MALIBU (KTLA) – A paddleboarder was arrested in Malibu on Thursday after ignoring lifeguards’ orders to get out of the ocean amid social distancing rules, authorities said.
The lifeguards flagged down deputies for assistance, but the man ultimately chose to stay in the water alongside the Malibu Pier for about 30 to 40 minutes, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a Facebook post.
Deputies summoned their patrol boat from Marina Del Rey, and the man swam to shore once it arrived, officials said.
He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of disobeying a lifeguard and violating Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, a misdemeanor.
He was booked at the sheriff’s station in Calabasas before being released with a notice to appear in court, deputies said.
Officials did not release any identifying information on the man. He could face a $1,000 fine, up to six months in jail or both.
So far, the state order has not been widely enforced by police agencies, but this isn’t the first time this week a Southern California man has faced consequences for being in the ocean.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a surfer in Manhattan Beach was fined $1,000 last weekend after similarly ignoring repeated orders to exit the ocean.
But it’s unclear how many, if any, other people in the region have been arrested for violating the governor’s order.
Kim Prather, who works at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told the Los Angeles Times that the beach could be one of the most dangerous places in California amid the outbreak. She said she fears the virus is being washed into the ocean and transferred back into the air along the coast.
“I wouldn’t go in the water if you paid me $1 million right now,” she told the newspaper.