip currents, which are now more dangerous due to shifting sandbars in the area. Here is some information from HOWSTUFFWORKS.COM on rip currents and how to deal with them.