Spring Break 2019 kicked off last week with crowded beaches, an increased number of arrests and a half-dozen water rescues over a three-day period.
"There's a lot of people in Destin," said Destin Beach Safety Chief Joe D'Agostino, "a lot of people here, more than there was the year before and the year before and the year before that.
"The TDC is doing a fantastic job of drawing people to our area," he said.
The crowds are a mix of students on spring break and families, he said.
Rip currents were an issue over the weekend and stretching into the beginning of the week. At lunchtime Monday, guards pulled out one swimmer who was taken to a local hospital by ambulance. D'Agostino estimated that the beachgoer was the fifth or sixth to be pulled from the surf since guards returned to the beaches Saturday.
On Monday afternoon, red flags were flying, though most people don't heed them, he said.
"I could fly Confederate flags and it wouldn't make a difference," he said.
Spring breaker arrests were up slightly over last year, according to the latest numbers by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office.
In the first nine days of the break, deputies arrested 115 people, mostly for underage alcohol possession. Two of the arrests were at Crab Island.
"Two factors have contributed to the increase," said Sgt. Jason Fulgham. "First, the hurricane damage to Panama City Beach and secondly the fact that numerous large southeastern universities are on spring break earlier than in previous years."
University of Florida, Tulane, the University of New Orleans, Memphis and Vanderbilt were among the schools on spring break last week.
This week, the University of West Florida, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, University of Alabama and and University of Georgia are among the colleges on break.