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San Diego City Council votes to sink 'floatopia' booze parties

July 26, 2010 |  6:17 pm


The San Diego City Council on Monday voted unanimously to ban drinking on Mission Bay in an effort to stop the "floatopia" booze parties that have exploited a loophole in the city's ban on drinking on beaches.

Police and lifeguard officials told the council that the "floatopia" parties,  at which hundreds of college-age people drink while floating on rafts, inner-tubes and other devices, are a menace and could lead to drownings because of drunkenness and injuries from broken bottles.

But opponents of the ban said that further limitations on drinking could hurt tourism. The council was not swayed by that argument.

"This is not the San Diego City Council saying no-no-no to things," said Councilwoman Marti Emerald. "This is the San Diego City Council trying to keep people alive at our beaches."

After an alcohol-fueled riot on the beach at Pacific Beach during Labor Day weekend 2008, the council voted to impose a one-year ban on alcohol consumption on city beaches. In November of that year, city voters approved a measure to make the ban permanent.

But the ban did not cover drinking in the water. Monday's ban on drinking in the water is set to become effective immediately. The ban does not include drinking on boats.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: "Floatopia" party on Mission Bay. Credit: Nelvin Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune