Clearwater Beach officials are planning for record numbers for spring break

Pinellas, Hillsborough & USF on break Mar. 13-19

CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. - Spring break 2017 is likely to see more people heading to Tampa Bay area beaches than ever.

And bay area students are expected to play a role.

Students attending the Hillsborough County and Pinellas County school districts and the University of South Florida all have the same week off for spring break this year.

It's the first time all the schools have been off conjointly in several years.

Clearwater leaders are increasing efforts to make sure your family stays safe on your beach visit.

The biggest change is to the main crosswalks along Clearwater Beach. There used to be four crosswalks around the island's main roundabout. Now there are two.

The city also added median fences to keep people from dashing across the street.

Clearwater police officers will be out issuing tickets to spring breakers who break the rules. Officers will enforce open container laws and give a stern warning to anyone who darts across the street.

With two less crosswalks, visitors will have to walk all the way around the island’s main roundabout.Sam Muscatel was one of many tourists confused by the new design.

“We were totally confused," Muscatel said. "It looked like you had to do a daredevil move to get across the street. I don't like having to walk all the way around."

The extra walk is meant to keep you safe and traffic moving.

There also are extra lifeguards keeping watch on the sand. Instead of the typical three towers, lifeguards now use six. The number of lifeguards also is expanded from six to 11 for spring break and the summer.

Businesses also are getting ready for a huge influx in visitors.

C.J. Bauer knows he won’t have a second of downtime while he assembles umbrellas, chairs and shade tents for tourists.

“The pickup during this time of year is crazy and we love it," Bauer said. "We are really busy and there is no time to stand around. There's no shortage of people to help."

Starting this weekend, you will  notice extra police officers on Pinellas County beaches.

The busiest beach weekends is expected to be March 11-19, when for the first time in decades, thousands of local students will be on spring break at the same time.

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