The state Department of Environmental Protection is reminding beachgoers of the importance of swimming only at beaches staffed with lifeguards, after three men were taken to the hospital after they had to be rescued from the ocean at Island Beach State Park early Wednesday afternoon.
The men, all 19 to 24 years old, were on a beach far from the park's approved swimming beaches when one of them swam out too far and caught caught in a rip current, according to Larry Hajna, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the park.
Hajna said the man's three friends tried to help him but they, too, got caught. One was able to get to shore on his own, Hajna said, but lifeguards on jetskis and all-terrain vehicles rescued the other three.
"It occurred at a nonswimming beach," Hajna said, "pretty far from approved swimming beaches."
Hajna said the men were taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River for observation but were all fine.
Beachgoers are reminded to swim only at beaches staffed with lifeguards, and to be alert to notices about rip currents.