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Beach patrols increased for Spring Break

PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. -- Spring Break is under way, and despite the chilly weather, they are hitting all the beaches along the Gulf Coast.
That means deputies have upped their manpower.

Channel Three's Laura Hussey spent the day with the Pensacola Beach Patrol and joins us live from Casino Beach.
Laura, what kind of crowds are they dealing with?

It's definitely manageable at this point, most of the day it was really cold out here.
Still, Spring Breakers are here to have a good time, and deputies are here to make sure things stay under control.

Nobody says it has to be warm for a Spring Break party.

Some prefer the traditional recipe: add alcohol and shake well.
But not every visitor is here to overdo it.
Cameron Bivens  just wants to blow off some steam.

Cameron Bivens, USA
"To just hang out with some buddies, take some time off away from the stress and everything like that."
To keep the beach comfortable for everybody, deputies make sure their presence is known.

Lt. Lee Weston, ECSO
"Basically just ready to deal with any issues that may arise. As long as we can insure the public safety out here and insure that everybody comes and has a good time without having to tolerate any bad behavior."
Shawn Hartline, from the University of South Alabama, says the patrols have another benefit that keeps him coming back.

Shawn Hartline, USA
"The patrols, that helps keep the beaches cleaner...I know Panama City, it's more of a party atmosphere, but it gets so dirty."
Last year, in March and April, there were 22 arrests for underage drinking.
If the violator is under 21 but over 18, deputies also have the option of writing a citation.

"I mean for the most part it's reassuring, just to know that we have some backup, someone that's actually keeping track of everything that's going on."

Right now, deputies are patrolling the beach on four-wheelers and on foot.
Within a couple of weeks, they'll add bicycle patrols.
Live at Casino Beach, Laura Hussey, Channel 3 News.