🌊 The risk of rip currents was high at the Jersey Shore for nine days

🌊 Three swimmers have drowned

🌊 Seaside Heights:"STAY OUT OF THE WATER. Otherwise, you risk death"


SEASIDE PARK — A body was found on a beach Wednesday morning several days after a swimmer went missing in the rough surf during a deadly and dangerous weekend.

Three other people drowned at the shore in the water churned up by several post-tropical lows including remnants of hurricanes Franklin and Idalia.

Drowning in Seaside Park

Seaside Park Sgt. Andrew Casole  told New Jersey 101.5 the body of Wilmer Chavez of Howell was found off the G Street Avenue beach around 7 a.m. He was one of six people in distress off the Stockton Avenue beach on Sunday. Five other people were rescued at the time.

There were 6 other rescues involving 14 swimmers Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Casole.

Drowning in Belmar

Belmar police said five swimmers were rescued off the 6th Avenue Beach around 6 p.m. Sunday evening. Another unresponsive swimmer was removed from the water at the 5th Avenue Beach and taken to Jersey Shore Univesity Medical Center. Police told ABC 7 Eyewitness News the man was later pronounced dead.


Lifeguard on duty in Seaside Heights 9/4/23
Lifeguard on duty in Seaside Heights 9/4/23 (Robert Connor)

Drowning in Beach Haven

A 22-year-old man from the Dominican Republic, who began struggling in the water off Beach Haven on Sunday while swimming with two other people, also died, Beach Haven police told the Asbury Park Press.

More than a dozen lifeguards formed a human chain as part of an effort to rescue the swimmers. Two of them were safely brought to land, but the third disappeared under the water and his body was found a few hours later.

Drowning at Strathmere Beach

A 43-year-old Vineland man drowned at Strathmere Beach near Taylor Avenue in Upper Township Sunday, according to State Police Sgt. Philip Curry. The man, whose identify Curry did not disclose, was pulled from the water around 12:15 p.m. and taken to a hospital where he later died.

A GoFundMe page identified the man as Mark Antwain Costin who was swimming with his daughter and another girl who got caught in a rip current, according to Logan Gallagher, who created the fundraiser.

Costin, a National Guard medic, lost consciousness when he pushed the girls out of the rip, according to Gallagher. A surfer tried to reach him but he was pulled under the water.

Mark Antwain Costin
Mark Antwain Costin (Logan Gallagher via GoFundMe)

Current risk at the Jersey Shore

After nine straight days of a high risk of rip currents. the risk is down to moderate as the wind and swell directions turn parallel from the coast instead of pounding it directly, according to New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.

Seaside Heights issued a blunt warning to swimmers to stay out of the water after seven after-hours rescue calls on Monday.

"STAY OUT OF THE WATER. Otherwise, you risk death. It's that simple. STAY OUT and you guarantee that the ocean and dangerous rip tides will not kill you. Can we be any clearer? If lifeguards are not on duty stay out of the ocean. If you see a red flag stay out of the ocean. If you see a locked gate to a dune cross over or other ocean access do not hop the gate and enter the ocean. And one last thing- your stupid decision to enter the ocean will put our volunteer and career public safety officers in harm's way. That's plain wrong.

Photo of Seaside Park rescue courtesy TomsRiver.org

Lifeguard stand Seaside Heights 9/4/23
Lifeguard stand Seaside Heights 9/4/23 (Robert Connor)

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