With bright sun in the Marquette area today and temperatures in the low 80s, many people may have been tempted to take an early September swim. However, the city’s official beach season ended on Tuesday.

Marquette Fire Chief Tom Belt says use of the beach at Tourist Park was up this year by 12% from last year’s level, but attendance at South Beach was down 68% and use of McCarty’s Cove fell off by 50%.

“Last year, we had 66 interdictions to keep people from going out to Picnic Rocks,” Chief Belt said. “We only had 17 this year, so it’s probably a component of the cold summer that we had. We did close the beach 17 times this season.”

Chief Belt says there were no serious beach incidents this summer, only occasional routine calls. He believes poor weather and increased community awareness of the risks both played a role.

“It’s not only the city, but the local newspaper, the media, have been really supportive of beachfront safety,” he said. “Everybody really got behind it after that tragic summer that we had in 2010, so it’s really been a community effort.”

Lifeguards are no longer on duty each day, but Chief Belt says the city may be able to gather a skeleton crew to return to duty if warm weather shows up on the weekends for the rest of September.