NJ mayor has plan to keep lifeguards past Labor Day
🌊 The temperatures remain warm at the Jersey Shore in September
🌊 Lifeguards in most towns are done after Labor Day weekend
🌊 8 people were rescued in two incidents Tuesday
The rescue Tuesday of eight people in two incidents in Spring Lake underscores a Jersey Shore mayor's idea for keeping lifeguards on duty during the off-season.
The beach may be a quieter place in the fall but the ocean is still summer-like in September and October. Air temperatures were in the 80s this week with water temperatures still relatively warm, hovering around 66 or 67 degrees, according to New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.
Swim rescue in October
Case in point was a rescue at the Sussex Avenue beach Tuesday afternoon.
Spring Lake police officers, including Chief Edward Kerr, jumped into the water to help a group of five including one person who struggled after being caught in a rip current.
Another call for three more swimmers in distress brought police to the Passaic Avenue Beach later in the afternoon. A retired officer who is also a lifeguard assisted with the rescue.
Some of the rescued swimmers were treated by EMTs at the beach; three were sent to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for further treatment.
Lifeguards done for the season on Labor Day weekend
Lifeguards in Spring Lake, like in most shore communities, go off duty for the season after Labor Day.
After a "shoulder season" with four drownings on Labor Day weekend and countless rescues from rough water churned up by two hurricanes, Seaside Heights Mayor Tony Vaz says he has a solution that will save lives.
Vaz is suggesting that other shore towns follow his borough's example of having lifeguards on duty one full week after Labor Day and then every weekend of September.
"We don't have them all but we have a substantial amount that covers the beaches. What we do is we close certain areas for swimming, not the beach itself, but swimming. And they can only swim near the lifeguards," Vaz told New Jersey 101.5.
Vaz's idea is for the towns on the upper peninsula of Ocean County, specifically Island Beach, Lavallette, Ortley Beach in Toms River, Seaside Park and South Seaside Park in Berkeley to pool their available lifeguard staff and resources to cover the beaches.
"Not a full contingency but enough to say there's a safe area to swim with green flags," Vaz said.
Fall events bring shore visitors
Seaside Heights schedules events nearly every weekend until Columbus Day to attract people to its beaches and boardwalk. Vaz says businesses in all the peninsula communities will benefit from fall visitors and safe beaches.
"These people are here. They're gonna get a feel of our communities. They're going to have businesses that are open. They may want to go to lunch. They may want to go to dinner. They may want to play a game in the arcade," Vaz said. "The business people will get some benefit. So the taxpayers' money is saving lives but also promoting the communities that we're dealing with."
The mayors of the peninsula towns usually hold their own informal meeting following the regular Ocean County Mayors Association meetings to discuss shore items. Vaz will bring up the idea during that gathering.
Zarrow, meanwhile, expects the ocean to be churned up once again by Tropical Storm Philippe about 1,000 miles southeast of the Jersey Shore.
"The storm itself will stay far away from our coast. But it is spitting rough surf and swell toward our coastline, keeping the risk for dangerous rip currents elevated," Zarrow said.
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