With a third reported drowning off New Jersey’s beaches in this Summer of 2012, I had a thought (no comments about me having a thought, please.)
Apparently, the drownings, two in Monmouth County (Bradley Beach and Long Branch) and the other in Atlantic City, all occurred after lifeguards were off-duty. Swimmers are all aware there will be no lifeguards on duty at some point at the end of the day. So, bathing, surfing, skimboarding, boogie boarding, wading, fishing, etc, are all done at the risk of the individuals that choose to do so at that time of the day. I understand these are the conditions, however, everyone has to pay to get on New Jersey beaches, right?
You mean to tell me that with all the cash coming into the respective towns via beach badges, parking, umbrella rentals or whatever beach related items that can be collected, there isn’t enough money or lifeguards to extend monitored hours on New Jersey beaches? I think not. I bet towns turn away many prospective lifeguards every summer because towns believe they have enough staff to maintain a safe swimming enviroment.
I propose that ALL New Jersey beaches be REQUIRED to staff ALL swimming areas until DUSK. That’s right, dusk. What are we talking about another four or five hours? The towns can even shrink the swimming areas to be monitored by roping off a section for patrons (everyone is a patron remember, due to a fee to use the beach.) Swim outside this area and you will be fined (more income that towns love to collect.) This will even increase the towns’ take, because they can continue to collect at the entrance until the dusk “closing.”
Listen, this will never eliminate drownings at any beach, but it sure would be a step in the right direction to try to make the beaches a safer place to enjoy by New Jersey residents and vacationers (see I didn’t say Benny or Shoobie.)