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Floatopia the Perfect Beach Party? Not for So. Cal. Police

The mountains overlooking Santa Barbara, Calif., are partially obscured by smoke from a wildfire, Friday Aug. 3, 2007. Officials issued an evacuation order Friday for some rural residents near this month-old forest fire in northern Santa Barbara County as weather conditions that had slowed its advance began to change.
AP Photo/Santa Barbara News Press
Santa Barbara Beach (Audrey AK)
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP)  It sounds like police in Southern California can use a little spring break of their own.

Authorities say they plan to close off access points to popular beaches near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in an effort to shut down a massive beach party known as Floatopia, scheduled for Saturday, April 10. As many as 12,000 revelers gathered for last year's beach bash in what the Santa Barbara County parks director described as "unmitigated chaos."

Sheriff Bill Brown says 78 citations were handed out for alcohol-related crimes and there were 13 arrests. He says 33 party-goers were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning, heat exposure and cuts.

The annual celebration began about five years ago with several hundred people drinking just offshore on rubber rafts and inner tubes. It exploded over the last few years with the help of social media Web sites.

Thousands of revelers took part in a San Diego version of Floatopia three weekends ago. They took advantage of a loophole in that city's drinking laws to get sloshed in the ocean, away from the beach.